Whatever happened to showing pregnant ladies some compassion and sympathy? Everywhere I look online, in comment sections, on major publications, I see people telling women like me to STFU about the complaints of pregnancy. The list of reasons is mind boggling, selfish, and rude, and frankly, I’m sick and tired of people telling pregnant women how they “should” feel.
Pregnancy is not always a dewy glowing nine months of amazeballs. Generally speaking, it is a 10-month jaunt through a checklist of less than pleasant symptoms, some of which are straight up humiliating, not to mention painful. And while we moms-to-be are supposed to be smiling and cheerful about the whole process (we’re told we’re walking miracles, after all), sometimes I just want to flip the bird and dive into a pint of ice cream and a wave of venting complaints, even if I will end up with horrible indigestion and possibly regret immediately afterward.
To look at me, you may not immediately denote how much discomfort I am experiencing or how much anxiety I have about my upcoming OB appointment. You may miss the thought bubbles that are wondering how much of my prenatal vitamins actually make it to my growing baby because I barf them up minutes after ingesting them. You may not catch how stressed I am about swinging back and forth between what feels like extreme constipation and equally extreme diarrhea. And, if I had to guess, you are likely totally unaware that this pregnancy has basically included a month long yeast infection. Yeah.
So when I complain that I am exhausted, or “Oh, my God, the smell of chicken makes me want to hurl,” or “I really miss brie and booze,” your response really shouldn’t be asinine comments like “You knew what you were getting yourself into!” or “Some women can’t get pregnant, so you shouldn’t be complaining!” or “You should feel #SoBlessed!”
I want to think that in this world where we talk up the concept of “It takes a village,” that this could mean supporting pregnant women in a manner that is respectful and compassionate.
Yes, I will vent. Yes, I will cry. Yes, I will flipping lose my shit sometimes. And when I do any of that, that is not the time for you to cast judgment on me or pass down some sanctimonious bullshit advice on how I should behave while knocked up.
Instead, you know what would be super awesome? Any of these:
1. Ask me how I feel. Not my husband, or my kids, or the dog. Me.
2. Actively listen to me in a supportive way without giving me advice.
3. Offer me cake. Or steak. Or pickles. I guess this one depends on my current craving.
4. Tell me a funny story or joke (after I have recently emptied my bladder, ahem).
5. Take me out to lunch or offer to do the dishes while I rest.
6. Ask me if I need anything — like pickles, or cake, or steak.
7. Ask to rub my feet.
8. Help distract me by talking about things that get me excited (like baby names — also, see No. 3 and No. 5).
9. Repeat No. 2.
10. And also No. 3 for good measure.
11. Just be a kind, compassionate, decent human being.
Pregnancy — and parenting — is fucking hard. No one can ever really know what my demands are or how they make me feel because no two moms are exactly alike within the same set of circumstances. But I think we can all agree that moms are pretty damn important, right? So let us freaking rant and rave and bitch and moan without feeling any guilt or shame for it.
To all those moms and moms-to-be, I love you, I see you there, and I feel your discomfort and stress and need to vent. Go eat whatever you’re craving, and put your feet up for a while. You deserve it.
And to those of you who tell women like me to shut up with the complaints, I hope you get hemorrhoids and a raging yeast infection.