I’m old. Really, I am. I’m old to be the mom of such young kids, and I’m OK with that. I’m pretty sure that it is written in purple and red ink in my file at the OB “Advanced Maternal Age.” I’m a geriatric pregnancy, but I wouldn’t really have it any other way.
Why am I commenting on this?
Because in some of my spare time on the weekends I stop by a couple of pregnancy message boards online and find myself shaking my head like a stuffy old librarian shusshing some giggling teenage patrons.
Never in my life would I try to pass myself off as a pregnancy or parenting expert — I’m certainly not that. But, most of the time, I do feel like I got my fair share of common sense.
So, inspired by message board insanity, here are my commandments for pregnant women, written by an old-as-Moses mama:
1. While your pregnancy might consume your every waking (and sleeping) thought, it isn’t going to be the most important thing to everyone you know. Please do not feel hurt because people in the grocery store didn’t bow to your fertility and hand you the case of Diet Mt. Dew from the bottom shelf.
2. No one else will remember what you can and cannot eat. It is not appropriate to throw a fit because your brother-in-law had a cookout and served hot dogs. You might have to quietly fill up on potato salad and baked beans instead.
3. If you are a first-time mom, you will get lots of advice. Some of it will be great, some of it will be ludicrous, but you should smile, nod, and say, “Thank you! I’ll keep that in mind” no matter how looney the advice is. It shows the advice-giver that you are listening and appreciate that they have thought of you at all, when it could so easily be the case that they wouldn’t.
4. Every pregnant woman is tired and uncomfortable. Some more than others, but most of the symptoms most pregnant women have are totally normal. Getting into a “my symptoms are worse than yours” duel only shows that neither of you really feel that badly — the ones who are so sick they can’t complain get my sympathy.
5. If you say you’re feeling “more uncomfortable” than you’ve “felt in my whole life” at 24 weeks pregnant, I just *might* think you’re a bit of a weenie. You’ve still got 16 weeks to go, sweetie… and baby ain’t gonna get smaller…
6. Your husband/spouse/co-parent is a human. And your friend and life partner. Please keep that in mind. Yeah, you may not be able to control your every emotion, but think before you speak and breathe before you think. You’ll both be happier if you do.
7. Along those same lines, don’t expect him/her to be able to read your mind. And then get mad at them for not doing it well. Talk about unfair expectations…
8. Your husband/spouse/co-parent absolutely does get a say in how you raise your child, unless he/she is unfit (and then I question why you’re having a child with him/her). One parent does something one way, the other parent does it a different way. Does it really matter which way is “right” if both ways result in a healthy kid or completed task? Yeah, Scott unloads the dishwasher and I have to play “find the hidden measuring cup” the next time I cook, but he just unloaded the dishwasher so that I didn’t have to — how could that possible be a bad thing?
9. If you know you’re going to get pouty when someone doesn’t love the baby name you’ve been saving since you were 12, don’t share it until your baby has arrived and been named Princessa le Pinque or whatever. It’s much harder for people to make comments on a name once it is attached to a baby. On the other hand, if you pick a name that is out there (like it is orbiting Pluto), you know not everyone is going to like it. Toughen up and name your kid something you love and tell the rest of the solar system to take a hike.
10. Even if you are miserable, please remember to enjoy something about your pregnancy every day. You don’t have to dwell on it, but take the time to think, “I am so glad to be carrying a healthy baby” each day. There are too many people who know the pain of loss, there are too many people who know the pain of infertility, there are too many people who know the pain of disability for you to not care and to wish your pregnancy done so that you can lose the baby weight, have a drink, or whatever.
Experienced mamas out there — do you have anything to add to the list?