Yes, I'm pregnant: this doesn't mean I'm public property #Identity#dealing with judgement#grown ups#pregnancy May 7 | Guest post by Lamby Photo by Ogilvie I've always been quite comfortable with who I am as a person. I like myself. I like other people (for the most part) and I'm very proud to be a woman. When I accidentally on purpose became pregnant, my other half and I were over the moon. We had some wider family stuff going on at the time that necessitated keeping it quiet for the solid three months but we literally couldn't wait to let people know that our awesome little family of two was going to get a new member of the gang. We were secretly high fiving each other all the time. I love being pregnant. I've been lucky, it's all been pretty smooth. As a disabled woman it was the physical aspects of being preggo that I worried about the most. So when my identity as a woman and a mother suddenly became public property it took me a little by surprise. I remember when the advice started — I was about three months in and I had just told my mum. Within seconds of a rather cursory congratulations she said "I guess you'll have to stop wearing tight clothing now." I thought she meant because I wouldn't be able to fit into them anymore; she meant that tight clothing was bad for the baby. Me and my other half had a bit of a giggle over it and thought nothing of it. Then I got bigger and the pregnancy became more obvious… "Don't eat honey, the baby will get botulism." "Get rid of the cats, they sleep on the heads of babies." "I guess you'll be giving up work now then?" "Uncross your legs, it cuts off blood flow to the placenta." "You won't be able to dye you hair for a while." "We probably won't be friends any more once you have the baby." Erm, what now!? Since when did becoming pregnant make it acceptable for one woman to dictate to another woman how they should and shouldn't behave with their own bodies? After 30 years of being an intelligent woman who ran her own business, I suddenly developed a crisis of identity. Was I hurting my baby!? I've got access to Google, I know how to find information, but women were suddenly crossing the street to approach and reproach me at the bus stop about the caffeine in my can of Coke. I thought the world had gone mad! Related Post No, that's not my daughter: how being a sister prepared me for motherhood Sometime in 8th grade I went to the store with my mom and my youngest sister, AJ. I remember people watching the three of us... Read more I guess my point in all of this is about how becoming a parent may change your function slightly as an adult in the wider world, but it doesn't change who you are as a person. Well, it does, but only in that yummy holistic "I'm having a new experience" kind of way. Starting a family is lush — with only a few weeks left I cannot wait to meet the mini person that will hopefully acquire all our positive traits and grow up to be someone truly exciting. I have been saddened by how some family and friends have reacted with such obvious dismay to the expansion of my identity and it took me a while to seperate their baggage from my own. Some people seem to feel that my pregnancy impacts how they define themselves as people. Something about the pregnancy as public property thing seems to make it culturally acceptable to unload. But in all of this I remain as me — just a bit rounder and with a few extra responsibilities. I hope other women out there feel the same. Join our community! Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Lamby Lamby is a slightly left of centre interpreter who runs her own business, thinks her other half is tops and enjoys spending time with their two barmy cats. She lives in London and loves the variety but hates the tube. She'd spend every Saturday in Greenwich market if she could. PREVIOUS Growing up: Can I settle down and be offbeat at the same time? NEXT A "happy" mom's confession: I'm not so nice at home Show/Hide comments [ 90 ] This was wonderful! I'm not pregnant yet, but I have worries about things like this (hence I'm on OBM almost every day already…), and you stated everything perfectly. "…it took me a while to seperate their baggage from my own." Just… this a million times. Thank you!! And good luck with everything! 1 agrees Reply I'm with you, I'm not even close to being pregnant yet, but the entire judgmental parenting culture and all the pressure has made me feel like I don't want to have children after all (a complete change from really wanting kids for several years). This article is really inspiring. Hopefully in the future, if I'm with the right partner, I can put aside my own fears of judgment and listen to my true desires. 2 agree Reply Although I was worried about this because we are doing alot of things outside our families norms. Including natural birth at birth center, hiring a doula, i have a meat and dairy free diet, we are keeping the placenta for post partum depression/healing, thinking about co-sleeping. Even with all those out of the norms we haven't had anyone tell us what we should or should not do. People seemed scared of the idea of having a natural childbirth. But those seem to be more of their own personal concerns than for me. goodluck with the bossy people in your life! I might have them but I don't hear them. 2 agree Reply by natural do you mean "unmedicated?" 7 agree Reply yes ma'am. no drugs are offered at the birth center. 1 agrees Reply I think the point was there's no such thing as an unnatural birth, which is why terming an unmedicated birth as a natural one is generally frowned on around here. 15 agree Reply sorry I didn't realize I used the wrong word. 2 agree http://offbeatmama.com/2011/03/natural-birth-myth 3 agree YES! Awesomesauce. I just always try to remember when I get anxious about this while we are passively trying that whatever issues I have with anything someone says has nothing to do with them. If I'm okay with me (like you are, go Lamby!!!) then I'll be able to deal with the comments and stuff people think they can say. Everyone's just trying to relate so if they say something too over-the-line just ask "What do you mean by that?" Transfer of energy from the question back to the asker… besides, maybe it'd clear up a misunderstanding immediately. Congratulations and have fun meeting the wee one! 1 agrees Reply I wish I could say it stops once baby is born, but it didn't in my case. I've learned to tune it out though. When my mother tries to correct how I burp my daughter or a friend says that holding my baby too much will spoil her I just smile, nod, and do what I think is best anyway. 