People talk to me a lot about the fact that I'm pregnant. I never really know how to respond to the question: "How is pregnancy going?" or "How are you feeling?" I never know if the person wants to know my emotional state or my physical symptom of the day. I feel like I usually end up saying something awkward that covers both bases.
Usually following that intro question into my 9-month journey, I'm asked what I'm going to do about da-da-da. Epidural or natural? Breast-feed or formula? Disposable diapers or cloth? Are you going to work or not work?
I used to answer these questions with: "I don't know what I'm doing!" and a hearty laugh to try and change the subject. It never worked. Following the laugh, I found myself flooded with unwanted advice about EVERYTHING baby. I felt condescended to and I hated it. I cried to my mom about this (seriously, how many times do I start my epiphanies like that?) and she told me I was degrading myself by saying: "I don't know, I don't have kids!" I was opening myself up to receiving unwanted advice. While I understood that, I wasn't sure how to combat it.
Then, I figured out a way to respond to these questions honestly and bluntly. "I have some plans, but those are decisions I'm going to have to make when I get there since I don't know how I or the baby will be." This normally cuts the conversation in half, and while the person still tells me what THEY did with THEIR baby, I don't feel like I'm being lectured all the time.
And you know why? Because my mom was right. Before, I was trying to show others that I wasn't naive, that I knew I knew nothing about childbirth and parenting. But it was making me appear fearful, and worried.
I'm not worried. Sometimes, people will ask me questions or start conversations like "are you worried/scared of going into labor/having the birth go wrong/middle of the night feedings/breast-feeding/inconsolable crying/poop disasters etc." And my typical response is pretty honest.
THIS response gets me a raised eyebrow or two and then a loooong discourse on how I SHOULD be worried because child-birth is no walk in the park, sweetie and you have no idea what you're getting yourself into.
Here's that disclaimer. It's really important:
Just because I say I'm not "worried" does not mean I am blind to the fact that having a baby and raising a family is going to be so difficult, I cannot even fathom it. I am not stupid, or wearing rose-colored glasses, or totally blind. I am, however, trying to get through this pregnancy with as little stress as possible for the health of me, my baby and my husband.
Worrying, stressing, or being afraid of things out of my control will not do any of the above mentioned people any good. Fear never accomplished anything of divinity, and I am working hard at not bringing it into my newly forming family.
I feel like everyone wants to share how horrible and hard child-rearing can be. Let's all get together and do us each a favor: The next time you are tempted to spout your negative experiences and "just you wait" comments try to remember that this woman is probably already going through a stressful time in her life and doesn't need to hear your ghastly horror stories covered by your ill-fitting "but it's all worth it in the end" band-aid.
Because child-birth is a miracle. And if you are religious, you know that miracles come by faith, not by fear.