(Adults) Say The Darndest Things…

Is it bad that in my eight months of pregnancy I can actually count the on my hand the number of people  who've  had something good to say about delivering a baby? I’m holding up three fingers.   Besides the three positive stories that I can think of, the atrocities that people have (for whatever reason) felt entitled to share with me have all been over-the-top horror stories and it’s all getting pretty old, really fast.

What is it about a pregnant belly that makes others want to dig out every negative scenario that they can think of and share it with an expecting mother? And the strangest part about all of this is that I don’t even for a second invite or ask for these stories — women, men and complete strangers alike just feel the need to share them, it’s ridiculous!

I can’t for a second come up with a scenario where this sort of story sharing would be even remotely appropriate, so when did it become acceptable to treat pregnant women this way?

Can you imagine anyone saying the following things?

I have a five year old. — “My friend has a five year old; she says it’s a total nightmare of an experience.”

I just got married. — “Marriage is awful; I know of 20 couples who’ve gotten divorced.”

My husband and I are expecting — “Good luck with that; kiss your sex life goodbye.”

My cousin is very ill — “Oh really? They’re not going to make it; people who fall ill like that rarely do.”

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I've come to notice that negative birthing stories and unwanted feedback follows a very predictable sequence. First, comes “how far along are you?” then they inch their way in with “when are you due exactly?” (This is always the catalyst question) at which time they come at you full force with the negative labor bomb:   My sister just had a baby after three days in insane amounts of pain, they gave her an episiotomy and then they had to give her a C-section. Perfect, thanks for sharing.

I’ve even had people respond to my due date (December 24th) with, “Ouch, you’re having a Christmas baby…that sucks!” And again, without sounding repetitive, I ask — when is being rude like this ever okay?

In the beginning of my pregnancy I used to entertain the negative stories by acting surprised, sympathetic and throwing in the occasional “I’m so scared, I hope that doesn’t happen to me,” but then I noticed that this exact reaction was what people were seeking - almost like a validation or a sense of fulfillment for their good doing in “sharing the news.” Or maybe this is the only way that people feel they can relate to pregnancy, who knows?

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In these eight months  I've  realized that certain experiences in life are what you make of them (things that you’re able to have control over). By letting others share their negative birthing stories, I’m allowing them to cloud my mind and rob me of my own unique birthing experience. If I continued to allow this, it’s inevitable that I will feel defeated and fearful from the moment the labor begins.

The doula that my husband and I are working with has emphasized to both of us that the mind is a very powerful tool.   I’m definitely not going into the birthing room with a pink blindfold on, however I am doing the best that I possibly can to block out all the negative stories that people have been feeding me. By understanding how the body and mind go hand in hand and by getting a realistic grasp on what the female body is naturally capable of and designed for, I’m convinced that childbirth  doesn't  need to be this horrific horror story that everyone paints it out as. After all,  isn't  this all supposed to be one of the happiest moments of my life?