1 agrees Reply its so true! I'm 6.5 months pregnant and I have a 15 month old. for us it got worst when our first baby was born and everyone thinks its their right to tell you how to raise the baby… ugh… by now we've established we do things differently and generally that's fine. We still get eye rolls and raised eyebrows and updates on how my SIL's baby sleeps through the night now… 4 agree Reply My OB had people reprimand her for caffeine. Even those who knew what she does for a living. And I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it only gets worse after baby is born. I was taking my daughter to her pediatrician appointment when she was about 5 days liberated from the womb, had at least three people comment on how her being out that young was bad for her. Admittedly, it was fairly easy to be sarcastic in a sleep deprived state, but I'm in a pediatrician office with a new baby, it's safe to assume that the hospital required me to have this appointment made before they let us leave 1 agrees Reply Love! I have more issues with my doctor than other people. Probably because this is my second so folks really dont tell me much. At a certain point, me and my hubs have come to realize that just because they are doctors doesnt mean they cant try to overload you with mess. 1 agrees Reply Thanks for all the positive responses… :0) I've had a few interesting conversations about this since writing it. One thing that came up, which I had t considered before, is how fine the line is between busybodying and community spirit. I grew up in an age where information was readily available. Is the Internet, but people in their 40's + likely learnt all they needed from the community they were a part of, so it probably seems natural to just offer it out there without considering that it might seem pushy or out dated etc. :0) don't get me wrong, I still think there are just far too many women out there who think that having pushed a baby out of their lady parts makes them a full on expert about everyone else's lady parts too, but it still got me thinking. :0) 1 agrees Reply This is so true! Most of the women in my life are of the "folksy knowledge" variety, and I often forget how lucky we are to have this community of oddballs all over the world with whom we can connect. When my mom was raising me, she had to trust all the moms she knew, even the ones she didn't agree with, just because it was a 3 hour drive to the "local" library. 1 agrees Reply I agree completely! I need more fingers and toes to coin how many times people have told me not to drink coffee, while gesturing at the paper cup or thermos in my hand- and I have to tell them it's tea. People… gah!!! 2 agree Reply Amazing story!! I can relate to the "accidentally on purpose" and the "wider family stuff". We can tell some people do not approve of us having babies (yes,'babies'… we have been blessed with twins!) at this point in our lives- because we are still fresh newlyweds and my hubby is going through some major health dealies. If they took the two minutes to look at us as a couple and how we live our lives, they would realize (like our closest friends and family do) that this is a miracle and a wonderful life experience. I have learned to not put too much weight on what these Judgey-McJudgersons have to say and how they make me feel. I just look at my ever expanding belly, and my wonderful husband, and it all makes it go away. 1 agrees Reply I have issue with the term "accidentally on purpose". To me, it puts in mind a female who is pretending to be on birth control and tricks an unwilling guy into being a father. I know someone who told me she would stick pins in the condoms when her boyfriend was at work! Reply Chill… We weren't planning but we weren't careful either. :0) my husband has been to school and no trick trickery was performed in the making of this baby… 2 agree Reply I can relate to accidentally on purpose. I'm not on the Pill anymore but we don't plan to "try" until July. So if we got pregnant before that, it would be "accidentally on purpose" as well! Reply This is totally the route we are taking. I've been off the pill since November, and we have been actively trying not to, since we are off to Europe in 10 days. The actively trying not to stops now, but we are not actively trying ever. If we manage to get pregnant within the next six months, then we will have a baby. I have a good fix on my cycle, and its fairly constant (but has some issues), so if we get pregnant, it will be luck to a degree 🙂 1 agrees I wasn't saying YOU were doing that, I just have issues with the term itself. I guess I'm just weird, I also hate Ms., it just sounds so harsh to me whereas I have no issue with Miss or Mrs. Reply That's funny, I have been going by Ms. for years because I don't like that my title is defined by my marriage status while my husband's is the same for life. I must agree that it is a harsher word, which is why I will always prefer my first name, but on forms, I go with Ms. 5 agree I got into a mini-fight with a friend because I called her a Judgy-McJudgerson, and none of us have kids yet! So, #1, I'm glad someone else just used that phrase and #2 People already feel they know how to raise children before they even have children! (not saying she or I was right, but the fact that both of us had fairly strong opinions already) 1 agrees Reply You know, I definitely wouldn't cross the street to offer unsolicited advice, and I've never had a baby so I don't know from personal experience how this aggressive stuff feels, but I do know that I read WAY too much stuff on the internet and that I'm a very "advicey" "fixer" kind of person. I worry, sometimes, that what is