Probably the biggest thing I’ve learned is that everyone has an opinion, and as the saying goes, opinions are like buttholes (you get where I’m going with this). You want to see hatred, judgement and anger? Tell someone you are thinking of one of the following: epidural, pain-free birthing, disposable diapering, formula feeding…and the big one…circumcision. Better yet, post about it on The Bump messageboards if you really hate yourself and want to be dragged through the mud.
It’s your body, your baby and your decision. I’ve found the best way to approach everything is to do your research, and keep that research and your decision to yourself (and your partner).
With that being said, here’s my advice for a newly pregnant gal:
Stop people in their tracks when they want to tell you about their 52 hour labor, 7 inch tear, traumatic birth and the rectum splitting poop the next day. Ladies always follow that up with “well, once your baby is there it’s all worth it and you forget about the pain.” First off, you obviously did not forget about the pain because you told me every gory and horrific detail, vividly. Secondly, as a first time mom I have no frame of reference in terms of the love of the baby wiping out the traumatic birth. Right now, all I’m thinking about is how many stitches I’m going to have in my grundle. Just don’t listen to it. Read Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, ask friends to share their wonderful birthing experiences (some ladies have them, I swear), go online and google pleasant birth experiences, they’re out there.
If you aren’t ready to hear opinions that are different than your own, don’t ask. That goes for names especially. Our baby’s name, Thomas Patrick, is traditional and has familial meaning, so I’m fine with sharing, but if you plan on naming your baby something like Tempeh Sage, or you “misspell” a common name (Britneigh) you might hear some dissent. This goes for outside of parenting though, don’t ask questions if you’re not ready to hear every answer under the sun. Otherwise you’re just compliment fishing.
I haven’t gotten a lot of parenting advice (yet), but my husband has, which at first I thought was weird, but then realized I only work with 3 other people, and my husband, as a teacher, works with a ton of women, so, there’s that. Take it with a grain of salt, smile and nod.
Enjoy it! This is the one time in your life when you can eat foods you might not have ever considered because of their caloric/fat/sugar content (I went through a box of Golden Grahams in two days). You can take naps, people carry stuff for you, offer you their seat. You’re basically treated like an elderly person, which is pretty effing awesome, if you ask me. I know, you’re not supposed to “eat whatever you want,” but there’s more leeway as a pregnant gal. It’s nice. Oh and the best part? Taking a few months off of constantly sucking it in (you know what iI’m talking about). And there’s the whole baby thing as well. I’ll let you know how all of that works out.