Hi All! Me Again! As a Mother and Former Birth Worker, women are often telling me their stories of how they’ve been supported and not supported during their pregnancy and postpartum period. I’ve had numerous women tell me how when they share the good news, friends feel the need to share their pregnancy horror stories and/or unsolicited opinions.
Honestly, I do believe we moms mean well. We’ve had our experiences and many of us believe we have some wisdom to share, perhaps we do. Despite how many babies we’ve had, how much wisdom we think we have to share, our friend may likely want to create their own experience. Yup, that new Mama, whether she’s on her 1st or 4th baby, may want to create something different. It’s her right, and the right of any partner she has to create what they would like to experience. It’s up to us to allow her to do that, and offer any type of support that would benefit her and her partner.
This is what I have to offer when our friend/relative surprises us with pregnancy news.
Some alternatives to offering unsolicited advice:
- Congratulations! I’m so happy for you (If you are).
- How can I help you?
- What do you need?
- Is there something I can help you with?
Some alternatives to sharing your birth story:
- Don’t, especially if you had a nightmare birth. You have the right to process that, in your own space and time. Not in front of or to a pregnant person.
- Do offer her resources upon her request for doula/midwife support so that she can get support on her ideal birth.
Believe it or not, there are women who’ve had “easy” births. Some babies have literally slipped out of Mamas body while they are rushing to the bathroom or hospital. I actually know of a few. Some women have actually had Orgasmic Births. They exist and our friend may be the next. They deserve that possibility.
I believe what’s of utmost importance is that we also stay away from telling them “you can’t…” or “you shouldn’t…” advice. It’s not up to us to tell them what they can or cannot do, what they should or should not do. Again, it’s their experience.
I don’t know about you, but I want pregnant people to have their best, most ideal experience. I may not be able to control that, however what I can do is support the pregnant person in what they would like to create. It’s their body, it’s their choice.
So please, when that friend or relative shares the news with you that they are pregnant, please consider keeping your advice and pregnancy challenges to yourself. If they ask you, that’s beautiful, please share. But until then, please celebrate them during this time and be as helpful as THEY need.