from my perspective just making conversation, trying to be helpful if I can, and trying to learn about the soon-to-be/new mom could end up looking like this – offensive or presumptive. Could anyone tell me more about where to draw those lines? I'm mostly thinking about things like a pregnant friend making a comment about the pregnancy, and me responding, "oh, I read something recently that might address that problem/issue/hope.." Or a friend talking about her 1-year-old's new book or diaper and me asking "so what are you thinking about schooling" or "do you have plans for potty training?" And then further into those conversations I might mention other things that I've seen/read/thought. I don't think I'm doing it in a judgey or prescriptive way – I'm not telling them what to do or saying they're doing things wrong, and I'm not talking about the pregnancy/kid unless it's already a topic of conversation. More than anything, I'm excited to hear what the mom is thinking about, and I want to share ideas I have and hear about her perspectives on those ideas. From the moms' side, is this stuff ok to do? There is so much conversation here about how offering advice ends up being judgmental, identity-eclipsing, or otherwise bad that sometimes I don't know whether it's ever ok to mention an idea or piece of advice, or a question about an already-decided path, even in a context where it's truly meant as an "offering" – take it or leave it. 1 agrees Reply I don't take anything personally really. I can't understand why people are so offended all the time. I once read that a person was offended because someone asked who was taking care of their child while she was at work… Apparently that's an offensive question. ??? So don't worry about it too much but maybe think about how you say or offer advice. I think it might be in the phrasing. When people say "Oh, I heard this new thing…." that's better than. "You know you HAVE to do bla bla now… and you NEED this bla bla…thing" 3 agree Reply In all honesty I would be offended by that question. It depends on how much the person asking knows. We hope that when the children arrive I can stay home with them and not go to work. This is our choice and I don't like it when people think that both parents have to work. I don't care how many parents a kid has or how many of them do or do not work and no one else should judge. However, if the person asking knows the parent is going back to work there is no reason to be offended… unless it's an opening to do judging. 1 agrees Reply Maybe it's the context again, or the tone of voice someone is using. We have been asked that so many times, and I never sensed any judgement, or maybe I just don't care if someone is judging me. I think people are just being converstional, curious, and interested in our lives. Also, some people ask because they want information form someone they trust, or to share experiences. I just never would have thought that it would be a topic that would cause someone to feel offended or judged. ?? 1 agrees Reply Part of it may be that there are gendered assumptions behind that question. How often do you hear men asked, "Who's taking care of the baby while you're at work?" I never have. But people ask women that all the time because it's assumed 1) that they're married 2) to a man 3) who is working also, and therefore it must be some third party who is watching the baby. And so I think many people ask that to see whether that third party is acceptable (Grandma) or unacceptable (day care) to their particular worldview. My husband will be a stay-at-home parent after we have children, so I fully expect to be asked this multiple times, and it already makes me a bit frustrated thinking about. 1 agrees Reply Sounds like the same thing when I had my daughter. People assume even my mom that I was not going back to work after my maternity leave. My husband at the time was going to school and working from work. He decided to quit school, work from home and take care of our little one while I was at work. You talk about people coming out of the woodwork criticizing us and asking why we decided on it. I love one of my husband's answer to that question," Because I fucking said so and I am the daddy…not you." Now people realize it works out best for us, especially she is going to school for special needs kids, me working and going back to school and him working from home. And yes being asked multiple times on why your husband stays at home to watch the kids and you working will work your nerves….but you can always say because we want to and ask the person if they would be willing to watch the kids for free……that would shut someone down in a minute. 1 agrees Reply I think it's in the phrasing. If someone asked me that, I would take it to mean that they think I wasn't meeting my responsibilities with my kid, and I would be incredibly offended. It comes across as a very passive aggressive question. If someone asked a stay at home mom "who is paying your bills?" wouldn't that be rude? Asking something like "Is your kid with a family member or with a daycare?" or even "which daycare are you using?" would come across with less judgement. Reply I definitely think it depends on who you're talking to, but genuinely asking questions should offend few. Or 'Hey, I've heard of such-and-such, what do you think about that?' Things that spark conversations are great! Like, "Are you concerned about something going wrong at a birth center?" instead of just "I'd NEVER do that!" I think the main issue that this post addresses is people telling you straight-up what to do, like a friend giving me shit for helping a buddy paint his new place (you didn't even ask me if it was no-VOC..) Annoying whether you're a momma or not! Reply I know I've been trying to actively work on talking that way to parents… "One of my other friends babies has this same issue and she told me about xyz solution. Have you heard about / tried that?" Or the "I was reading something recently…" I know if people approached me that way, I would be much more willing to engage with them about the topic. And the other one, with time off work is "so, how much leave