Who else gets frustrated by the suggestions and questions about pregnanct? I thought I would share my responses to all those people (yes both men and women) who have been telling me how to live out my pregnancy.
Comment: "You can't prepare for childbirth - nothing can prepare you for that". Ooh I love this one!
Answer: Knowledge is the greatest way to counter fear. Scared about a certain procedure? Try learning everything about it - how the procedure is performed, the risk factors and statistics, why it's necessary and the alternatives.Once the unknown becomes more known, it becomes just that little bit less scary.
Yes I've been reading a gazillion books. I've taken something from each one and discarded the stuff that doesn't sit with me. I've also attended Calmbirth classes with my husband and I'm booked in to take breastfeeding classes.
Seriously people, it's knowledge - it can't harm me and will only but assist me for when everything is new and surreal. There's lots you can do to prepare for a new experience, like research the crap out of the topic, practice meditation, breathing and visualisation techniques and talk through any concerns with an experienced practitioner. We spend years preparing for a career, months preparing for a wedding, so why shouldn't we prepare (mind and body) for the life changing event of having a child?
One of my dear friends Donna started preparing for conception years ahead of time and really showed me the benefits of this approach. Everyone laughed at me when I did the same thing but guess what? If I hadn't done the preconception tests (two years prior to starting our family) that a natural conception book had suggested, I wouldn't have found out that I have a thyroid condition and if I hadn't gotten that under control before I found out I was pregnant it could have had serious ramifications for my babies brain development. You're prepared to train for a marathon or an exam but not for producing life? I'll take the nicknames any day - control freak or not I'm happier being well read than underprepared.
Comment: "You can't control the birth - there are too many variables out of your control".
Answer: I totally accept and appreciate all the things that are out of my control when it comes to childbirth (as per above, I've read the books!). Such as the length of the labour, whether I need to be induced, emergency caesareans, the list is long.
But I can control my state of mind, the way I meditate and practice breathing techniques. I can ensure that I have an active input into the choices that are made about my body and my baby. I can make sure that I'm aware of the pros and cons of medical interventions and any alternatives that exist. I can make sure that I'm birthing according to my body clock and not that of a hospital procedure.
Sure - so much is out of my hands, but this birth and this baby are mine, and I will take responsibility of the process.
Comment: "If you don't take enough time off work after the baby you won't bond properly with your child and they'll have issues when they're teenagers".
Answer: I'll do what is right for my family at the time when I need to make a decision. In coming to that decision I will consider - in this order - my own mental health and wellbeing, my child's needs, my partner's desire to work (for money) or work (for free as a primary caregiver), my career and our economic situation. I will not worry about teenage years and I will look forward to bonding with my child throughout the highs and lows of life.
Comment: "You can't stop at one, they'll need a sibling". I especially love it when a man says this.
Answer: It's no easy feat to give life to a human being. I also have a career that I'm extremely passionate about. Let me enjoy this one birthing experience first and I'll touch base with you at the other end. I might want to stop at one and I might want to have a dozen. Either way, the kid will be loved and the world will carry on.
Have you got your own parenting advice comebacks to share with us? Dying to hear!