Stories Not To Tell a Pregnant Woman

We’ve been sharing our big news over the past two weeks, which has been lots of fun, for the most part. My method is generally to wait until there’s an opening in the conversation, and then to mention it, casually, in context. For instance, we told one side of my family during our recent trip to the lake. My brother’s baby-mama was changing their adorable 6-month-old, Arlo, born in January of this year. We’re due in January of next year, so I said, “It’s crazy to think that next year at this time, our baby girl will be as old as Arlo is now.”

I just love that moment of silence as everyone pieces things together, and the excited eruption that follows.

It’s such a relief to not have to keep things under wraps anymore. Instead of continually and mysteriously turning down social invites, we can continually turn down social invites with no mystery whatsoever. We can’t go because I am tired and feel like crap. Because I’m pregnant. The end.

Clint was excited to tell the few other guys on his current construction job; just to get it out there, maybe learn a thing or two about what raising a baby girl is like. The day he did, I asked what their reaction was, and he said, “Oh, they were happy for me. And you know what? One time so-and-so’s wife was pregnant, and INSERT HORRIFIC PREGNANCY STORY WITH THE WORST POSSIBLE ENDING HERE.”

Me: “Let me get this straight. You told him I’m pregnant, and he tells a terrible, frightening pregnancy story?”

Clint: “Well, apparently it was this super-rare…”

I cut him off. No details, please. It’s totally fine with me if he can stomach those worst-case scenario stories. He’s not the one with joyriding hormones who’s found a new hobby in constantly poking at his protruding belly, in the hopes of eliciting little baby-movement flutters.

I, on the other hand, cannot do that to myself. Not now. I’ve heard my share of completely heartbreaking rare-occurrence stories. We all have. The ones where something that never happens happens, at a time deep into the pregnancy, when everything seemed like it was moving along just fine. I’ve mentally filed away every one of those stories, timeline and all. I rest a little bit easier when I pass that same point in my pregnancy, as if I’ve dodged bullet.

A little commiseration between friends? No problem. Common pregnancy hurdles that are overcome? I can take it. Even rare pregnancy hurdles are OK, just as long as they end happy. Anything that doesn’t conclude with a healthy baby going home with mom and dad? Kindly save it for roughly five more months. Make it six, just to be safe. My hormones should be OK with obeying the posted speed limit by then.

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  1. by Eve

    On August 8, 2011 at 10:35 am

    I am always amazed at what people will share, or the opinions that so freely flow. At least it helps you recognize how you should speak to others.

    I worked our market stand with Eric up until I delivered Milo, 14 days overdue. At 12 days overdue, a woman we barely know says to me, “did hear about so-and-so? she was 14 days overdue and had a 12 lb baby last night.” and walked off. I cried for a good 30 minutes. I later found out this woman was over 6 feet tall. Thanks for leaving that part out!

  2. by Jennifer

    On August 8, 2011 at 10:41 am

    Here is a pregnancy story for you -

    Once, when my own first baby boy was about 20 months old, I found out I was pregnant again. I had a normal pregnancy and a healthy baby girl. So we had a two year old boy and newborn girl at home, and all was well with the world. Two years later, we had one more sweet and healthy baby boy. All was still well. The end. :)

    p.s. Garage sale at our house on Thursday, and one thing we are selling is a Graco double stroller. Just saying…

  3. by Berit Thorkelson

    On August 8, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Oh, Jen, I love your story. You always have good ones :)

  4. by Darcie Peifer

    On August 8, 2011 at 11:59 am

    I am constantly amazed by this. A lot of recently pregnant women have told me just to stop the person who is telling the story and kindly ask them to share it with someone who is not pregnant. Or maybe tell me about your favorite kind of diapers or ice cream or anything instead.

    Nice post Berit and congrats on the baby girl. Hopefully I won’t make it to January with our baby boy.

  5. by anti jen

    On August 8, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    A wise, wise woman once told me: Those of us who tend toward being anxious can harness that power and use it to embrace every precious moment. That wise woman was you, and it’s brought me great comfort. So you can have it back now. ; )

  6. by Berit Thorkelson

    On August 8, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Darcie — a boy! Yay! They are the absolute best.

    And anti jen, I’m glad I make sense some of the time! And that those words served you well enough to be able to remind me of them now. Nice to re-connect with that knowledge that’s floating around in me somewhere…

  7. by Stef

    On August 9, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    What was hard for me was when people heard I was feeling great and they would respond with, “Just wait until…” And I would fret about that pregnancy ailment until, well, lots were unique to the story tellers. Mental note, save scary icky stories for friends who are with child until post-pregnancy.:)

  8. by Bethaleg

    On August 10, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    Love the post!!! Who wants to hear about three day labors and five hours of pushing when you are pregnant???? Seriously people! Pregnant people are hormonal and can’t stop crying anyway: enough with the scary stories! Although, they are not always told to you by actual people…I read a Reader’s Digest article at the end of my third pregnancy about a mom’s third labor that scared me so bad I had to talk to my doctor about it! Will NOT share the details here : ) but all went well the third time around anyway!

  9. by Stacey

    On August 16, 2011 at 11:29 am

    The only time I tell my stories are when someone I know faces a similar situation, and then I share my experience in the hopes that my happy endings will be encouraging.