Proper Etiquette (January 31, 2012)

How to Act (and not to act!) Around Pregnant Women and After the Baby is Born

First of all, I want to put a disclaimer on this blog post. None of this is directed at our family or friends, which is a first for one of my posts. (And yes, this may include some of your stories here, too! Don’t worry – no names!). This actually goes out to all of the people that you randomly come in contact with when you are pregnant, and anyone searching for a bit of advice. And, if you are pregnant and ever have been, you know who most of these people are.

These are the people that would have walked right by you if you hadn’t been pregnant, but feel that since you are, they have the right to make comments, offer what they feel are “helpful” tips, and some bold ones might even go for the belly! Why strangers are comfortable with this I will never know.

Your reaction to them will drive how the interaction goes. One of my personal favorites is being 8 1/2 months pregnant and having someone (again, not family or friends) you see on a regular basis, or even a stranger, ask if you are pregnant. Thank you, Captain Obvious. The best response for this is to ask what they are talking about, and act surprised. The stranger will be so uncomfortable, they will likely fumble over their words and walk away (and if they don’t after that interaction, you should probably run away from them!).

Is This Your First?

Next up are the people that ask if it’s your “first,” and if you know what you are having. Again, a question okay for family and friends; creepy/nosy for anyone else, like the guy in the elevator you don’t even know. As always, you can ignore them and walk away, respond and walk away, or give them something to really think about. Try this: Tell them you are having triplets (while you know you are almost full term), then share the good news that you now are at the 3 month mark (maybe while rubbing your belly).

Are You Trying for a Boy Next?

Hopefully this will stop the next question from even arising – and Abby I give you credit for also talking about how frustrating it is. When non-family and friends find out you are having a girl or a boy, their first instinct is not to say congrats when they learn you will have two or more boys, or two or more girls, but to immediately ask, “oh, are you going to try for a boy next (if you have two girls)?”

First of all, hello, I’m eight months pregnant, let’s get through this one first. Personally, I find it very insulting that someone would imply that having a third girl or a third boy is not something anyone would choose. I am not a person who believes in choosing a boy or girl though genetic options.

I experienced this question once we found out it was a second girl. Some people were saying, “it’s okay to have two girls,” as if we needed consoling? Others said “you can try for a boy next time.” Both of which were equally insulting and frustrating. Once we found out the baby was healthy, boy or girl didn’t matter. Except for my planning and our name searching, of course!

What Really Matters

Instead of having another baby because you want a boy or a girl, you have to remember you still have a 50/50 chance. You should have another baby because you are financially stable to support them not only through the first 18 years, but helping with college and other life events that can occur. Kids are expensive and setting them up to surpass you in success is not an easy challenge. It shouldn’t be based on desire to have a boy or girl, but on your current situation and the ability to contribute to the betterment of society down the road.

Now don’t get me wrong, some mommies and mommies-to-be love the attention from friends, family, and non-friends/family alike! And for anyone that falls into that category, good for you! You can disregard this post, but feel free to leave comments!

Now that we’ve seen how things can go wrong, we’ll head off on a positive note!

Proper Etiquette Around Moms and Moms-to-Be

These are some tips that I would recommend when interacting with new mommies and mommies-to-be. Again, this is not anything against any of our family and friends, and these positive tips have come from our actions! The following tips have been consolidated from personal experiences, as well as some of the stories from my family and friends.

Talking About Positive Birthing Experiences

Do you have a positive birthing experience to share? Feel free too! All people like to share their horror stories about what went wrong and how awful it was. This especially doesn’t help anyone who is about to go through labor for the first time! I went in on a Tuesday afternoon and didn’t have Carmella until Friday, and it wasn’t that bad. Oh, and I didn’t get an epidural.

Hospital Visits

Check in with the mom and dad directly and see what their visiting “wants” are. Some people like to spend that time alone bonding with their new bundle of joy, while others can’t wait to introduce them! If they have other children be mindful of the family bonding. Instead of rushing up the minute you hear the news, have a plan for when the parents will be expecting you. With the unlimited amount of technology we have, you can call, text, or Facebook message to see when they would like visitors to come by.

Home Visits

So the new addition is home and you want to go visit! Keep in mind the parents are probably going to be exhausted and it’s tough to be the hostess with two hours of sleep. One of the most helpful things that people did for us was to bring food! If visiting around lunchtime, offer to pick up lunch. It doesn’t matter what you pick up, just anything to make it easy. A special thanks to my mom, Linda, and Julie – the food you guys made life so much easier those days!

While you are visiting, it’s nice to offer to watch the baby. Might as well let mom and dad nap, rest, shower, or any other small luxury.

Not Everyone is as Excited as You Are

Understand that while your baby means everything to you, it may not have that effect on everyone you know. For example, no names mentioned, but I do have a family member that did not attend the shower (or RSVP until called for that matter), send a congratulations card when she was born, acknowledge her at Christmas (and yes, to this point I had acknowledged their kids!), or sent a birthday card. Now this has nothing to do with money, because yes, they could afford it. It has to do with the fact that they couldn’t even take the time to send a .99 cent card in the mail. Be prepared for these people, just in case, and don’t let it affect your happiness with your new addition!

Share Your Story!

Well, it’s a good start to a list anyway! Feel free to leave your comments and share your stories below.

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