Pregnancy is a time of tremendous change for your body. I mean, just getting pregnant is basically heckin’ magic and then there’s all the bonkers things your body does during the 40 weeks you’re up the stump:
- your ligaments relax and ab muscles loosen to allow your abdomen to expand
- your boobs get huge and also begin producing milk
- your hormones go fucking bananas, making you as predictable as an overtired toddler
- you grow a literal new organ (the placenta) just for the duration of pregnancy
- your body literally creates a god damn human
In short, your body undergoes more stress in this 40-week period than you can even fathom.
Based on your pre-pregnancy weight and unique body needs, your doctor will help you determine the healthiest amount of weight to gain throughout your pregnancy – which can range from a very small number to a very large number and ultimately means little as long as the end result is a healthy you and a healthy baby. Some women gain a lot. Some women gain very little.
But there is one extra weight you really want to keep off and that is the weight of other people’s expectations and opinions.
Oh, by the way, the second you’re pregnant, everyone suddenly knows everything and is rushing to share their advice, thoughts, experiences, and expectations with you. Everyone can, for lack of a better term, fuck off with that nonsense.
You see, well-meaning (or straight-up nosy, know-it-alls) people will want to tell you what to eat; whether or not you should be doing X, Y, or Z; how to feed, diaper, and clothe your baby; what to name your child; and all manner of other pregnancy and baby-related bits and bobs.
People will comment on how you look, how much you’ve gained, and they’ll do it without reservation because for some reason, a pregnant women signals to a large number of people that all bets are off and their opinions are important for that pregnant person to hear.
(Do me a favour and just talk about me behind my back like a normal person, would ya? I’m too tired to listen.)
What I know from experience is that the weight of everyone else’s opinions can be crippling and it’s the hardest weight to shake. It’s a nagging voice that creeps into your head in the moments before you fall asleep, thus ruining your night. It eats away at you until you lose confidence in your choices. And you don’t need it.
So, how can you keep it off in the first place?
Let those well-meaning peeps know that you will reach out to them if you have questions or want a second opinion. Tell them that you appreciate their concerns and you know how to get in touch if you ever come up against a situation where their feedback would be valuable.
Also, if you have some off-limits topics but others are open, communicate it. “I would prefer we leave the topic of how my body looks/how much weight I’ve gained/ whether I plan to breastfeed or bottle feed off the table as this is a private matter. I would love your thoughts on crib bedding.”
Ask for backup.
Don’t want to be “the bad guy”? I get it. Enlist your spouse, a friend, or a family member to pass on the message on your behalf. Bonus: sometimes hearing this message from someone else helps others realize how invasive their behaviour has been and keeps them off your back. (But honestly, nothing works every time.)
Have your go-to response, locked and loaded.
“Believe it or not, I have actually had concerns about my pregnancy myself and so I decided to ask the most qualified person for their advice: my doctor! I’m following that advice and not the advice of everyone else as he/she knows my unique situation and has the medical experience to direct me best.”
Remember, you’re a fucking rockstar.
I know it’s hard when it feels like everyone’s telling you what to do but don’t forget that YOU know what’s best for you and your family and you have absolutely, 100%, no-questions-asked got this.