What is it about India and pregnant women? Why does everyone and I mean every single human being who can notice the bump (and who doesn’t notice a 38 week bump that makes a woman waddle like a stuffed penguin?) have an opinion or a piece of advice for you? Oh sure, everyone means well. But to put things in perspective, even the people who invented the caste system supposedly “meant well”. But this constant stream of advice/commentary/instructions/combination of the above is enough to drive any
hormone tank woman crazy.
Over the last few months I’ve been guilted out, been made to feel utterly incompetent, been guilted out some more, have received advice from random strangers (guy in the lift who told me to make sure I bank my baby’s cord blood), been made to feel as though I am not active enough, been made to feel as though I’m being horrible to baby by insisting on doing too much, been guilted out some more, and only occasionally congratulated.
Everyone in my building seems to think that the baby’s late. Hello? My due date is still 2 weeks away. Could we have some perspective please? People seem to think they can read my bump and tell me whether the baby’s a girl or a boy, when the baby will arrive, how long/short/painful/painless labour will be, and of course, how the baby is doing and whether or not I’ll need a cesarean. People are nuts!
If the October-2012 me could go back and talk to the October-2011 me, she would help her be a little better prepared. Here’s what I’d tell her. (Or any other woman who wants unsolicited advice).
Relax. Shop around for a good gynecologist now. Not after the test shows a line. And hey, that line could just be a surprise, so be prepared and have some fun now, ok?
Identify the pessimists and establish a safe distance from them. It’s tempting to think you can handle it all once the time comes, but you can’t. Not when you’re going to be overwhelmed by so much. Pessimists are going to search out and exterminate every last bit of joy you’re experiencing. They’ll also make sure that you feel you’re doing nothing right – either exercising too much or too little, eating unhealthily, not taking enough supplements, making you feel your doctor is all wrong, the list is endless. So guard yourself well.
Figure out who you’re willing to take advice from and set boundaries right away. My rule, advice should be in direct proportion to genes in common with the baby. i.e. The dad-to-be gets full rights, the grandparents-to-be get partial rights. Uncles and aunts to be get some privileges and everyone else gets nothing. The only exception being of course, the doctor.
Make it clear that you’re not interested in anything that can’t be explained. Eclipses, papayas, pineapples, mangoes, spices, needles, the degree of visibility of your bump, the appropriateness of maternity wear, list is endless. Think about your own. For more details, refer to the bit about pessimists above. Also decide how much
superstition tradition you can tolerate. Halve that and set that as a clear guideline for when the time comes. When people are done with their pushing and blackmailing, you’ll just about reach your threshold.
Make sure you’re happy at work. A stressful job is going to kill the joy and double the guilt.
Stock up on sleep, exercise, and good food. Get used to eating healthy and remember there’s no such thing as a perfect diet.
Take a vacation.
You’re an intelligent, educated, responsible woman. It’s for you to decide what’s best for your baby. You will do what’s right. Don’t let the idiots get to you. And oh, don’t underestimate the hormones either.
ps: enjoy those jeans while you can!
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