Monday, 19 March 2012

Unhelpful things to say

In every situation in life, there are helpful things to say, and unhelpful things to say. In pregnancy, the latter seem to outweigh the former by quite a lot. So, if you want to find out how to be less of an unwitting pain in the vulva to someone who soon will be getting more than enough pain in their vulva without your help, read on.

1. "You just wait till the baby's born, you don't know what knackered is..."
Really. Consider this a plea for common sense. It's perfectly OK for a pregnant woman to say she feels tired. She's up every hour of the night emptying her newly pea-sized bladder. She's growing another head inside her. She has an unaccountable craving for mutton curry served in a wheelbarrow, and she breathes like a dirty phone caller with emphysema. Most women who say they're tired when they're pregnant aren't implying that they're more tired than you, or the person next to them, or anyone else. They're just tired. So don't get defensive, or you're liable to get lassoed with a bump band. And for Christ's sake, I know that babies don't sleep through the night. I know I'll be tired when the baby's born. You really don't need to tell me that.

2. Your birth horror stories
I don't want to hear about the person you know whose baby's shoulders got stuck in her pelvis, the time your wife finished work at 36 weeks planning to put her feet up, meet her mates for a mocha and perhaps paint the nursery, only for her waters to break two hours after she got off the bus home, or your mate who weighed twelve pounds at birth. Why are you such a frigging sadist, exactly?

3. "I managed when I was pregnant."
Further digging reveals some big glaring differences in the two situations, like actually you didn't work while pregnant, or that your mum came round every day and did the laundry and cooking. Or that I've spent the entire nine months throwing up my intestinal lining, while you felt fine the whole time. And maybe you did manage while you were pregnant. So what? It doesn't make you superior, just lucky. So don't be an arsehole.

4. "Haven't you had that baby yet?"
Damn, you've rumbled me. Of course, I dropped it out in a desk drawer and it's having a nap now. I'm only moaning about backache and clutching a bump the size of a planet for the hell of it, really. It's just so much fun, I didn't want to stop.

5. "blah blah breeders blah blah spawn blah womb-brained idiocy"
So, you don't fancy doing it yourself? That's fine, it relieves some of my residual anxiety about contributing an extra person to an already overpopulated Earth. So don't think I'd knock your choice. That said, call me a womb-brain again and I'll aim my waters to break all over your pretty new shoes.

I'm not denying that pregnant women, myself included, can be pretty annoying, but, y'know, have a bit of sympathy. If you can't have sympathy, try to be equally arseholey to the pregnant and non-pregnant alike. Equality's a great thing. And, y'know, we appreciate it.

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