Saturday, April 7, 2012

If You Won't Say It, I Will

I don't know how this post is going to come across. It could sound really angry or bitter. But thats not where I'm at. I'm actually in a rather happy place. I just want to work something out with myself. And this post is part of how I plan to do it.

It seems that people don't know what to say to pregnant women. I don't think they want to say mean things to pregnant women. At least I want to believe that they don't want to. I can't see why that would be something to strive for, to hurt the feelings of women nurturing new life. But it seems they often do. I can't say why. I think often its out of misplaced concern and care. But I also think it could stem from some hurts they have. Either way, in my experience thus far (with about 70 weeks worth of pregnancy collectively under my belt) it seems people rarely say what you would hope they would say to you, in this amazing stage of life.
I was talking to Blake and confiding in him some of the things I've longed to hear from people, and the statements I've heard instead.
The longer its been since that conversation, the more I've come to the conclusion that the things I wish I would hear, are already true whether anyone will say them to me or not. So I've decided to go ahead and say them to myself.  If they won't say it, I will. I think it will be good for me.

So here goes:

     My 1st daughter was born weighing 9lbs after 42 weeks gestation. I wasn't diabetic. She was healthy. We had a c-section. It wasn't due to her size, but her position. She was asynclitic, which means her head was cocked over to the side, putting her ear to her shoulder. He chin was also not tucked, but sticking out, "military presentation."
     I did eat a lot of junk and sugar during my first pregnancy, because: I thought this was the one time in my life I was allowed to eat anything I wanted. No one told me not to. Not even the people at my clinic. That is, until I flat out asked them after her birth. THEN they told me "The mom can only process so much sugar, then what's left over ends up going to the baby and fattening them up. Watching your carb intake is the main way to control both the mother and the babies weight gain" Hmm. Seems like a statement best made at the start of a first pregnancy.
     Anyway, I made some major life changes in regards to my health between my pregnancies and have strived to eat the best possible way I can during this pregnancy.

*The following statements are all sentences I have actually had said to me. I didn't make them up. People have honestly felt the need to say them.
They aren't in much of an order. I'm just typing them out as they come to me.

What I have heard: (From so many people after hearing J's birth weight) "Were you diabetic?!?"
What I wish I would hear: Nothing.
Plenty of non-diabetic mom's have had bigger babies than that --vaginally, often without even tearing. It gets annoying having people freak out when they hear nine pounds. Its not odd.  (Plus I thought she was gorgeous with those big adorable cheeks she came out with! :) I wouldn't change her for the world. )

What I have heard: (This was a statement from a sonogram tech, who one sentence before, clearly shared with me the same principal I'm living by about not having a lot of carbs in order to have a smaller baby.) 
"This baby doesn't seem as big, but it is probably due to genetics. Your first probably took after one side of the family, your second is probably taking after the other."
*Not sure why no one will acknowledge what I have learned and applaud my efforts. Plenty of people have had this type of response to my eating habits. I think people are trying to help me not feel guilty. But I don't feel guilty. I feel happy to have learned and grown, and would love a pat on the back for all the hard work it was to accomplish.
What I wish I would hear: "Good for you, for doing your homework, and learning so much. And making such great efforts to eat what you should be eating! I'm sure this baby will benefit from it no matter what. That's great. I'm really impressed. Not everyone cares enough to do that."

What I have heard: "Go ahead and eat the cookies, it doesn't matter."
*I don't know why so many people seem bent on trying to talk me out of eating well. It seems so crazy to me. I'm taking care of two people here. Do you want the best for us both? Why don't you cheer us on? 
What I wish I would hear: "I am so proud of you for how well you are treating your baby already. That is so loving of you."

What I have heard: "Don't worry about it, the weight will come off."
What I wish I would hear: I wish people didn't think I was doing this for my body image. I'm eating well for a healthy baby, pregnancy and delivery.

What I have heard: "Wow you look like you are about to pop!" "You have to be about done!"
*I always get this from strangers starting around 7 months. Or other such "wow you are huge" nonsense. I think its because I am short. But more so, I think its just that people don't see pregnant women very often. And sadly, I think sometimes its said just to make them feel better about themselves. (Sometimes older women will follow up with statements about how little weight they gained, even though they are often clearly overweight now.)
What I wish I would hear: "You look so beautiful. When are you due?"
(Please take note. THIS is they way to approach a pregnant women you don't know. And mean it when you say, you look beautiful! If you don't mean it, you probably shouldn't strike up the conversation.)

