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Things I Wish I Wasn’t Told When Pregnant: Navigating Unsolicited Advice

I am lucky to say that my pregnancy was a great experience filled with anticipation, joy, but also a touch of anxiety. I do not deal with change easily, so the number of unknowns when being pregnant for the first time was a source of the fear of losing my identity in motherhood. Then came the unsolicited advice from well-meaning family, friends, and even strangers, which only escalated my discomfort. While some advice was helpful, there were certain statements that I wish I hadn’t heard during my pregnancy. 

Here, I am listing a few specific pieces of advice that caused unnecessary stress: 

“You must have a natural birth. It’s the best for you and your baby”:

My contractions started in the middle of the night, and I was home for the first 10 hours. Now I am pleased with how everything went, but I wish my mind wasn’t polluted with those voices of advice. I was fixated on “unmedicated natural birth”, imagining that my son would pop out while I was listening to my birthing playlist on Spotify. I took this piece of advice very close to my heart that when I decided to get an epidural (which I didn’t in the end because it was too late, but that’s for another time ), I felt like a failure for “chickening out” of something that’s “best for my baby”. That’s not something I wanted to feel during my birthing experience. Instead, it would have been more helpful if people had said, “Every birth experience is unique, and what matters most is the well-being and safety of both you and your baby. Explore your options, gather information, and make an informed decision that aligns with your needs and preferences.”

“You can’t plan with a baby”:

As an organized and planning-oriented individual, I found it disheartening to be told that all my carefully crafted plans would go out the window once the baby arrived. While I understood that flexibility is necessary with a newborn, I felt my ability to plan and prepare was dismissed entirely. During my maternity leave, I saw that maybe plans written in stone and crafted to a minute no longer exist, but what does is rhythm. A beautiful rhythm of the day you can lose yourself in, and this can give you a feeling of control. Putting it this way would have been a more supportive approach to providing this advice.  

You must use cloth nappies. They’re better for the baby’s health.” , “You must sleep train your baby.” and other “maintenance” pieces. 

Before I gave birth, I had never changed a single nappy, and sleep training was not something I ever heard of. When getting all this advice on handling my incoming child, I constantly felt like I needed to play “catch up” and could never do enough reading. Of course, some preparation is required, I wish I was just told to focus on getting the baby out of me first, and then I can figure out all the ways I will do “maintenance”, and it’s definitely not “one size fits all.”

“Motherhood is the end of your life as you know it”.

One of the most disheartening statements I heard during my pregnancy was the notion that becoming a mother meant the end of my life as I knew it. While motherhood undoubtedly brings significant changes and new responsibilities, it’s important to remember that it also brings growth and unique experiences. While I am “lose yourself in motherhood” team, I wish that instead of painting a negative picture, a more encouraging perspective would be, “Embrace the journey with an open heart, and remember that while life may change, it can also become more fulfilling and enriching in unexpected ways. You might discover new values and interests and connect with yourself in a way you have never done before.”

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