Top Ten Things to Never Tell a Pregnant Woman

As I’m more obviously pregnant now, I’m getting a few well-meaning comments and questions from people. While most know to avoid the “are you pregnant” one, a few of the others I’ve heard left me thinking that I really need to make a list.

So, without further ado, here are The Top Ten Things to Never Tell a Pregnant Woman:

10. “You don’t look pregnant.”
Since I first felt the wonderful joys of ‘morning’ sickness, this comment has hurt. I realize it’s coming from good intentions, I do. Still, when you’re already aching in your lady parts and constantly feeling like tossing your Saltines, hearing that you don’t look pregnant is the worst.

9. “You look so cute.”
I don’t know why, but I’ve heard this one several times lately. No, I do not look cute. I look like a whale. I look like an elephant. I look like myself in a Sumo wrestler suit that I cannot take off for …a few years. Cute things are little and precious, and I am neither of those whilst pregnant.

8. Assurances of how long it took them to bounce back.
This is more of a stinging comment for older women who are pregnant. If it’s their first time in the ring, they might be more severely depressed post-partum when they can’t go jogging within a week. If it’s not their first time, they know better and don’t need the reminder -especially from someone who looks like she never carried anything heavier than a baby guppy.

7. Lists of risks for the foods the pregnant women is eating.
Another helpful one. If the person is really looking to be helpful, a kind reminder BEFORE any money or effort is spent would be nice. Or -as the best idea- show up with perfectly safe foods for the pregnant woman and her entire family.

6. “You’re eating for two.” Wink, wink
Lady, I know I’m pigging out. Maybe I’m just excited that the food’s staying down this time. Maybe I really do have cravings that seem to involve the wrong side of The Food Pyramid. Maybe I need to eat every hour because my stomach is being smashed in an upside-down direction.
Whatever option you pick, keep it to yourself. And, pass the ice cream.

5. “It’s only nine months.”
You know what? YOU try it.

4. Horrible delivery stories.
Again; as helpful as these are intended to be, maybe keep them to yourself. Especially if the pregnant woman has done IVF or prayed for ten years or whatnot, stories of botched or nearly-botched deliveries are terrible. Didn’t you know that stressing the mom out can cause premature labor? -Yeah, don’t tell her that, either.

3. Shameful comments about her birthing plan.
I addressed this somewhat in my article on planning a C-Section. If you know the person well enough to comment, maybe begin with a simple question: Are you choosing that plan because of past complications?
There’s always a nice way to say things and I know people can choose that way.

2. Horror stories of what the baby looked like, or how it changed sexes.
Like I mentioned in #4, just don’t. No one needs to worry that she’s going to pop out some alien with tentacles where they shouldn’t be.

1. Stories of babies dying.
I once expressed my anxieties about birth to a former neighbor, who responded that at least the child would be “teaching people in heaven.” That is not comforting; that is strange.
Getting a baby to attach, grow, not have complications, and pop out is HUGE. Please, please don’t tell an expectant mom about someone losing her child at birth. Save it for if that happens to her, when you give her a genuine hug and help her to cope.

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Here’s what went down this past week:
Sunday
, October 6: “No Kids Allowed: The Death of the Family,” an observation of society’s changing expectations.

Monday, October 7: “The Toilet Seat, a poem.”

Tuesday, October 8: Shared a quote by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Wednesday, October 9: Recommended mixing your own cleaners.

Thursday, October 10: “Eat a Balanced Diet?,” a snippet concerning dieting.

Friday, October 11: Thought about raised voices in “The Merits of Yelling in the House.”

Saturday, October 12: Shared Marcy G‘s tweet about kids and their feelings of ownership.

Sunday, October 13: That’s today!

 

Photo Credit:

©2019 Chelsea Owens

No Kids Allowed: The Death of the Family

What would the world be like without children? Quieter, I imagine. Less messy. Less chaotic. No rules about censoring swearing on the radio, maybe. Toy departments geared toward 20-somethings. An absence of miniature items, everywhere. An absence of parks and children’s museums.

In a world such as that, how would the odd, pregnant woman be treated? Stared at, I imagine. Whispered about. Talked about. Shunned. Insulted, perhaps? Watched closely when she tries to purchase clothing to fit her expanding size. A general doctor explaining how he rarely sees this sort of thing anymore -wouldn’t she prefer to abort?

And then, how would others react to marriage and families? Strangely, I imagine. With wariness or confusion. With raised eyebrows and intrusive questions about life choices. Without tax benefits. Without special Family Days, Kids Meals, or Half-Price Admissions.

You might think such scenarios to be far-fetched. Surely we will never reach the point of a world without children! Of course pregnant women will be accepted and supported! When will couples and their families be ostracized?!

