Questions To Never Ask A Pregnant Woman: A Ramble
So anyone who follows me on Facebook or knows me personally knows that I am like super pregnant. 38 weeks (that’s nine plus months) to be exact. My pregnancy has been hellish for a multitude of reasons but thankfully we are blessed to have what appears to be a healthy baby growing inside of me. While I struggle with a variety of physical and emotional complications, my little girl seems oblivious to it all as she sucks on her fingers and toes and gets the hiccups and moves like crazy.
For as long as I can remember knowing how to read and write, I have used both as a coping mechanism. Writing has always been my therapy, but a combination of stress, unmedicated ADHD and a variety of pregnancy related illnesses have left me with the biggest writer’s block of my life. I have this dream of immediately giving birth and a flood of mental creativity just overtaking me. Maybe then I can tell the story of my pregnancy in a way people might actually want to read.
In the meantime, I am here to rant.
Anyone who has ever been pregnant or is the partner of a pregnant person knows that people are both super nosy and super blunt when you’re carrying a child. It’s like they believe your baby is communal and therefore they have the right to assert their opinion on you. Sometimes their opinion or advice is useful and you learn something. Most of the time, however, it is irrelevant to your personal situation or it is offensive.
Here are some of my favorite things to come out of people’s mouths since I announced my pregnancy:
1) Was it planned?
Um. RUDE. Since when is it appropriate to ask such a personal question about a stranger’s sex life? If you aren’t a close relative or friend this is really none of your business. Does it matter if it was planned or not?
If it was planned, does that mean I am automatically obligated to be happy the whole entire pregnancy? If it wasn’t, am I not allowed the same amount of excitement as women who have been trying for a while?
My personal answer to this question is “I know where babies come from.” And then I go on about my business. I’ll leave them to figure out what that means.
2) You must be really surprised!
Again, please see above. Why should I be surprised? Is it because I’m not married? This is 2017 people! I am in a relationship and we both have good jobs so if I wanted to get pregnant that would be my business, not yours. Now have a nice day bothering someone else.
3) Working in a bar must be really hard pregnant. Isn’t it hard not to drink?
No, it’s actually not hard for me not to drink, probably because I’m responsible for carrying another life and alcohol could harm said life. Of course I have my moments where a glass or two of wine would be nice, but don’t most pregnant women feel that way?
There is a super common (and wrong) stereotype that every bartender is a raging alcoholic. I am not allowed to drink at work anyway and most people aren’t. I am also quite used to being around drunk people while I’m sober because of this rule. So no. It isn’t exceptionally difficult.
4) People asking me to justify my choice not to breastfeed.
Let me first start by saying that I don’t mind people asking me if I am going to breastfeed. Nor do I mind if people asking me why as long as it is coming from a curiosity standpoint and not a judgemental one. Beyond that, the way I choose to feed my baby is really none of your business, but since so many people are concerned with it I’ll go into why I am making my decision.
I have bi-polar disorder. You might of heard of it before. For many years now I have very successfully treated my disorder with medication. When I got pregnant I followed the advice of my OB and then psychiatrist and went off said medications. It SUCKEDDDD. I was totally miserable, weepy, completely hopeless and just trying to make it through the day. I cried all day. Finally I reached the twenty week standpoint when one of my medications was safe to go back on. From a mental standpoint, I feel a million times better.
Depression during pregnancy plus a previous diagnoses of bi-polar disorder significantly increases the chance of postpartum depression or postpartum psychosis. I am not risking that. The second I pop out this baby, I am going right back on my other one. This medication is considered one hundred percent NOT safe for pregnancy or breastfeeding.
People like to tell you that there are medications that are safe for breastfeeding and exert their expert medical opinions on why I should be on one of those and not the ones that have worked for me for over years. Those people don’t know my medical history, aren’t my doctors, and frankly don’t really know much about mental illness in the first place.
For the love of God, I know people mean well. I really do. But stop giving me crap advice.
I have other reasons for questioning whether or not I want to breastfeed, but I those are minor compared to the medication issue and I’m not even getting into them. I have a lot of respect for women, especially full time working moms, who breastfeed. I think you’re awesome. I think moms who formula feed for whatever reason are awesome too. Props for taking care of your child in a way that’s best for your whole family!
5) Why did you even get pregnant if you knew you had a mental illness?
Yes. People have actually ASKED ME THIS QUESTION. WITH SERIOUSNESS.
I’m not even going to justify this with a response, but if you’ve ever wondered this you are seriously ignorant about mental illness and the treatment surrounding it. You also obviously don’t know me or my love of children and therefore aren’t close enough to me to be asking me such invasive questions.
6) How are you going to handle bartending and motherhood?
The same way anyone in any other job handles work and motherhood. I also consider myself in a very fortunate situation where my boyfriend works days and I work nights so I don’t have to put my brand new baby in full time daycare. I know lots of bartenders and other people who work nights who are great parents.
Trust me, my brand new infant baby isn’t going to care how mommy makes the money to pay the rent. She is going to care that she has food in her belly, diapers on her butt, and happy parents.
When I have a bad day or when I am upset about something, my unborn baby can feel my stress. She barely moves in comparison to when I am feeling happy and social like my normal self.
Bartending makes me happy, and that will make me a better mother.
7) When are you getting married? Or asking my boyfriend when he is going to marry me.
Okay, I know I sound like an asshole for saying this, since most of the time it is a well- intentioned question and most people are just curious. If you’re asking because you simply want to know, that’s cool and I’m glad to have a conversation about it, but most of the time people are just full of judgement.
I had a friend who is about a month behind me tell me that a stranger at Target asked her if her kid even had a dad because she wasn’t wearing a ring. Um, how in any situation is that not totally rude? And since when does being a good parent depend on your relationship status in the first place?
I know lots of unmarried couples, married couples, and single parents (both male and female) happily raising great kids. Get off your high horse.
People ask if I want to be married for my kids sake. My answer is a resounding no. I don’t subscribe to the biblical notion of marriage in the first place so it isn’t important to me to be married before bringing a kid into the world. Furthermore, don’t I deserve to get married when I want to, and have the wedding I want to when the time is right for both my significant other and myself?
Sorry, a shotgun wedding at the courthouse with a baby bump for the sake of accommodating an old-fashioned societal notion isn’t what I’ve always dreamed of and more. I’m not tainted and haven’t lost the right to enjoy my future wedding.
I get it people. I am bringing a kid into the world and you want to know all about it. In a lot of ways I am an open book who is willing to talk to you about anything from the weird physical stuff that happens to the insane mood swings. Just put yourself in a big pregnant ladies oversized shoes and think before you speak.
I know there are a lot of fucked up people who have kids and don’t take care of them. However, some people need to get their priorities straight. Just because someone does something different from you doesn’t mean different is wrong. Let’s open up our minds a little bit.