are you intending to take?", which tends to go down well, or when you know they are going back to work soon, I've talked to them about their fears / excitement. its not our place to judge, and if I can make sure my new parent friends dont think I am judging them, I should get the same in return. I hope. 1 agrees Reply I think there is a difference between the mother or mom-to-be engaging in conversation with you about an issue and you offering advice and someone just randomly telling a mom or mom-to-be that whatever they are doing is just wrong and *this* is the right way to do things. My own experiences with pregnancy were wildly different; my first pregnancy was over 21 years ago and I was devouring books about being healthy and raising a healthy child and any advice I was given was duly noted and then researched or I saved it up to ask my OB at the next visit. My second pregnancy was 6 years ago, and was haunted by advice on being pregnant over 40, being pregnant while morbidly obese, and all the horror stories that went with it. I was a little testier the second time around, mostly because I had already DONE this before and because I had access to the Internet. I suppose the line gets drawn when the advice is either unsolicited or it's given in such a way as to make the person receiving it feel as if they have commited some sort of horrible pregnancy faux pas. 1 agrees Reply I have to agree that its all in the phrasing. "You know you shouldn't be eating honey" will get you a testy "Actually, while *infants* shouldn't eat honey, it poses no risk to a fetus as the placenta filters out the bacteria." By contrast a "Wait, I've heard babies can't have honey. Are you sure its okay to eat that?" will probably get you the same response, but in a far nicer let-me-share-my-new-found knowledge-of-pregnancy-with-you tone. Telling me you "heard about" something I'm unfamiliar with will get me to research it. Assuming I don't know what I'm doing would just make me annoyed. 5 agree Reply I think one of the issues is that you're not the only person giving the advice. To you, it's one conversation, but to the advice receiver it can be every conversation all the time. I'm in my first trimester and was just out for breakfast with my husband, brother, mom and grandmother. Within minutes my mother had pointed out that my make-up was smeared (I didn't tell her it was left over from the night before), my brother lectured me about going to a mortgage broker, and my grandmother pointed out that "pregnancy will probably clear up my complexion." I went to the bathroom to cry. One of those alone wouldn't have killed me like that, but three in a row just made me lose my confidence. If the other person seems engaged in the conversation, then carry on, but if she's checking out or changing the subject, then follow her (or his) lead. 1 agrees Reply Yes! I love this. I am 34 weeks pregnant now, and was in a department store looking for bras last weekend. A woman much more experienced in life than I came up and starting dispensing her wisdom on me- she had four children, and went on to tell me the best attire to wear after giving birth, not to buy any bras now because my boobs will explode between now and then, etc. Why thanks, random lady, but I'm here because my bras don't fit NOW and I need new ones. I didn't say this part but I certainly thought it- And since you didn't ask, I'll tell you anyways that there's no way in hell I'm going to wear a polyester 2 piece slip because hate polyester. She was much less interested in my reaction to her wisdom than she was in telling it to me. And reading the comments above I know that it's only preparation for later on… Oy vey. 1 agrees Reply I JUST returned from a walk around my downtown region with a friend and she was blown away by the number of people who stopped us to say something inappropriate to me. She had heard my "people think this is okay to say…" stories but she actually got to see other people making my body their business first hand, it was an eye opener for her. She said " I would never leave the house if this happened to me" I would like to say to the random man who was giving me tips on the street on how to avoid getting stretchmarks and get back down to a "tight" figure after pregnancy- would you go up to a random woman who was large chested and start giving her advice on what bra to wear or your "secret" miracle cure for sagging boobs? No? Well guess what- talking about my possible stretch marks (nay asking me about them) is super none of your business. That is how you can tell if what you are saying is appropriate- would you say an equivalent thing to a not pregnant person? No? THEN DON'T. 4 agree Reply would you say an equivalent thing to a not pregnant person? No? THEN DON'T. This exactly! I am not very social to begin with and I do not enjoy talking to strangers about the weather, much less my body. My mom's idea is to make me a T-shirt that says, "No, I'm just fat." I can't imagine anyone bothering me if I'm wearing that! 1 agrees Reply Know what's messed up? A lady asked me at the bank when I was due. I'm not pregnant, nor anywhere near it. When I told her "I'm not pregnant, I'm just fat," she didn't believe me. Her coworkers at least had the decency to look horrified. 