By Leslie Robarge, REDBOOK.
For the first 12 weeks of my pregnancy, I basically lied to everyone: "Oh, I just had some wine before I got here. I'm actually really thirsty. Could I have a glass of water? Thanks." "A few months ago, I got sick on a bad oyster. Still not into them yet." If you'd known me before I got pregnant, I was a wine-guzzling, oyster-slurping machine. So, when my husband and I finally got the green light from my doctor that everything was on-track and we could start sharing the news, I was relieved to finally come clean.
And for a while, it was really exciting to share the news. That is, until I "popped," and people who I don't know could easily surmise that I'm indeed knocked up. That's when I realized that pregnancy is just one long, unending stream of unsolicited advice--people love to tell you what to do, how to do it, and why you'd be crazy to do it any other way. I've also come to realize that some people actually lose their minds when they encounter a pregnant lady, and all boundaries of etiquette and civil society are void. These are the people who I've had to figure out how to navigate:
1. Belly Touchers
Would you normally just reach out and touch someone on their stomach? No? Then don't touch mine! There are exceptions, obviously, to this rule: anyone (I like) who asks if it's okay, and nice, old ladies who get really excited about babies.
2. The Food-and-Drink Police
I've mostly encountered this from women, which is interesting because isn't it Girl Code not to ever comment on what someone is eating? No one wants to be called out for crushing a hamburger and fries at lunchtime ("Wow, you're having that?") or for choosing a super-clean option ("Do you always eat this healthy?"). People commenting on my eating was especially big around the holidays: "You're eating cheese? Huh. My doctor told me not to eat any soft cheese." Guess what lady, this is pasteurized!
It especially bugged me when I was having a glass of wine at a holiday party, my first and only, probably for that month, and someone's husband said to me, "I won't let my wife touch wine. I want my baby to be perfect." This was somehow easier to shrug off than the cheese lady because this guy was smoking an e-cigarette which, to me, is just hilarious.
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3. The Weight Watchers
Luckily, my doctor says I'm right on track with my weight gain. Shocking, because ice cream and chocolate have become necessary sixth and seventh food groups that are consumed daily. Still, I find it incredibly uncomfortable when people comment about how much (or little) I have gained. In a way, I know it's a topic that lets women share their own experiences, but I go back to the "belly touchers" question-would you be talking about my weight if it wasn't pregnant?
4. The people who only want to talk about stuff
I'm entering my third trimester, and it's time to start thinking about cribs, strollers, baby gear, everything. In my opinion, it's really boring to research this stuff. It's necessary and I want to make smart choices for our lifestyle and budget, but I'd rather be spending my time online more usefully, like checking up on my Facebook frenemies.
So, when I started asking people what I need, I noticed that two groups emerged: The first group, the group I like, were people who sent me a list with a note that read, Let me know if you want to go through this. The second group was far more dangerous. I have been lured into 20-minute monologues about stuff. Baby gyms. Swings. Monitors. Strollers. I challenge you to stay focused and interested in any conversation involving a baby wipes warmer.
5. The people who say
"Have fun, because you'll never do [insert whatever fun activity you mention you're doing] again!"I'm secretly convinced that these people are bitter, and they want my husband and me to be as miserable as they are. Otherwise, why say this? I'm 36 years old. I know a long, international flight on a moment's notice will never be a life choice again. (Frankly, it never really was.) I have friends with kids. I know they never go to the movies anymore. We're prepared for the reality that awaits, which is why we got an Apple TV.
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