Every Pregnancy Is Unique, Here's How To Talk To Pregnant Women
It's true that every pregnancy is unique from any other. I'm pregnant with my third child a...
It's true that every pregnancy is unique from any other. I'm pregnant with my third child and even the first two were a lot different from each other. There were some people who would give me unsolicited advice, tips, and other list of things to do or avoid. I know people mean well, but sometimes, it's better to just be supportive and not be a pregnancy guru to a pregnant woman. Remember, the hormones are wild and unstable when pregnant. So anything you say may affect one differently, you wouldn't really know. Let me share my pregnancy stories.
PREGNANCY #1: DIFFICULT
I was pregnant with my first a very tender age of 23. I was old enough to have a baby biologically, but too young to put my life on hold when I was at the prime of building my career. I was confused, scared, unprepared, and I felt alone. If I had known better, I wouldn't had quit from my job and I wouldn't had eaten anything I want in the world. I thought I didn't have a choice, so I just followed what I think my family and others expected of me. I grew really big, like sore big, because I ate anything I wanted, I had no activity at all because I just stayed at home, I didn't have my own money, and my life at that time was a mess (depressing is an understatement). So being BIG, meant I gave birth to a gigantic baby at 9.2lbs, which almost caused my life. I was 50/50 two weeks after giving birth due to internal hemorrhage. I thought it was the end for me, so before I went blank before my surgery, I said my "goodbye world" prayer. Thank God I was young and my immune system at that time was also at its prime, and with prayers from the family, I survived. I just didn't have a chance to breastfeed my son because my recovery period required me to take strong medicines not safe for breastfeeding moms. It was a PAINFUL and difficult experience. I haven't even told you about my 20-hour labor experience.
PREGNANCY #2: EASY
I was 31 during my second pregnancy. During my fifth month, I was confined in the hospital for a week for suspected appendicitis. I wasn't allowed to eat much and they couldn't perform an X-Ray nor other tests not safe for pregnant women, so I was just observed. Turned out, I just had acid reflux. During my seventh month, my cervix opened by 1 cm so I was injected with steroid. The steroid is for strengthening the lungs if ever the baby comes out prematurely. We were relieved that a week of bed rest helped in closing the cervix. But when I was in full term, because of my trauma from my first childbirth experience, I wasn't excited that the baby's coming out soon. I was so scared. I didn't know what will happen to me the second time around. I'm happy God answered all my prayers. I didn't have any labor pains, I was asleep while giving birth, hence, I didn't feel any pain. My recovery was smooth and pain-free. I was able to breastfeed Wes for a good eight months time. It was the reverse of my first pregnancy experience.
PREGNANCY #3: UNPREDICTABLE
Now let's talk about my present pregnancy, which I didn't learn until the baby was two months in my tummy a few weeks before our wedding. We were really planning for baby number three since 2014. We tried to conceive for three months straight, but God didn't give it yet. Until March 2015 came and Macky proposed to me. So the baby factory closed for a while and we agreed to wait until after the wedding. But obviously God has another plan because He gave it earlier than expected. This baby had saved me and Macky countless times already. Anyway, I lost weight during my first trimester. Now on my second trimester, on my 25th week to be exact, I was advised to take a month-long bed rest because once again, my cervix is open. A lot of family affairs, work, events, and other scheduled activities were cancelled. It didn't matter because I need to prioritize my and the baby's safety, otherwise I would have a miscarriage or deliver him prematurely with very slim chances of survival. But instead of feeling sad about it, I welcomed this opportunity to really take a break, bond with my kids, and be in tune with myself. As I write this, I'm on my second week, so two more weeks to go and this bed rest is over. But if on my check up, my organ down there doesn't show improvement, this rest would have to extend. I pray for whatever God desires to happen.
You see, each of my pregnancy journey is far different from each other. If somebody asks me for an advice or ask me what to expect during pregnancy or during labor or even childbirth and recovery, my constant answer is, the experience differs from one mother and pregnancy to another. I will also briefly tell her my three different experiences. Which brings me to some clever tips to address pregnant women.
HOW TO TALK TO PREGNANT WOMEN:
|39 weeks pregnant with my second baby|
Don't give her scary pregnancy or childbirth stories, especially when it involves death. It will not help at all. Please just zip it.
Don't tell her she looks like she's having twins. Even if we already told people we're having just ONE baby and they insist it looks like we're having a twin, please turn away before we snap. Especially when it's a preggy mommah's second, third or fourth or more, we know our belly's expanded already okay?
Don't touch her belly without her permission. It's our body. It's not a thing anyone could be amused of. Don't touch it for luck. When it's touched, the baby reacts and the belly contracts.
Don't tell her how her face changed like bigger nose or darker skin. Some glow, some don't. And if we're among those that don't, you don't have to tell us. It's enough for us to know ourselves that we are not looking our best and we already expected the changes to happen. So keep it to yourself.
Don't give her unsolicited advice. Oh please, don't. Unless we asked for it, speak. Again, every pregnancy is different from another, so stop pretending to be an expert. We'll hear you okay, but we'll only listen to our doctors and mothers.
Don't ask how many months she's on the way and when she answers, you tell her you thought she's due next month or tomorrow. Connected to saying we look like we're having twins. Thanks for the insult, whether intended or not.
Do tell a pregnant woman how blessed she is. Because whatever circumstance she's in, having a baby is truly a blessing.
Do say CONGRATULATIONS! The successful meeting of the egg and sperm to conceive a baby is an achievement, so congratulations is in order.
Do let her go first, in queue, in getting food, entering the door, etc. We're carrying a human in our bodies, please give us some courtesy. Thank you.
Do ask her how she is. Being pregnant changes a woman physically and most of the time psychologically. So asking how we're feeling or doing would be greatly appreciated.
Do tell her she looks great and she rocks pregnancy. We know and we think we don't look as good as when we're not carrying the bun in the oven, so a little encouragement and compliment will boost our self-esteem.
I guess that's just about it. If you really don't know what to say, a simple smile would do. The rule also applies, if you have nothing nice to say, just don't talk.