“My cousin’s sister’s friend had a 12 lb baby and let me tell you what it did to her girl parts.”
“You need to get the epidural the minute you get to the hospital.”
“Are you sure you can handle natural birth, sweetheart?” (actually said to me)
And the not-so-subtle, “Whoa, you are HUGE!”
And don’t get me started on what care providers say to expectant women.
People really should be required to take a class before they interact with pregnant women. Really. Pregnant women are in an entirely unique hormonal state. Even tiny comments can feel very personal and hurtful to an expectant mama.
Now, certainly I’ve messed up, too. I’ve said really dumb things. But I do take my dialogue with expectant women seriously. I know that they will likely remember words spoken to them near term or during their birth. I know, particularly, that they will remember how they are made to feel during their birth. Ask a 90 yr old woman about her births and she will probably give you some very specific details about how she felt.
I have a fantasy. I imagine a world in which pregnant women walk about veiled like priestesses. They are surrounded by vestal virgins who buffer them from harmful comments and TLC baby shows. People stop and give a nod of honor when they pass. Maybe throw flowers at their feet. Or chocolate.
Likewise, postpartum women are in a unique hormonal state. I wish we still had “lying-ins” for new mothers. They could spend 40 days being served nourishing foods and massaged daily. Their only job–to nurture and discover this new soul given into their care.
Now nursing moms–well, in my fantasy for them, they are not veiled.