I tell you: sooner than you think.

Over a decade ago, a good friend told me she lived in Germany as part of being in the Air Force. She said she received openly hostile looks for bringing her baby son to a restaurant, yet a woman with a dog was accepted.

When I’ve walked around, heaving my heavy stomach in a waddling fashion, I’ve gotten a judgmental vibe in the downtown areas. Where youth, vigor, liberal views and pro-choice abound in a college crowd; there is no love for pregnancy in the air. There are almost tangible questions of, “Why would you choose that?” amongst the stares.

And, outside of our state, we’ve experienced impatience, judgmental looks, and ignorance regarding our children. At a children’s museum on free children’s admission day nearly 8 years ago, a woman in the gift shop told her coworker she’d “shut that baby up” -in reference to our 2-year-old making interesting sounds in the echoing entryway.

I understand. I do.

I understand that some women do not want to birth children.

I understand that quite a few couples don’t want to raise children.

I understand that many people do not want to deal with children at all.

But, I know that an anti-family social norm is killing us. I know a world without children is not sustainable. I know we need pregnancy. I know we need marriage and families.

And, I know that we can’t just assume someone else will take care of that responsibility. We need, instead, a return to the social assumption that families are the norm. We need love and support for those trying to raise their offspring to not be sociopaths. We need acceptance, appreciation, approval, and attention.

We need families.

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If you’ve the time, here’s my week in review:

Sunday, September 29: “9 Halloween Movies for Kids (Adults, Too!),” in which I listed my favorite Halloween movies for kids and families.

Monday, September 30: Wrote a poem titled, “The Morning Menagerie.”

Tuesday, October 1: Shared a quote about families from Fathers in the Home.

Wednesday, October 2: Recommended saving money by buying in bulk.

Thursday, October 3: “Naptime Isn’t Just for Kids,” a snippet about how great naps are -for parents.

Friday, October 4: Wondered about people’s evening mealtimes in “How Do You Dinner?

Saturday, October 5: Shared Scary Mommy‘s tweet about hypocritical in-laws.

Sunday, October 6: That’s today!

 

Photo Credit: Tyler Nix

©2019 Chelsea Owens

What to Expect When You Tell People You’re Having a C-Section

Going in for delivery of my first child was terrifying. I didn’t know what I was doing; had only vague descriptions of labor pains and ‘usual’ procedures and breathing techniques. I knew the only way I would be able to learn was by what seemed a literal trial by fire.

I wasn’t far off. Ouch.

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This mother looks way chill for passing through labor.

The second time in the stirrups, I determined, would not be so out-of-control. I was a seasoned mother, after all, and knew what to expect and what I wanted. I therefore began seeing a midwife at a birthing center. I felt this was a good step down from hospitals without going full home birth.

Problem is, my second pregnancy had a complication no one but the negligent ultrasound technician knew about …until I passed a blood clot at 28 weeks. Within a few, short days I learned all I could about placenta previas. Within the ensuing weeks I learned that I would have to deliver at a hospital. In fact, I would require a Cesarean Section.

I spent a few weeks on bed rest, which did little to stop the placenta from bleeding. I ultimately checked into the hospital full time and delivered shortly after 31 weeks.

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My son wasn’t as fat as this healthy child, at birth.

The bad news didn’t stop there, in terms of pregnancy plans. Due to the position of the placenta’s major blood vessels, the performing surgeon opted for a classical (logitudinal) cut. I would, forevermore, require a C-Section for any children I grew.

This has led to a handful of judgmental questions in my ensuing pregnancies. No, no one else chooses how I deliver. But; yes, particularly during the rash of natural birth methods, my announcement of a schedule C-Section elicited concern.

“Did you know <insert terrible statistic> happens in <this percentage> of deliveries?”

“You’re choosing to do a C-Section? There are other options out there that <have this holistic benefit>.”

“But I read that <this awful thing> happens to the baby and <this slightly less awful thing> happens to the mother when you have surgery instead of a natural, at home birth surrounded by family and a only a doula to interfere…”

Over time, people have gotten better about comments. Or, I live around older women who are prone to more complications that often lead to surgery. Or, I’m never the glowy sort of pregnant woman and I look like I might punch someone who mentions it again.

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It’s not so bloody in a black and white photo.

Whatever the reason, I know the answers to the nosy questions:

Since we were planning a natural birth, I know the statistics surrounding ‘medical intervention.’

know there are other options out there, but they’re not for me unless I want a ruptured uterus.

And I know that I may not be able to bond with my child through a beautiful water ceremony after which I eat the placenta and therefore form a permanent, circular bond with him.

