Being pregnant can be such a mixed bag and you have to be prepared to take the good with the bad. But one thing you don’t have to take is the unsolicited advice or analysis of others, however well meaning it is.
Don’t get me wrong, people will say the most amazing and supportive things to you.
Expectant mums are a beacon of light, drawing people in and the smiles you are greeted with from complete strangers can be so reassuring.
It is just a good idea to brace yourself for the inevitable, hopefully rare, comment that is best ignored for your own sanity and sometimes even you, or your growing bub’s, safety.
1. Bump police
Beware the bump police. They often come disguised as family and friends, though sometimes a neighbour, acquaintance and even a stranger in the supermarket will step forward to give you a completely uneducated and totally baseless analysis of your pregnant form. From the shape, size and position of your bump and, believe it or not, even your overall weight.
I can still hear the gasps of the women lined up with me in a popular dress shop just prior to Christmas, after a seemingly sweet lady asked me when my baby was due.
So shocked was she when I replied June, more than six months away at the time, she and the others in the line all stumbled to give me a diagnosis for why my form was so prominent.
“I guess it’s all about what you wear, some dresses make you look pregnant even when you’re not,” one said.
Another added, “And maybe the way you are standing, or is it twins dear?”
No it is NOT twins. Some of it was due to the hormones I was taking as part of the IVF process and the rest was probably cake, who knows!
2. ‘In my day…’
If someone is talking about pregnancy and starts their sentence with, “In my day, we…”, consider it a red flag.
Grandparents, aunties and parents are well known for this.
While eating out, I changed my breakfast order from fried eggs to scrambled in a cafe to make sure it would be well cooked.
My mum questioned this and when I explained the concerns surrounding eating runny eggs while pregnant, her reply was, “In my day, we didn’t get told any of that and you turned out okay”.
I love my mum and I cherish her advice but I also accept a lot of things have changed since ‘her day’, so when it comes to health advice about food safety in pregnancy, I’ll go with the overwhelming majority of medical professionals.
3. Pre-pregnancy experts
These are people who have never been pregnant and, similar to the non parents who give parenting advice, it’s important to remember they may mean well but probably have no real idea.
I can say this because I was totally and annoyingly guilty of doing this and I cringe every time I recollect some of the things I said when I was a pre-pregnancy expert.
And, as I struggled with infertility, through surgery and IVF my self-assumed expertise only grew.
Some of my worst moments usually started with, “when I am pregnant (or if I was pregnant), there is no way I would…”.
The truth is, as with anything in life, you don’t know what you would do in a certain situation until you are in that situation.
I actually once said to a friend, “When I am pregnant, there is no way I would want anyone else in the birth suite with me except my husband.” But guess who begged her mum to stay when the moment finally came.
4. ‘You’re not eating for two’
Yes I am dammit! I am sorry, but ignore these judgemental people because the truth is, when you are pregnant, you ARE eating for two.
You may not be eating for two fully grown versions of yourself, therefore doubling your food intake at every meal is probably a tad excessive, but everything you eat is shared between you and the tiny human you are growing inside of you.
Doctors want you to be more aware of the food passing your lips but comments like ‘you’re not eating for two’ from non-medical professionals only seem to serve judgement on the amount you are putting on your plate. It might be a harmless comment but can also be interpreted as a thinly veiled insult.
This is a particular sore point for me at the moment because I spent last year losing more than 20kg ahead of IVF and have put all that, plus some, back on.
At more than 20 weeks pregnant, I am hungry ALL THE TIME so best not to get between me and food.
5. One size fits all advice
I am guilty of this as well, especially with my closest friends (sorry).
Every one is different and therefore no two pregnancies are the same, so what worked for me may not work for you.
Chances are you know a lot of people who have experienced pregnancy and seeing your blossoming bump will give them an opportunity to share their experiences and, as a consequence of that, they give totally irrelevant advice to you.
Sometimes you might share a concern you have, only to have them say they had the same then tell you exactly what to do.
For example, I once told a friend a cup of milk before bed really cured my reflux.
I was quite insistent she do the same, only to have her report back to me it made it ten times worse for her. I am sure my ears were burning because I was not her favourite person that night.
Perhaps it was karma but this time around in pregnancy, anything I have too close to bed time gives me terrible reflux.
Recommending milk isn’t a crime but my point is one size does not fit all, just weigh up the advice and use your instincts to determine how much of it you take on board.
We would love to know what advice you got while pregnant that you decided not to follow.