Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The End of Pregnancy Advice

I have to say, there are some awesome things about being pregnant when you have two little ones in tow.

I remember those days almost five years ago, when I was pregnant with Sadie and I faced all those common pregnancy complaints that pregnant women often lament from people who ranged from over-helpful to down right rude.  The advice and questions poured in, an overwhelming tide of opinions and anecdotes (because those questions aren't really questions are they?  They're more like openings for a lecture!) that could leave a new mother's head spinning.

As someone who had never changed a diaper in my entire life pre-baby, I did the best I could, reading magazines and books that, when I pick them up now, make me shake my head and laugh, in an attempt to gather knowledge for the big day, while sorting through the advice I'd received which often contradicted what I'd already been told.

The advice lasted through Sadie's baby-hood, but transformed, from stranger's touching my belly and telling me horror stories about how they passed out from the pain of childbirth, to suggestions that I fill Sadie's bottle with milk soaked pieces of bread, to get her to sleep through the night when she was a month or two old and lectures about how cold she must be when I let her go out in bare feet on what seemed to be a perfectly lovely day.

In the last few weeks however I realized that these overly helpful, and sometimes baffling, annoyances, died out as Sadie grew.

When you have a two year old and a four year old in the grocery store (even if they're very well behaved) the average person will give you a wide berth.  Sure we've traded these in for comments in line ("Is this one going to be a boy?  It is!  Oh so you'll be done then?") and glares from those who apparently can't come up with any other response when they see a pregnant mom pushing a stroller with two happily smiling little girls (oh yeah, it happens!  And after our cross country adventures I can confidently say it happens all over the country, from sea to shining sea!), but I'm getting used to those.  Besides, I have a husband who says with a straight face:  "Oh no, we're not done.  We were hoping for quintuplets" with such a seriousness that mouths drop open in shock and I'm tempted to sock him in the arm.

Then again, maybe I do know why no one has made it close enough to touch my stomach.  I've had to rescue at least two women in the past month who voluntarily gave their hands to Mae Bae while we were out and about.  She's very cute.  I can understand the temptation  And she doesn't usually bite.  Unless it's a stranger's hand and that hand is covered with brightly colored jewelry that she just has to try to taste.  But having to wrestle someone's hand away from her as she opens her mouth and leans forward in toddler slow motion is more than a little embarrassing.

So you see, those women who would be touching my belly, and then possibly giving me advice are side tracked by the razor toothed toddler and never really had a chance to meet their full, brimming with advice, potential.  And then they're too busy trying to make a quick getaway as Mae reaches for them in a second, more determined biting attempt (seriously, strangers touching her is the only time we have a biting problem!  Even toddlers need their space!).

Ah well.  It makes life much more peaceful, not having to deal with "are you done yet?" and baby birthing/ raising advice at the same time.  I'm not sure I could handle that.


  1. I have had four children in 7 years. I've never once had a glare or any nasty comments! Occasionally an older woman will remark that I "have my hands full" - but I take that as a good-natured acknowledgment that yes, I am really, really busy! Often these comments are followed up by, "I remember those days!" or "I had four myself.. They're all grown up now. Try to enjoy them while they're little." I guess I'm lucky? I live in a pretty liberal area where most couples decide to have two kids - but I feel like most people smile when they see my bunch. Sure, acquaintances sometimes ask if we're "done" and I just smile and say, "we'll see what the future holds!" Of course, I now tend to do a lot of my grocery shopping on the weekends or in the evenings when I can leave the littlest ones home with daddy :)

  2. You have the ultimate defense! Maybe Sweet Baby O will be a biter!! :)

  3. Nice entry!!!
    I was thinking about this myself last week. Got a call from my estranged mother. Tried making small talk. She was concerned because she heard I was joining the Catholic Church.
    "Just be careful, kiddo. The rhythm method doesn't work. You already have four. I don't need anymore grandchildren."
    I doubt she can name the grandchildren she already has. Years ago her advice ranged from "If they're old enough to ask to nurse, they're too old" to "You're depriving your baby of McDonald's."
    Nothing beats the "advice" of family members! ;)

  4. LOL, I actually don't get many comments or looks with the 3 kiddos. Maybe I look mean enough that everybody gives me a wide birth. Maybe it is just the "Minnesota Nice" phenomenon which really means we put on a friendly front, but usually only to keep people at a distance. Thus nobody really talks to anybody at the store unless they know you from somewhere else. Though I did get lots of people admiring the baby when I was recently out, and then they would look in confusion at the double stroller I was pushing. I then got to declare that I got to leave the baby's brothers at home! Then the polite masks come back up and that is the end of the conversation.

  5. I actually liked getting the advice with my first (yes crazy woman here), just seemed like a rite of passage or something... even obviously bad advice was welcome (smile nod and either shake my head later or outright laugh in horror, again later, in some bizarre cases lol). I missed it with my second. Third I didn't care so much, I guess because I didn't expect it and was too busy to care. I did get the belly touches w/ this last one though... and the are you done comments started with our second. That I flat out can't stand.

  6. I have three kids four and under, and I am just starting to show with pregnancy #4. I get a lot of comments, and I agree with some of the other commenters who have said that where you live in the country seems to have a lot to do with it. I live in Washington state, where there are a lot of liberals, but also a lot of mormons and catholics with large families. I get told often that I have a beautiful family, and a couple weeks ago at a restaurant a nose-ringed and dread locked young woman called me a "disgusting breeder". Seriously. The comments used to bother me more than they do now. My in-laws are really critical of us, and that does still bother me. In fact, we have not told them about #4 yet although we see them about once a week. I am sure they will be figuring it out soon! I am preparing for another lecture.I really enjoyed this post. Congratulations on your beautiful and growing family!

  7. I haven't read the post yet but...cute outfit, Cam! You look great!

  8. Since you're having a boy you're also missing out on throngs of strangers offering you their condolences that the baby isn't a boy. Actually, people still come up to me when they see me with the three girls to tell me just how bad I have it. They're usually taken aback when I happily tell them that I love having all girls.


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