My mom has a lot of great advice, mostly based off all the lessons she's learned over the years. Where she failed in relationships, she encourages me to make better choices. When it came down to finances, she reminds me of her struggles. And with child-rearing, well, she's always been there to say "don't do what I did" and gently guide me down my own parenting path. Having said that, there are some times you shouldn't listen to your mother when it comes to pregnancy. Like, at all. Our mothers mean well, to be sure, but mom doesn't always know what's best. Trust me.
Pregnancy is so vastly different for everyone and, yet, it seems like all moms (myself included) can't help themselves when it comes to dishing out advice or telling tales of their own pregnancies. My mom's no different. When she was pregnant with me she was young and had to figure out what worked, and what didn't, all on her own. So when I was the one holding the positive pregnancy test in my hot little hands, she wanted to share her personal experience if only to help me figure things out sooner.
But here's the thing: most of us need to learn as we go. Every woman has the right to experience pregnancy in whatever unique way works for her, and feel whatever she feels about any particular experience. In the end, and no matter how great your mother's intentions truly are, you, as the pregnant person in this scenario, need to do what's best for you. Not your mom. Not your partner. You. So with that in mind, here's some "advice" you can feel more than free to ignore:
When It's About What You Eat
Your mom wants to be sure you're getting enough nutrients for the baby, so sometimes she obsesses about whatever you are, or are not, eating. She might even try to get you on a special meal plan to ensure you're hitting specific caloric goals. No matter how well she means, and as long as you're doing no harm to yourself or your baby, it's your body, your baby, and your decision to eat, or not eat, whatever you want and whenever you want. Not hers.
So, yes, you can kindly tell her to back the you-know-what up.
When She Questions Your Relationship With Your Partner
When I found out I was pregnant my partner and I were together for a little over two years. We were young, and still learning about ourselves, our relationship, and how to communicate affectively. My mom (and other family members) meant well in wondering if my partner and I should even be together, but I didn't want to hear it. I knew we'd figure it out eventually.
Just recently my husband and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary. So, yeah, we figured it out.
When She Insists Your Experience Will Be Similar To Hers
No two pregnancies are the same, especially if two pregnancies are experienced by two different women. Hell, my pregnancy with my son was wildly different than my pregnancy with my daughter. It does no good to rely on what you mother says regarding pregnancy or childbirth, or even parenting. You do you.
When She Scares You Into Believing The Worst
My mom loves to scare me. Not intentionally, to be sure, but through true crime stories, the news, and anything her mind can conjure up that's nothing short of terrifying. It's out of love, because she wants me to be safe, but when I was pregnant I didn't need to hear about the pregnant woman who was kidnapped and had horrible things done to her after going to the drugstore. This is a time when it's best to create, and adhere to, boundaries.
When She Mentions Your Weight
Never ask about a pregnant woman's weight — or anyone's weight, for that matter. Even if those comments are coming from your mom, it's rude. I gained quite a bit of weight with each pregnancy because I had so much fluid buildup. No, it wasn't healthy (which is partially why I was put on bed rest), but hearing advice about how to "lose a few pounds" didn't make things any better.
When She Downplays Your Discomfort
There was a time, during my second pregnancy, when I'd get contractions when I was hungry, stressed, or any combination of the two. It was closer to my third trimester and I hurt everywhere. My mom had a rule about eating in the car, but when she'd come to pick me up for something I had a Ziplock bag full of cereal to eat so I didn't, you know, go into labor. I couldn't eat my cereal in the car for the full hour-long ride, and in turn, had contractions.
My pain was undercut by my mother's arbitrary rules, and it wasn't until she'd realized how dangerous that situation was that she found it in her heart to apologize. If your mom downplays your comfort with "it can't be that bad," or denies what you know you need for your pregnant body, it's time to utilize the aforementioned boundaries.
When She Questions Any Decision You Make
Listen, it all comes down to the fact that it's your pregnancy — not your mother's. It's great if she wants to share her experiences in hopes you'll get something out of it, but you're the one doing all the work. Make your damn decisions without guilt. It's OK not to listen sometimes. Actually, I think it's part of breaking off, so that you'll learn to be a mother yourself.
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