Sunday, June 15, 2008

About pregnancy and postpartum

I know I'm really sensitive when I'm pregnant or right after I have a baby... and I haven't had a long enough time to know if I'll always be like this.

I got to thinking about all the stuff I've heard while in my most sensitive states and thought I'd share it to help us all shoot it down. So, get your squirt guns out, and douse the presumptions with me!

Ok.. I'll start with things in pregnancy...

1: A woman's size doesn't necessarily mean a whole lot.
As in, just because someone might think she "looks" big, it doesn't mean she's going to have a big baby.. and the same if she "looks" small. I was told with Renna that I looked bigger than I had with Lily (and with Lily, when I was only 7 months, I had people saying how huge I was and thinking I was due right then...)
I tried to explain the whole size thing to a single friend of mine. He wondered why he couldn't say, "You're looking bigger," to a pregnant woman.
And, really when we logically think about it, we do want to look bigger and more pregnant. We certainly want people to know that we are pregnant and not fat, but we don't want people to say that we look bigger.
As I was trying to help him know what to say, I really couldn't come up with anything good, and ended up just telling him not to say anything about size and to just say something about how nice the pregnant woman looks in general -- which is what he meant to say in the first place. ;)

2: I heard somewhere that a woman could control her morning sickness with just her attitude... Ha! I bet there are a lot of women that wish morning sickness was controlled so easily!
How awful is it to have someone tell that to you?
Now, there was that one guy that cured himself of cancer when he only had two months to live because he watched funny movies and laughed all those two months. And, I know for myself anyway, that I did feel slightly better (in a way) when I was in a better mood, but if someone says that to you, it's like it's your own fault for feeling sick.
In reality, your body is doing an amazing thing and the sickness is sort of like the body's reaction to going through such a momentous change as it makes another human being! Morning sickness cannot be controlled by attitude. And even though there was that one case with cancer, you wouldn't go to someone with cancer and tell them that they just needed to be happy and it would go away. (Who could be happy under pressure anyway?)
I always figure it's better to be joyful in everything and sometimes it's actually helpful physically, but it would be really rude to imply to someone that that's all they needed to do to feel well. That's really the problem with saying "Relax" to someone who's panicking. Why not say say something relaxing, instead of demanding peace?

About postpartum...

3: Someone else told me that she was told when she was pregnant for the first time. They said she was waddling before she'd even gotten very big. Her other pregnant friends said she was doing that just to get sympathy and that she could stop waddling if she wanted to. What another another awfully rude thing to say to a pregnant woman... and the thing is she COULDN'T control it, but they never believed her!
Most likely her hips and joints were getting more lubricated as that's what is supposed to happen when you are pregnant. Before I knew I was pregnant with Renna, I actually was suspicious because I kept noticing that I was walking like I was pregnant and had to try not to! I wish people wouldn't expect us to be "normal" when our bodies are normal in a different way. We already feel odd and unsettled as our bodies do so much work. It would be nice for people to encourage us in that... and maybe they try to, but say it in some poor way and offend us.

4: There is a lot that I heard after having a baby -- mainly with Lily. She was my first and everyone had advice for me.
That made our life really hard because it made me loose confidence in knowing what she needed. Especially that "Is she sleeping through the night?" question. Even though I did want Lily to sleep better, I liked holding her and it just stressed our lives out to transition her when she wasn't ready. Now I know that she just needed security because she gets afraid. Anyway, there were other like that.

5: The most recent thing (which is why I got to thinking about writing all this) was when someone told me to be careful how much I ate so that I wouldn't overeat.
I told her (an older lady) that when you nurse you have to have something like 500 more calories. And if I didn't eat enough, then Renna (really does) get antsy and wants more food. She kept saying, "How do you know you need that much?" and "Are you sure...?" .. yeah.. it was making me feel really fat.
In her day, I think the doctors put pregnant woman on diets. Now of course, they know not to. They also didn't usually breastfeed like now. Anyway, it was kind of depressing. I guess I do know that I eat too much sometimes, but on the other hand I'm afraid to "try" to eat less. I just kind of go with the flow--in a manner of speaking--and feed Renna when she wants. She nurses a lot less than Lily did too, so... I don't know.. maybe I don't need to eat as much as I think. Of course, I also eat really fast (in order to get it over so that I can take care of the kids) and end up eating more than I need because it takes a minute to feel full.

So, there are all the annoying things I've heard in my sensitive states. Why do people say stuff like that?


Rebekah said...

Yeah, I agree. That last one was something that I really take issue with...the whole idea of limiting what you're eating while breastfeeding or pregnant. Now, I know that there is such a thing as overeating, but I think it's almost ALWAYS the case that someone who "overeats" is just eating too much of the bad stuff. And when you're pregnant or nursing, I think it's extremely unlikely that it's even possible to overeat. I mean, if you're having three bowls of ice cream at one sitting, that's one thing. But what's wrong with having two or three plates of real food?
I always feel like I eat a lot when I'm pregnant, because although I can't eat much at one sitting, I have to eat every hour or two. And when I'm nursing it's so nice to be able to eat a full meal all at once that I enjoy eating a lot. :-)

Youssef Sleiman said...

Yeah, it's probably a bigger deal if someone doesn't eat enough because then their milk can go dry or if they are pregnant their baby won't get enough food. I know I do overeat sometimes, but it's usually because I'm eating so fast that I don't know that I'm already full. Eating good stuff till you are full is a good thing. :)

Youssef Sleiman said...

Sorry... that was actually Lynne' and not Youssef.. I didn't realize he was signed on...