🙂 1 agrees Reply This sounds, verbatim, like my complaints with all of my pregnancies. I learned that it becomes all about everyone's feelings and issues but your own. I was bullied into having a lame baby shower I didn't want with my second, and had to force myself to come up with things to put on the registry (because I already knew you don't need half the crap people say you do for babies), and people still largely ignored it and bought what THEY thought I needed. I got nasty comments about coloring my hair, people actually telling me I didn't need any more kids, dirty looks for drinking caffeine, MUCH lamentation over my decision to circumcise, a decision that was not just up to me but definitely not up to the public at large…people telling me how huge I was, people telling me I was endangering my and my babies lives by having a VBAC at home. It's appalling how forward people are, especially to someone like me who doesn't even really like to discuss the "when are you due, where are you delivering, boy or girl?" stuff with strangers…I felt like that information was special to my immediate family, not the whole world. I love to share my opinions with people who ask, but unless they do I couldn't care less what others do with their own kids! I couldn't figure out why my business was so fascinating to everyone else, haha. 1 agrees Reply This! I had a shop assistant (male) actually come out with this little gem when I was about 38 weeks pregnant: 'you must be due soon because you're huge!' I felt like punching him. And it definitely doesn't stop once you've had the baby. If anything, it got worse for me. Random strangers with unsolicited advice plus the parents have been fairly interfering as well. I'm trying to take family advice in the spirit I'm sure it was meant but it can be challenging. Reply I am a hairstylist, and while I was pregnant people constantly asked me if I was worried that I was harming my baby by working. I even had one client who was early on in her pregnancy and I was about 34 weeks, tell me that she couldn't colour her hair because it kills babies…I had to bite my tongue really hard over that one. And hey, I have a very healthy 7week old, I worked up until 35 weeks colouring people's hair all day everyday. I responded to peoples advice with "uh-huh"…generally I didn't even listen to what they had to say…. The advice reallllllyyyy gets old fast!!! 1 agrees Reply Oh dear. I could fill up pages with ridiculous comments from strangers and family alike. My husband's grandmother was the worst – yelling at me not to run across a parking lot to the car when it was sprinkling…..keep in mind I was about 8 weeks pregnant and not showing in the slightest, but you know, I could slip and fall and hurt the baby?!?! Or something like that. I guess what bothered me more than the crazy, intrusive and personal questions and pieces of advice was the notion that I was no longer my own person but instead the VESSEL FOR THE HOLY AND PRECIOUS FIRST GRANDBABY EVER TO BE BORN. Yeah, that got kind of old. With my friends who have become pregnant ore recently given birth, I've taken the "ignore the bump and focus on my friend" route unless they specifically bring up pregnancy and babies. I know how hard it can sometimes be to hold onto your own identity when it seems everyone else is pushing it aside in favor of your belly, so I try to give them an outlet to express and be themselves, separate of the miracle their creating. Or something like that. 2 agree Reply "VESSEL FOR THE HOLY AND PRECIOUS FIRST GRANDBABY EVER TO BE BORN" I will be needing this on a t-shirt, STAT. 4 agree Reply I am so SO glad I am not going to be giving either of our parents their first grandchild. Reply I'm fairly likely to be giving both my parents and my in laws their first grandbaby (not trying yet) and I'm super excited about it because they are the least nosy members of my family. I think planning a wedding gives you a good preview of who's a pushy advice/judgement dispenser, and who's a supportive do-what-works-for-you type. 1 agrees Reply My wife and I are having our first, and it's also the first grandbaby for everyone involved. Especially in the advice realm (also names, huge annoyance that everyone thinks it's their right to suggest 500 names a week to you) I try my best to buffer the advice that *my* parents give, and I am not afraid to tell my mom to mind her own business if she gets too pushy about something. Most of the information is easily accessible nowadays so it's not like we can't figure it out for ourselves. I feel like it's one thing to get advice when you ask for it, but especially the UNASKED for advice is enormously irritating when people throw it in your face constantly. I wish people, whether strangers or not, would just ask whether it's okay to share something with you, before doing so… Reply What I was most surprised about during my pregnancy was the amount of people's comments on my PHYSICAL appearance (oh you're so small for 8 months, or 'you're carrying a boy aren't you? or 'you haven't dropped yet.) For someone who has only ever had a few slight bouts of body image issues, I couldn't wait to be un-pregnant so that people would once again focus on my mind/heart/spirit/intellect and on my child, rather than on the size of my belly/boobs/uterus, etc. 2 agree Reply I HATED hearing "you're so small" when I was pregnant. And any variation – "you need to eat more" (I ate very well, thank you) or "the baby wants a slice of cake". I was already convinced something would go wrong with the pregnancy and that just stressed me out. 2 agree Reply "the baby wants a slice of cake" I think I've heard people say stuff like this to a pregnant relative before. I just kept thinking to myself, "nope, baby is probably pretty happy having whatever mom is passing on, but maybe mom would like a slice". 3 agree Reply "Actually I have gestational diabetes so while *I* would like a slice of cake, it could be very bad for the baby" 4 agree Reply Or the alternative Them "Wouldnt baby like an apple? A nice healthy apple?" You "Nope. Baby wants cake and wants cake now" 🙂 3 agree Reply Oddly enough, I've had no one give me any advice yet. Mind you, I'm still pretty early in the pregnancy, and people are still finding out about it. But even with that, while I've had friends comment on Facebook statuses and whatnot with their own experiences, no one has told me what I should or shouldn't be doing. Hell, my local bartender was totally content to mix me up a wine spritzer when I asked, and that was after a half hour of discussing life with babies. Maybe I've just lucked out so far, or maybe people recognize that I am a prickly individual who hates getting unsolicited advice? 1 agrees Reply I didn't start getting weird comments until I was 7 months pregnant, when apparently I went from "cute pregnant" to "OPEN SEASON" pregnant. Maybe you are just lucky, or maybe the rude masses are waiting to see a larger belly! 