What I have heard: "You've had a c-section, you should have another." (There are many versions and ways to say this, but it all adds up to, why bother to try for a VBAC. And it is usually stated in a tone that implies I'm using emotions to decide, not good logic.)
What I wish I would hear: If you can't say something positive, I wish you would hold your tongue. But if you would like to say what I would actually want to hear, it would be anything along these lines:
"I think you are very wise to look into all your options. I admire that, it takes a lot of courage to stare the statistics in the face and make up your own mind. I know you will make the best choice for you and your baby and your family. I don't doubt your abilities to make a wonderful decision. I totally agree that your body is made well, and has the ability to birth. And I will be cheering you and your baby on! I hope and pray for the very best for you all."

What I have heard: "Statistically speaking, since you've had a c-section, you are more likely to need another one this time."
What I wish I would hear: Silence.
The statistic likely hood of having a c-section is different depending on where you deliver. My Chiropractor just told me about a hospital in New Jersey with a c-section rate of 80%, which has a goal of reaching 100% in the near future. (Honestly, that should be illegal.)
In addition, the fact that one of my children did not tuck her chin, doesn't mean all my children will do that. That's like saying all my children will have the exact same personality and demeanor. That's just silly. There are no stats for that.

What I have heard: "Your pelvis is too small." (Not from anyone who would actually know anything about my pelvis.)
What I wish I would hear: I wish I would hear informed statements. And if you were informed I don't think this topic would ever even be brought up, since its a proven fact that pelves expand not only in pregnancy, but also in childbirth, and become different dimensions in different positions. And actual CephaloPelvic Disproportion is extremely rare, and was mainly seen in a time in history when rickets was a problem. (I have never had rickets. I bet you haven't either.)
Besides, I've always had big hips (makes jean shopping fun), so it strikes me as odd when someone who's never inspected my interior would asses my pelvis as small. I'd rather hear "Wow look at those hips, they are huge!" lol. 
Honestly, when is the last time you've heard a women ask you to tell her that?  :) Take advantage, my friend, take advantage! :) I dare you. Tell me I have huge hips. I will hug you!

What I have heard: "If your baby had been smaller, you probably could have gotten her out, even if she was positioned poorly."
What I wish I would hear: Nothing. You don't know that.
Her head was 50th percentile when she was born, that means it was average, regardless of her overall weight. Her head was turned in a way so that it wouldn't fit. 
I might believe you if you said something like "If you were able to try more positions maybe she would have been able to move to fit." But I will not believe that she was too big.
(And no one ever has ever said the positions thing to me. I couldn't tell ya if that would made a difference. She was pretty darn wedged in there at the end, so it probably would not have actually gotten her out.)  But seriously, it was not that she was too big. I'll refuse that till my dying day.

What I have heard: "I didn't need to do that." (In response to learning of any, or all, of my endless list of efforts in this pregnancy.)
What I wish I would hear: "I really admire your dedication. I don't think I could have stuck it out like that. I think you are doing great!"

What I have heard: "How old is your first? OH... You are going to be busy!!"
*I guess its not that annoying (depending on your tone of voice) but there are instances where I just don't wanna hear it. (Particularly if you have just implied I look too big before saying that!)
I'm already busy. Why not be busy-busy? Its not like saying this, is saying much of anything. Its kind of a "I can't think of what to say" statement.
What I wish I would hear:  It would be better to say something happy, to suggest new babies are blessings. You could just say "Oh that will be so nice." Or maybe try an even nicer statement like, "Aww how sweet. Well I'm sure you've got all kinds of tricks up your sleeve now, that you'll be able to use to take care of this new little one." Or anything that implies "You can totally do it. How wonderful."

What I have heard: Endless variations on why labor is hard. (Horror stories, ect) Somehow it always comes across with a tone that seems to say "You can not do it." 
*I find this weird for one major reason. The person who is saying it, survived. (I know because they are standing there telling me the story.) Obviously, it can be done.
     (Why people feel the need to tell this stuff to any pregnant woman is beyond me. When you have a belly is one of the only times in life where everyone seems to want to say really insensitive things to you. Its so counterintuitive when you think about how precious a time this is.)
     I also find this statement about labor being hard personally annoying, because I often take it as them saying, that since I had a c-section I don't understand how rough a vaginal birth is. I am more sensitive to the subject, yeah, so I may be taking it harder, or out of context. But I'm also not dumb, sometimes they really are purposefully using this as leverage in the conversation. 
True, I didn't get my baby out ,those last two inches, so I didn't tear or get an episiotomy. But I labored! I labored for a good 12 hours or longer.  I had pitocin -- so you know I labored.  I went through all the stages. I puked. I pushed. And I lived. And you know what? I ALSO got my abdomen cut open, and my insides taken out and put back in. And my daughter went through my cervix both ways -- the back up direction was NOT gentle! I healed up for weeks and months on end.
So, I think I can do pain. 
I'm not trying to one up anyone. I just need to say it: I can do it! 
And that's what I wish I would hear from other women, "You can do it." 
If you don't think that I can, I'm pretty sure you can live your life not saying so. You'll forget this conversation in a couple mins, I will remember it forever. Just hold it in for a few more seconds.
What I wish I would hear: Just say, "You can do it." (You did it. Why can't I?)

