I don't need to explain the Pregnancy Police for you to know exactly the kind of people I'm talking about. We've all had a brush with them, whether it was your friend who is really into crystals telling you to give up wearing underwear during your pregnancy because panties are full of toxins, or your annoying cousin side-eyeing you for eating a cupcake. For the most part all pregnant women have been written a ticket the Gestational Guard, which is why here are times the pregnancy police just need to back off. Oh, and by "back off" I mean "realize they're not actually experts or police and stop trying to control someone else's body and experiences."
Look, I don't doubt that in many instances these self-appointed guardians of mothers and fetuses mean well. Neither am I saying that anyone with a helpful suggestion (or suggestion that attempts to be helpful) is a member of this infamous band. All too often,though, someone with a little bit of information or personal experience projects onto everyone they know, essentially taking their own point of view or readings or understanding as a hard and fast law that everyone should follow. That's not how pregnancy (neither the physical aspect let alone the emotional aspect) works, though.
Yes, the pregnancy police are always writing people up for something, but let's turn the tables and call them out on their transgressions against maternity!
When You Don't Want To Talk About How Your Child Was Conceived
I don't understand how that matters, but that's kind of the way with the pregnancy police, at least with some of them. The policing dates back to how exactly you got pregnant. Was it "natural?" Did you use IVF? Were you even been trying? I don't know if this is information that helps them better police and judge your actions moving forward, but it definitely happens and it needs to not happen.
When You're Eating Or Drinking Something "Forbidden"
Let's get one thing pretty clear: even the experts aren't really in agreement about what's dangerous or not dangerous for pregnant women to eat or drink during pregnancy. (In fact, the list of "dangerous" foods is often more culturally than scientifically established.) So unless you see someone accidentally chugging down something with a big skull and crossbones symbol on the bottle, go ahead and keep your comments to yourself because, I promise, whatever you're about to tell her she has heard, taken into account, and she has made her decision accordingly.
When They Think You're Eating Too Much Or Not Enough
Unless you are said pregnant woman's doctor or stomach (and you can't be, because you're reading this and stomachs can't read) you really don't know what "too much" or "not enough" means for her as an individual. Honestly, even some doctors could stand to reassess what's forming their opinion on this one.
Hormones, not to mention the physical and caloric demands of growing a human, are going to vary from person to person. In short, just let her eat her meal in peace.
When You Ignore Their Superstitions
No, Auntie Fortuna, I'm not going to wear a horn to keep the baby safe from the malocchio. No one is trying to cast a hex and give my baby the evil eye. I'll admit, I took this in the helpful spirit in which this was intended the first time you suggested it, but please accept my polite declination as the final word on the subject and don't bring it up every time I see you.
When They Tell You You're Too Fat Or Too Skinny
Who the hell do you think you are? This is completely unacceptable talk under normal circumstances, and you're going to come at a woman with that nonsense in her hormonal pregnant state?
You cannot tell how healthy or unhealthy someone is based on their weight alone. If there is some sort of medical issue related to their size, then trust that her and her doctor are on it. She's seeing a doctor every few weeks who is closely and carefully monitoring her gestation. She's got it in hand and if she doesn't in spite of her best efforts you're still not helping.
When You Just Want To Exercise
Unless otherwise ordered by their doctor, pregnant women are more than capable of enjoying routine work-outs. In many cases, the same kind of workouts that she was doing before she was pregnant. In fact, regular exercise is recommended by doctors and midwives under normal circumstances. So put your earbuds back in and just let her watch the Food Network on her treadmill.
(Sidebar: have we established why the Food Network is always one of the only channels I can get at the gym? That and CNN? What gives?)
When You Assure Them You're Not Made Of Porcelain
Pregnant women do not need to be policed for doing any of the following: standing, lifting, running, swimming, driving, and basically anything if she's comfortable. Pregnant women aren't delicate flowers who will wilt under the tiniest bit of exertion. In fact, they're probably already working harder than you just standing there. They're sustaining two lives at once, you guys. They're badasses.
When You Want To Work Until You Deliver
Again, this is most likely based on the idea that pregnant women need to be coddled in pillows and soft blankies at all times. And, OK, yeah, I bet a lot of us would think that's great (who doesn't want to be pampered sometimes), but that's not how it always works. Maternity leave is limited, and many women decide that any and all time off will be happening after the baby arrives. Not before.
When They Don't Like What You're Wearing
"I mean, you're kind of a mother now. Should you be wearing a bikini?"
Well, I'm also an adult, and as such you are in no position to tell me what I can and cannot wear. Though to answer your question: yeah. I'm wearing a bikini while pregnant and I will continue to do so because my bump is amazing and should be displayed. Plus, have you tried to find a one-piece that will fit? Besides, I have to pee every five minutes. I need a suit that I can pull down with relative ease.
When You Don't Want The Kind Of Birth Experience They're Promoting
Birth is a deeply personal experience, pregnancy police. No one needs you to tell them what's "best." Why? because you don't know. So if someone tells you they're not into the idea of a doula, please don't spam their Facebook wall with five articles a day on the benefits of having a doula. Certainly do not send them materials from BornInNature.com (or whatever) about how epidurals turn babies into zombies programmed to spew government propaganda. Offer your insights and trust every mother to make the best decision for herself and her baby.
When They "Just Don't See You As Maternal"
Oh riiiiiiiight! Because only one kind of woman goes on to be a mother, and all mothers are exactly the same. Hahahahahahaha NO. Stop. What an obnoxious, undermining thing to say. Just because you lack the imagination to envision mothers as individuals and complex human beings, doesn't mean it isn't possible.