1 agrees Reply I never got unsolicited advice from strangers, or weird people yelling at me (though quite a few randomly told me it was going to be a boy–wrong!). I think I must just have a good 'don't fuck with me' face, or something…Now that she's here, we haven't had any comments on our parenting yet, but strangers have asked everything from how old she is and how much she weighs to how the nursing is going. Super-awkward to have a middle aged man ask you that one, let me tell you. 1 agrees Reply Ew, yeah, my husbands grandpa asked me about the nursing and I was really uncomfortable. He was a pushy, opinionated guy that I wasn't crazy about to begin with. I guess MY thing is, I can't imagine reversing roles and asking total strangers the things they ask me. To be perfectly honest, if I don't know you, I couldn't care less when your baby is due, I'll probably never see you again outside of this Wal Mart line. I guess moms all feel some kind of solidarity? But if that were the case, you'd think they'd be more supportive, less judgmental. I get that people might think they're truly being helpful but…I try not to give my opinion unless it's asked for and I appreciate the same courtesy. On the other side of the coin, I have new mom friends asking for advice on Facebook–bad idea, always causes bloodshed–but then they get pissy with everyone when they don't like the advice. If you just want people to tell you you're doing it right, say so, haha. Me, I look for answers to my silly questions on google! 2 agree Reply Re: Facebook advice–seriously!! A friend once asked for advice via Facebook about teething and I made the HUGE mistake of mentioning that we would rub just a teeny dab of whiskey onto my daughter's gums when her teething pain got really bad. I have NEVER received so much judgement in my life! I seriously thought someone was going to call CPS on me! Reply lol, I suspect its something that people did for hundreds of years before bonjela was created… Its in my plan of things to try – wet your finger, shake off the excess, rub it in. Its probably less "alcohol" than bonjela! 3 agree Reply I' 20 weeks pregnant and thankfully have had very little of this so far. I think it helps that none of our real-life friends have kids, so we don't get much in the way of 'advice' from them. I'm a high school teacher so again, the majority of the people I spend time with are teenagers and don't know enough about what's "normal" or "acceptable" to try telling me what to do. Family too have been (mostly) fantastic. The main problem I've had so far has been with my partner's dad, who seems to think it concerning that I'm taking drugs for nausea and vomiting. Thanks for the concern, but I think I'm a better judge of whether it's necessary than he is. His mum has offered advice here and there, but her's is more of the trying-to-be helpful variety, rather than knowing-what's-best. I did have one friend give me all sorts of ridiculous advice when she first found out I was pregnant – including telling me that a different brand of vitamins would cure my hyperemesis, and that if I went into labour when I didn't want to, I should drink a glass of wine to delay it 24 hours – although it was reasonably easy to ignore. It'll be interesting to see whether I get more of this as it becomes more obvious to strangers that I'm pregnant! Reply We lied to our parents when I had to take drugs for nauseau and vomiting. Because before I even needed the drugs they were up in arms about "never taking them" because in their minds, all anti nauseants = thalidomide. We honestly told them I was taking "vitamins" that seemed to be helping me. Sometimes, people don't need to know :). And having had nightmare morning sickness, F all of the people who want to tell you what you should or shouldn't take. Could you go to work with a bad case of the flu- that LASTS FOR MONTHS. No? Well neither can I so hand me those drugs. 1 agrees Reply I guess though, for your parents, when they were going through it (or not long before they were), Thalidomide was what was given to women for nausea. And at the time, of course, they all thought it was safe. But yeah, easier to lie to them I guess. Saves stress! Reply Definitely. Their fear was based on realizing that these kinds of things at one point in time were considered "safe" and turned out not to be. However, that fear ONLY extends to anti-nauseants and pregnancy, as they are quite happy to pop any other kind of pill a doctor recommends. Its just that when you are pregnant, all of a sudden the doctor/midwife cannot be right because "They remember when…" no matter how many assurances you give them. It comes from a good place, but is often not worth the stress of someone nagging you with what is already a stressful situation! Reply Some people just have no concept of what is appropriate and what isn't. When I was about 8 months pregnant with my daughter, I had a woman run across the street to inform me I was having a boy. I smiled and said, no, actually, it's a girl, and she looked mortally offended and said "who told you THAT?" um, the ultrasound techs, twice. Her response was "Oh, them. THEY don't know anything." Then she proceeded to follow me down the street telling me that from the way I was carrying, the baby had to be a boy. I didn't want to go in my house because I didn't want her knowing where I lived! My son is only 14 months younger than my daughter, and when I was visibly pregnant with him had to be the worst time. The looks, stares, and comments from complete strangers about the fact that I was having 2 so close together were insane. Add in the blue hair, multiple tattoos, and the fact that I was 23 but looked about 17, and it was not fun. By now, at 26 and pregnant with #3, I've really just gotten used to it. Some people are very sweet, and will simply comment on how cute the kids are or ask how old they are, but we continue to get comments about how they're dressed, what they're eating, or the wonderful "you've got your hands full!" Eventually I just think you've got to develop a thick skin or go insane, although I still have the occasional snap and end up yelling back at some stranger who's trying to tell me how to parent my screaming toddler in the middle of Walmart:) 1 agrees Reply I've com e to the conclusion that I will need to carry a squirt gun with me when I am pregnant. Concern-trolling about my weight? Squirt gun. Mom laying into me again about co-sleeping? Squirt gun. Random dude touching my belly uninvited? Squirt gun. I figure if they're cool with not using their manners and violating my personal space, it should be a two-way street, right? (This is mostly in jest….) 