Most of all, I KNOW that the most important part of delivery is getting a whole and complete child into the world with as few complications as possible. If I’ve selected the best hospital and birthing team we can afford, know what procedures to anticipate, and am willing to advocate for safely ‘holistic’ things like breastfeeding and skin-to-skin; I’ll be just fine.

And, frankly, it’s none of their damn business anyhow.

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Sunday, August 4: “The Top Ten Reasons Why Being Pregnant is Awesome.” Pretty self-explanatory, really.

Monday, August 5: A sentimental poem, “Five Minutes Later.”

Tuesday, August 6: Shared a quote by Kevin Heath.

Wednesday, August 7: Talked food storage in Food Tip 8.

Thursday, August 8: “Making a Muddy Mess,” a snippet about children enjoying life.

Friday, August 9: Advocated doing something with those printed words in “Books Around the House.”

Saturday, August 10: Shared Marcy G‘s tweet about toddler angst.

Sunday, August 11: That’s today!

Photo Credits:
Sharon McCutcheon
Sharon McCutcheon
Patricia Prudente

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

The Top Ten Reasons Why Being Pregnant is Awesome

Even I’m getting sick of my whining about child-bearing. In order to practice more positive thinking, I decided to look on the bright side of life. Here are my Top Ten Reasons Why Being Pregnant is Awesome:

10. I always have something to complain about.
If I’m sitting in company or just drooling at the kitchen table, I can pipe in with, “Had more heartburn today.” When meeting someone new and answering their, “I didn’t know you were pregnant. So, how do you feel?,” I have a ready-made list of maladies.

9. If I’m looking for social cred, all I need is a pregnancy or birth announcement.
Not that I pay for analytics, but my top posts on TwoFaceBook are announcements of child-bearing and -birthing sorts. Nine months of fun is a low price to pay for artificial popularity, right?

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8. I get special treatment whenever I play The Pregnancy Card.
We purchased a used desk when I was just coming off bed rest in June. As I took the stairs one at a time in the woman’s house where we picked it up, I explained about my condition. She wouldn’t even hear of my helping to carry the desk out to the car.
Now if only I could get free food from restaurants for flashing my tummy, I’d be set.

7. I can sleep anywhere, at anytime.
Weeeelll, I actually can’t sleep at bedtime, lying down. Still, it’s a handy skill during school performances and boring conversations. And, because of Reason #8, the person talking doesn’t get offended.

6. I get to wear overlarge, comfortable clothes.
I expect that, by 30 weeks, no one will bat an eye when I walk around in a muumuu.

5. Literally any other woman who’s had a baby wants to give me a hug on a hard day.
One difficult day after dropping my oldest at karate, I drove to the nearest grocery store and miserably shuffled around trying to find an edible food item. I ended up at the deli counter staring morosely at the chicken tenders. After I explained my condition to the older woman working there, she said, “You poor dear. I remember those days!”
Pregnancy is a camaraderie sort of thing.

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4. I do not have to diet.
Obviously I should not go overboard and assume that all-you-can-eat applies to every meal, but taking dieting off the table has been wonderful.

3. I do not have to exercise.
Yes, exercise is important. Yes, many women run a marathon whilst expecting. The general rule is to continue at the activity level one was at before impregnation which, for bed rested me, was not much. I’ve been thinking about it as the Couch2Bed Program.

2. I get an easy excuse for anything.
This is pretty much like #8, but applied all across the board. Dropped my glass? Forgot shoes? Late by two hours? Sorry; pregnant.

1. If all goes well, I get a baby at the end.
I’m just going to insert a few, cute stock photos here.

Not everyone can get pregnant, I know. For those who’ve done it and now wonder what they’ve gotten into, I hope I’ve given you a bit to think about besides heartburn as well.

Now, go take that nap. Eat that bag of chips. Forget that train of thought. You’ve got a baby to make!

Baby

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Sunday, July 28: “Why the Heck Would Anyone Get Pregnant?,” a post discussing the reason for impregnating and birthing.

Monday, July 29: Wrote “Pregnancy Limerick.”

Tuesday, July 30: Shared an inspirational image from Pinterest about motherhood.

Wednesday, July 31: Recommended watering down juices.

Thursday, August 1: “Frugal Decorating,” a snippet about the unintentional side effects of decoration neglect.

Friday, August 2: Thought about life goals and housework in, “The Dishes and Other Evils.”

Saturday, August 3: Shared The Mum Bum‘s tweet about pregnancy.

Sunday, August 4: That’s today!

 

Photo Credits:
Suhyeon Choi
Nicole Honeywill
Unsplash
Unsplash
Chayene Rafaela
Filip Mroz

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens