I grew up in a small town where everyone seemed to know everyone, including their business. If they didn't know something for sure they'd speculate, so someone's pregnancy was prime gossip material. People would talk approvingly or disapprovingly about everything from their family size, health, and changing body, to the identity of the baby's father (yuck).
When I got pregnant I realized times really haven't changed and, as a result, hI I wanted people to know the things every pregnant woman needs her neighbors to know. Things like how much help they might need when they go into labor or after baby comes home, their wishes about visitors when they're postpartum, and their fears about being judging for the state of their lawn or the fact that their baby won't stop crying at 2 a.m. in the morning.
When I got pregnant, I wanted my neighbors to know these pretty basic things, sure, but there was definitely more to it. I also wanted them to stop speculating about whether or not I was pregnant or just gaining weight (honestly, why?) and making comments about whether or not it was safe for me to run, mow the lawn, or weed the garden (really nobody's business). Here are a few things I wanted my neighbors to know in order to essentially stop all the gossip, but also to help make sure we had an easy transition when we brought our new baby home.
Yes, I'm Pregnant
From the moment I moved in with my new husband, our neighbors speculated (sometimes loudly enough for me to hear) about whether or not I was pregnant. When I actually did get pregnant, I felt a certain amount of satisfaction at no longer being "just fat."
I Know How Many Kids I Already Have
When you already four kids, ages 4-10, you get used to your neighbors making comments about the noise they make or the size of your family. Unfortunately, they made even more comments about our family and children once I started to show. I tried not to let it get to me, though. After all, it was none of their business and one more child's voice or stomping feet wasn't going to make a huge difference. Kids are loud.
It's Fine For Me To Work In The Garden
It's not only OK, but it's healthy for me to get exercise and fresh air when I'm pregnant. Plus, my level of physical activity is something for me and my doctor to decide, not you.
See also: me running, mowing the lawn, and chasing our kids around in the back yard. Back off, and don't even think about shaming my husband for "letting me" do these things. Nope. Not cool.
My Partner Knows What I Am Doing
Please stop. He doesn't own me or my pregnant body, and your comments aren't cute. Instead, they're shaming and sexist.
Our Lawn May Look Like Crap Until The Baby Is Born
There may come a time when I can no longer mow the lawn. In fact, and to be perfectly honestly, it's never really been a huge priority for us. If you would be willing to help, that would be wonderful, but otherwise, back off.
Please Don't Tell Me How Big I'm Getting
I assure you, I know.
Don't Be Surprised If You Don't See Me For A While
Between bed rest, staying at the hospital, and the fourth trimester, I am probably not going to be in the yard much. Remember, just because you don't see me doesn't mean I don't see your dogs pooping on my lawn.
Get Ready For A Crying Baby At 2:00 A.M.
Yeah, I'm sorry if the baby wakes you up. It happens.
When It's Time, We May Need Help
Labor might happen suddenly and we may not have time to line someone up to collect the kids from the school bus or feed the cats. It would be awesome if we could call you when it happens.
Please Wait To Visit After The Baby Arrives
As much as we want to introduce our new baby to the world, please wait until we let you know that it's OK to visit. We love it that you care about us, but we need a little time to recover before having company.