1 agrees Reply Sounds like a genuinely good idea to me. XD 2 agree Reply I was just thinking of that! Like you'd use a squirt bottle on a cat/dog. Instant negative reinforcement. 2 agree Reply Fill it with vinegar for some extra sting 🙂 Reply A few years ago I was out with a friend. She was pregnant and upset about something that seemed really important at the time. We were chatting and a random guy walked up, put his hand on her belly, and started asking personal questions. I was pretty surprised as I am not used to strangers invading personal space to this degree, but she just turned to him and asked if he was trying to feel a kick. He said something along the lines of yes, she kicked him in the shin and walked away. It was absolutely hilarious! 1 agrees Reply Maybe I have selective hearing, but I had very few people say inappropriate things to me and I work as a receptionist, so I see lots of people during the day. I had people ask the regular questions like, When are you due? (Jan) or Do you know if it's a boy or girl? (nope, no ultrasounds) or Have you thought of any names? (we're keeping them a secret). Mostly I was asked "How are you feeling today?" I only had one guy ask me about breastfeeding, but it was after I went back to work at 7 wks post partum. He asked me if I was still nursing (I was), said that was awesome and asked me if everything had gone well. He was one of the few patients that actually wanted to know how I was doing. He told me of his wife, who had one of their kids at home too. It was really cool to find support for my nursing and home birth from a guy that I hadn't known that well beforehand. 3 agree Reply Try looking 17; I was actually 23. "You're too young to be pregnant!" That… doesn't… make sense? And I was torn between telling them I was married, graduated and in my 20's (my mother's approach) and staring at them blankly which was my usual approach. My friends and family were wonderful. Most people are nice and ask fun questions like "How does it feel when the baby kicks?" There are just a few rude people out there and yes, they do get ruder when you have a baby. Stranger: "How old is your son?" Me: (not phased at all) "SHE'S 4-5-6 months old." Stranger:"But it looks like a boy!" I can't even process this. Most people appologise when they make this mistake. Then I say "Oh no big deal, babies just look like babies!" But not this person, they had to argue with me. Reply Apparently I looked like a boy when I was a baby, even when dressed in pink. I advise NOT telling your daughter about those people until she is a fair bit older, as I still feel unfeminine a lot of the time… Reply Try looking 17 at 27! I was out with my daughter and got told that I was too young to have a child. I said "I'm 27, how long should I wait?" She then looked me up and down and made some snide comment about single mothers being a drain on society. My husband came out of the bathroom around that time and his path to me took him behind her. He's a muscular 6'5. He looked her in the eye and said "my wife and I will have our home paid off in November and will be completely debt free after that. How much of a drain on society are you?" 6 agree Reply This is a bit like when people found out my husband and I were seeing a futility specialist (I have PCOS). All the comments started. Did you guys know putting a pillow under your butt could help? Why didnt I think of that?!? Or the my husband shouldn't wear tightly whites and we should have sex in the missionary position (thanks mother In law). I get they are trying to help, but we got his. Reply I feel like it gets worse after having the baby too. When I was pregnant I was in research and broadcast mode, so I actually enjoyed telling people who asked why i was making certain dietary choices. After the baby, my ability to be a know it all died and my confidence died with it. If I had a nickel for every time someone told me "oh, you'll just get tired eventually and have to give the baby formula," I'd be a rich woman. Pregnant or postpartum, people need to realize that women in these stages are uniquely vulnerable, and such comments HURT. 5 agree Reply I feel like the odd one out but I haven't dealt with much unsolicited advice at all while pregnant or since having a child. I do work in a predominantly male office though, so they probably didn't have much to add. I did have a client tell me I have to buy my daughter a pony once 🙂 1 agrees Reply Me too! (the mostly male office) Also, I must be crazy because I really LOVE all the random "rude" things people say. It's hilarious and wonderful. Plus it's fun to tell the story later. "Guess what someone said!" I love the bra story in the previous comment! 1 agrees Reply This sounds like a game show: Pregnancy Obstacle Course! Get from the house to the bus stop while avoiding strangers with rude and/or inappropriate remarks on their lips! I'm not pregnant, nor have I been, but I'm imagining all of the fun/sarcastic responses my friends and family would give to strangers like this on my behalf before I could even dive in. Oh, that'll be a hoot. 3 agree Reply I kind of feel like this post warning against being judgmental is becoming a lot judgmental in the comments. It's wonderful that some of you never felt criticized during your pregnancies, but I don't think it's right to tell those who were that they shouldn't feel judged. Everybody deals with things differently, I don't think I'm overly sensitive but I think my business is my business. Also people are starting to pick apart each others "statistics" and doing a lot of "but you really should or shouldn't do this"…just kind of proving the point of the post, I guess! 4 agree Reply I'm in the process of cleaning up some of it as we speak. 