Jan 22, 2009

Keep it to yourself mama...

From the moment you share the news that you're pregnant it can feel like you're getting hazed.  Everyone suddenly feels the need to "initiate" you by telling you what you're in for and how you have no way of prepping for what you're body has told you is already on the way. 

For the first 5 months of my pregnancy everyone told me how small I was, that I was carrying so high, and that if I hadn't thrown up yet you can be sure I would at any moment. For the last 4 months, they flip-flopped and decided I was too big, carrying low and should prepare myself for an excruciating 30 hour delivery with no medication, sleepless nights, and never going out for dinner ever again.

A coworker expressed disbelief when I didn't have a pediatrician locked in at 30 weeks. Strangers at dinner shot me dirty looks when I had a sip of Brett's wine. And when I ordered vegetable sushi a waitress wanted to know "if I was sure?"  My doctor assured me the occasional indulgence would not deform my baby.

And, it didn't seem to stop after I gave birth.  My doorman told me Oliver should be wearing a hat at all times. My cleaning lady expressed her concern that "el bebe cry mucho." And the checkout woman at Food Emporium actually told me my diaper bag was inefficient. The final straw, however, was my pharmacist at the old Dwizzel Rizzel (Duane Reade for those of you who don't live in my apartment).  I had a question about the formula I was buying. Well, instead of answering me, she exclaimed:


I'm sorry, but I didn't realize I needed to include you in my most personal of decisions you stupid-ass slut! Yes. Breast is best. I've heard it a million times.  But frankly, some of us can't and some of us frankly don't want to. You don't see me going around gasping:


No. I would never do that. I think it's a beautiful thing to be able to do.  But as far as I'm concerned breast or bottle, stay-at-home or working, nanny or day care, co-sleep or crib sleep, epidural or natural, public or private school, cloth diapers or disposable, you decide what works for you. It's not my business to initiate you into the club of motherhood. You'll figure it out. Everyone does.  

Here's a story in the NYtimes by Lisa Belkin which spoke about this much better than I did:
Let me know what you think.


  1. I hear ya. I remember those days even though it was 5 years ago. I loved all the myths too like the heart beat indicating a boy or girl.

  2. Oh, man, I know. Well, not exactly, because I don't have a child, but I do have a dog, and everybody seems to have an opnion. Everybody also seems to think that it's ok to pick up my dog and feed it without asking, even if she's already freaked out by all the attention she's getting. I'm terrified of what people are going to do when I have a child!

    BTW Thanks for coming by my site, I've been meaning to say so!

  3. I don't know what to say. I think people mean well. And you know, the whole road to hell being paved with good intentions.

    It's always shocking to me how people think that they can pipe in with their views. It would never occur to me about lecturing anyone about breastfeeding or anything else for that matter. Mostly because I don't care that much, I guess.

  4. It's one of those things that people just feel comfortable spewing advice on. Sure they mean well, but it must truly be insufferable.
    You might just have to work out a little mantra that you say every time you step outside your apartment like this: "I know people are going to throw baby tips at me, even if they're 77 year-old childless men, and I'm just gonna, smile, throw them the Issac-the-bartender guns and say "You betcha" and let it float off into the ether."


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