A funny thing happens when you announce your pregnancy. You become very popular – everyone wants to talk to you, give you advice and sometimes get a bit too up close and personal with your belly.
And while there are many things to love about being pregnant, there are certain annoyances everyone who’s ever been a mum-to-be will recognise. A survey by UK supermarket giant Asda has revealed women’s nine top pregnancy and new mum gripes. Do these sound familiar?
- Belly touching: Unsuprisingly this topped the list of “bump bears”. Not okay when not pregnant; not okay when pregnant, according to 60 per cent of women surveyed.
- Questions about baby names (58 per cent): This can only ever lead to a bad place. People love to dish out on the names they hate – one or two of which are inevitably on your top five list. Or they’ll tell you “their” names, so you don’t “steal” them.
- Unsolicited advice (43 per cent): Everything from how to look after yourself during your pregnancy, to how to handle a newborn and then some.
- Early visitors (34 per cent): You’ve just arrived home from the hospital when the doorbell rings – and then it doesn’t stop for weeks. You get to the end of the day and realise you’ve only held your baby to feed her, and you haven’t even had a coffee yet – even though you’ve spent all day making them for others. (Side note: guests who bring food and/or elbow grease are usually more than welcome).
- Prodding you to reveal your pregnancy (33 per cent): Your friends and/or relatives suspect you’re pregnant and watch you like a hawk to see whether you’re drinking – and then insist on grilling you about it in front of everyone you know. Bye-bye surprise announcement!
- Well-intentioned but thoughtless comments (26 per cent): You know the ones: “You look tired”, “are you sure you’re looking after yourself?”
- Terrifying stories about other people’s births (18 per cent): As if the thought of pushing out a baby isn’t daunting enough, it’s almost as though pregnancy comes with a big flashing sign: “Please tell me your most horrific labour story!”
- Losing touch with childless friends: Yes, having a newborn is amazing, but 16 per cent of women say they secretly miss their “previous” life and resent friends who are footloose and fancy-free (and well-rested).
- Questions about cravings: While I can’t say this ever bothered me, nine per cent of women say they don’t enjoy talking about how many bowls of ice cream or gherkins they eat each day.
Naturally, this survey set off a lively discussion at Babyology HQ. And we reckon they left a few off the list – here’s what we would add:
- Being asked about the sex: Are you finding out the sex? Is it a boy or girl? Are you hoping for a boy or a girl? Or worst of all, if you’re pregnant and already have two of one gender, being asked whether you’ll be disappointed if it’s the same again this time (especially when it’s asked in front of the kids!).
- Being asked about sex: Was it planned? Did you mean to have them so close together? Were you trying for long? None of your business, thanks!
- Being asked when you’ll have another baby: Especially when you’re barely out of hospital with the first one.
- Guessing games: People have all manner of theories as to whether you’re carrying a boy or a girl – if you’re carrying out front it’s this, if you have heartburn it’s that, if a pendant swings this way, it’s the other.
- Judging the baby: Is he a good baby? Ooh he’s very unsettled, isn’t he? Wow, she needs to be picked up a lot, doesn’t she?
- Comments on your size: Yes, I look like a whale. I see this every time I look in the mirror. No, I’m not having twins. Yes, I’m sure about that.
- Not-so-helpful parenting comments: “It’s just a stage”; “Enjoy this stage, it only gets harder from here”; “You’ll look back on this time as the best days of your life”; “Enjoy every second.” All true but not what you want to hear with a colicky baby and sleep-deprived mama.
- The conversation shift: Current affairs, shmurrent affairs. Now you are pregnant, obviously the only thing you are capable of talking about is babies.
- Mum who? No one asks about you any more – all the focus is on the baby.
- Comparisons between parents and baby: Person 1: “Hope he hasn’t got your husband’s nose, haha!” Person 2: “Oh look, he’s got your husband’s nose!” Guaranteed, the first person who walks into your hospital room will ask or comment on who your baby looks like. And it carries on forever. Says one of my colleagues: “People often comment how much my girls look like their dad and then apologise, as though it’s a rude thing to say. A) they do look more like him than me; b) I knew when I had a baby with the guy that there was a strong possibility that our kids would like like him, so I’m fine with it.”
- “Back in our day …”: The older relatives who insist their way, AKA “how we did it in the old days”, is better. You know, things like sleeping a baby on their front.
- The sleep obsession: During pregnancy: If you’ve had a bad night’s sleep, people say, “get used to it”. If you’ve had a good night’s sleep? “Enjoy it while it lasts.” Post pregnancy: Any comments on sleep, followed by “my baby slept through from three weeks”.
- And finally: The realisation that you will probably say or do at least four of these things to other pregnant or new mums down the track (if not already).
What irritated you most about being pregnant or having a newborn? Tell us below.