🙂 Reply :0) whoops, oh the irony… I've got a pretty thick skin and if I'm honest, I was rarely offended by any of the actual comments. What I found absolutely infuriating was that my ever rounding belly suddenly made it culturally acceptable to say things that usually your brain would filter before it left your mouth. :0) I can only compare it to being in a nightclub and having someone ignore you and start conversing with your breasts. This felt the same. Suddenly my belly developed this gravitational pull that pulled eye gaze and distorted brain function in some people. Can you imagine your response if someone crossed the road to tell you your skirt was too short or that they didn't like your tatts!? Fuck that! You'd be outraged. :0) It's all about boundaries. 1 agrees Reply These are a couple of my favorites that I got: Coworker: Don't lift your arms above your head–the umbilical will get knotted up! Random man at Fresh Choice, commenting on the cheese on my potato: You shouldn't eat that much cheese–that many calories is bad for the baby! Reply My baby might be made up of 50% cheese. So I hope not! 1 agrees Reply I loved this! It has been many years since I've had a baby, but I clearly remember having to shop for hurricane supplies with a 4 day old baby back in 1995. While we were home and in a babymoon phase, we had not even realized a hurricane was bearing down on us in Florida! By the time a polite friend inquired, "Uhhhh, why haven't you boarded up your windows yet?" the darned storm was less than 12 hours away. I had to go to the store; so not only did I get to experience the ghetto mentality of hurricane shoppers out to get the last bag of cheetos and the last 6 pack of Bud, I did it with a newborn! And yes, there were smart assed comments about how stupid I was to be out with the baby. And I thought "and if they saw me on the news on the roof of my house holding her, they'd say, She's so stupid, why didn't she go shopping!" You can't win, so don't even bother trying! Reply I know it can be a bit much all the advice and questions when you are pregnant, but I thought of it differently when I was pregnant. For most of the world's history and in many current cultures of the world, people are not so independent and on their own. Women don't raise children by themselves in a single family house. They had/have their family, their "tribe" to help them and guide them along the way. It seems that people still have that instinct, to help you when you are pregnant and have little ones. I was always amazed how nice people were to me. I'd step in an elevator and everyone would smile at me. Same with after the baby was born. People stop to help open doors, etc. As it's been so long for me, I guess I've forgotten the snarky comments I got from self-righteous people and instead remember how incredibly interconnected I felt at that time. Maybe it would help you if you looked for the kindness behind their words, and their desire to help, even though you are clearly independent and capable all on your own. 1 agrees Reply I work in a smaller retail chain store, but see hundreds of people a day. Unsurprisingly, I see quite a few pregnant women. Sometimes it can be SO hard not to ask all the questions "when are you due? boy or girl? do you have a name picked?" etc. But then I just remember that one day I hope to be lugging around that big belly, and I know I don't want to be hounded by a total stranger about personal information that is none of their business so I only talk about someone's pregnancy if they bring it up first. I've also wondered how hard it would be to work in a retail setting while pregnant. Never mind the potential physical difficulties, but what about the constant questions and customers I see often who would want updates? Anybody dealt with this? 1 agrees Reply I didn't deal with any judgment while pregnant, but I remember when I worked in retail I shared with one of my regular customers that I was leaving my job to move away and move in with my long term boyfriend. She proceeded to LECTURE me very sternly and use all sorts of cow/milk for free metaphors. I responded calmly and just said, "Thanks for your concern, but I am sticking to my choices." And leave it at that. And I love OBB's "Thanks, but I'm not soliciting opinions right now." Reply I'm not even pregnant yet and it has already started. I was discussing with co-workers who already had kids, and I said that I was starting to feel ready for a baby (I'm 29). I am goth, but a very tame, work-appropriate version (what they call a CorpGoth in the subculture). If anything, I just look like someone who really likes black. Well, one of those ladies said: "But when you become a mommy, you'll have to stop dressing all in black like that!" Um, ok, I didn't know there was some forbidden colors for moms! Thanks for telling me! 2 agree Reply For me, it's not just the advice about being pregnant – the comments about my body bother me more. Especially because they're usually along the lines of, "You're getting SO BIG!" or "Wow, you're really showing already!" There is no other time when it's socially acceptable to comment on a woman's body like this. It makes me CRAZY. 1 agrees Reply Totally agree. The body comments were the hardest for me as well. Especially coming from male work colleagues whom I'd maybe spoken to twice before, one telling me I was 'really showing now' and the other calling me tubby loudly in the main hallway at work. Some people really do think that it's ok to say whatever they want to pregnant people. On a different note: I know someone who had a baby with meningitis and a woman at church told her it was God punishing her because she travelled abroad too much during pregnancy. I was horrified that anyone could be that cruel. Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Participate in this conversation via emailGet only replies to your comment, the best of the rest, as well as a daily recap of all comments on this post. No more than a few emails daily, which you can reply to/unsubscribe from directly from your inbox. No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.