I wrote this a while back, but haven’t been able to post it until now. Fortunately, a couple of these no longer apply – the doctor lifted my restrictions about a month ago, thank goodness.
Maybe it’s my badass attitude. Or maybe it’s the fact that I obviously respond with my lunch order when you ask “Do you know what you’re having?” Either way, I typically haven’t had a lot of strangers interact with me during my first or current pregnancy. Nonetheless, if you run into me, here are some rules for dealing with me while pregnant. While these rules aren’t universal, I’m pretty sure they apply widely beyond my personal situation.
1) No comments on the size of a woman’s feet. During my first pregnancy, I had some serious fluid retention. Towards the end, there was a single pair of stretchy shoes I could wear, which my feet overflowed out of like muffin tops at the end of each leg. If someone’s feet are twice as big as usual, believe me, she already knows it.
2) No saying “Oh, you’ll have your hands full!” Personally, I’ll respond poorly if you comment about how two boys will be so difficult for me to handle. For one, I’m not the primary caregiver – my husband is – so he’ll be the one juggling it the most. Secondly, my kid is the toddler version of Mr. Rogers; he loves button-down sweaters, enjoys quietly looking at books, and actually shares with other kids. Rather than having my bubble burst, I’d prefer to delude myself that our second kid will have a similarly calm demeanor. Similarly, no one else wants to hear about how their life is going to be a living hell – that’s what “You’ll have your hands full!” is the nice version of.
3) No donations of maternity clothes unless requested. I deeply appreciate the generosity of the many women who passed on maternity clothes during my first pregnancy. I appreciated the actual styles of said clothes far less. While they may have been attractive on some pregnant woman somewhere, they certainly weren’t on me.
4) No touching. This is pretty much a gimme, and yet some people just don’t seem to know (or acknowledge) it. Friends and family are an exception, but only if if they ask first. The only person who’s totally exempt from this rule is my toddler son and even I’ve yelled at him a bunch of times not to sit on / hit / squish / climb on his future brother. Good advice for life, really.
5) No horror stories. During my first pregnancy, I was a bit of a Smug Pregnant Lady at times. While I was nervous about becoming a mom, my pregnancy was pretty damn easy, all things considered. But this time around is different. Due to some heavy bleeding that sent me to the ER early on, I’m more wound up than a yo-yo on Adderall. I know a number of women for whom things went Very Badly and am perfectly capable of coming up with plenty more horrifying scenarios myself. And I know I’m not the only one. Neither I or any other pregnant women need your idle comments to feed our nightmares.
6) No saying “But it’s for the best” or “It’s all worth it” when we describe our restrictions. Due to said bleeding, I have some substantial restrictions on activities. Whereas during my first pregnancy, I walked a mile to the train every day, biked into my first trimester and was a yoga die-hard, this time I’m not allowed to walk for more than 10 minutes without sitting down. Taking away my main form of stress relief was awesome. In addition, I’m not allowed to lift my two-year-old (too heavy), which is super exciting when he plays the “I’m going to lie on the floor like a dead fish game” when I’m trying to put him in bed. Of course, following the doctor’s orders is for the best – I wouldn’t be doing it otherwise! But that doesn’t negate the fact that the restrictions still suck. I know plenty of women who have much more severe restrictions. If I or any other pregnant woman is complaining, please just sympathize.
7) Don’t treat us as some special category, but just people who will be having a baby in a couple of months. (Except for giving up your seats on the subway – that you can still do, thanks.)