by Pregnancy.org Staff
You are pregnant and glowing, basking in the idea of being a new parent. Strangers suddenly feel the need to give you advice, tell you all the horror stories they have ever heard about pregnancy and birth, and touch your growing belly. What is it about pregnancy that breaks down social barriers?
Many people feel an instant bond with a pregnant stranger or new mom. This bond causes normal social barriers to break down and disintegrate, creating a feeling that they have license to offer advice, stories and touches when they would normal restrain them.
Sometimes it's easy to shrug off some comments; other times it can undermine a woman's confidence during a vulnerable time. Pregnant and new moms know more than they realize, and should feel confident in their abilities and instincts!
You can probably safely ignore most of the comments you receive, but be aware that you may also gather a good idea or two or a pleasant compliment. Try to keep a open mind. If you learn nothing else from the onslaught of advice and comments, they may help you become more sympathetic to new moms in the future.
Has a comment been so shocking that you don't know how to respond. As tempting as it is to respond to rudeness with rudeness, its better for you to rise above that, it will only make you feel worse afterward. No matter what the comment the best response is a positive one, something like, "Thanks for the tip. I will consider it." You may want to walk away from the situation if the person is just plain rude. Here are some other ideas to help you survive this aspect of pregnancy:
- Poker Face
Silence and frosty body language (arms akimbo, not making eye contact, appearing distracted) are powerful tools.
Be honest. Tell the offender "This is making me uncomfortable," Or "This is upsetting to me." Walk away if need be.
It's important to keep your sense of humor or you would go crazy listening to all these people. Humor also helps knock them off guard and keeps you in control of the conversation. Sometimes a self-deprecating comment can help lighten the mood, and make you appear less defensive.
You don't have to tell anyone your complete medical history. It's just none of their business. If someone asks your due date, it's acceptable to say it's getting close and stay it at that.
- Turn it around
Offer them advice. Saying something like "Sure sounds like you had a rough labor. You may want to check out hypnosis as a means of dealing with those fears" ends the conversation without being rude, or challenging.
- Keep your personal comfort zone
To help prevent touching try to keep a safe zone around yourself. Don't let strangers in that zone. Generally a foot or so is safe without seeming rude.
And if all else fails, chalk it up to camaraderie. Welcome to the "Pregnancy Club."
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