So Here Goes. If they won't say it, I will. Because its true.

You are doing great. Seriously. I'm really impressed. 
You've never shown as much potential as you have in the last 21 months. You really have put your whole heart into this adventure.
Its harder than you thought it would be, and you thought it would be hard. But you are doing it. And that alone says something.
You've learned so much! No matter what happens, that information will be worth so much. Its going to bless not only you, but many other women in your life. Especially your daughters. What a gift to be able to give. Don't let others belittle your efforts.
Good for you for not letting other's blindness stop you. You are doing so good resisting their negativity and reaching for hope.
Your pelvis is lovely, and lovingly made. Your baby is healthy and growing so well. God has his hand on her and is well able to show her the way out. He has his hand on you and WILL NOT let you go. He will walk you through every step of this. Statistics are not what lead you, your Shepard does. And he will be there once she's here. You will never be alone. You will have his help in all your coming days.
You are doing the right stuff. You are treating your body well, working out and eating right. You are using proper posture. You are seeking out the right help. You are doing the right stuff. No matter what happens, your body will benefit from everything you are doing. And so will your family. You are doing good. 
You are so strong. If you could do what you've done (labor, c-section, recovery, lose the weight, change your habits, face your fears, and move forward) you can do this delivery. You are strong enough. You can face this too. You will make it through. God will hold you together. You don't need to question it. You can rest in it. This is something you CAN do.
You are doing good!
You are doing good!
You are doing good!


  1. Lydia, I've only met you once, but I've kinda blog-stalked you since then. Your home ideas are lovely, but your writing is beautiful! Several times in the last few months, as I've struggled through life as a mom of FIVE now, I've been led to your blog and been uplifted by your words.

    I'm so sorry that you've had to deal with the negative comments that people make to so many pregnant women. I remember having some similar conversations with my hubby as I neared the birth the little one sitting here on my lap. And then the looks of horror as my due date and then another week came and went with no baby to show. And the comments about "what causes that" when people discover little miss is number 5. Yes motherhood is hard. Pregnancy and labor are hard. We should applaud women who are willing to answer God's call to bring His children up in this world. You are doing a magnificent thing and you are doing it well. I don't know how this delivery will turn out for you, but I pray that you find joy in it! Way to go, Momma!

    (and after 5 times of pregnancy, I didn't know that bit about carbs and birthweight. I wish someone had told ME that :) Mine have all been around 8 pounds and I've gotten lots of "big baby" comments too, even the one that was 7-5 got a few of them)

  2. Thanks for your post. I'm currently 20 weeks pregnant with my fourth, and the looks on some people's face when they find out I have 3 already... Nothing wrong with a little vent and "what I would like to hear" post :) God bless sis.

  3. I just discovered your blog. While I have yet to discover motherhood (I look forward to it), I think we can all agree that we've gotten comments that could have been much more constructive or complimentary than the way they were delivered! But I can say one thing- I was a big baby. 9 lbs, 13 oz. My sisters (21 and 15) were bigger than I was- 10 lbs, 10 oz and 10 lbs, 4 oz. My mom's a petite woman, a healthy eater. We're all over 5'8" now and are very healthy- and were as kids. Every child is wonderful- a little miracle. 2 pounds or 10, people should be kind! I think pregnancy is wonderful and a little scary from the perspective of a woman who hasn't done it- I think every pregnant woman is BEAUTIFUL and what y'all do- growing a human - is incredible. Stay strong.

  4. This is such a great post. I definitely encountered ridiculous comments during my first pregnancy--particularly from middle-aged overweight women who were quick to point out that my shirt was getting tight (could you imagine anyone commenting on the tightness of my clothes otherwise?), that I wouldn't be able to wear that dress again, etc. It's like they were so happy I was getting larger (although I was still much smaller than them) that they couldn't help but make snide comments (and at work, no less).

    This pregnancy has been more of the "You're already pregnant again?" because my second child will be born when my son is around 18 months old. Thankfully I'm not sensitive and am really confident about the blessing this baby and the Lord's timing, but it still amazes me that people are so disrespectful during such a special time.

  5. What a beautiful, loving post. I wish more women would talk to each other like this. Your family is blessed to have you. :) <3


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