Sunday, February 11, 2007

Positive Baby

Someone i know recently told a group of us that she was expecting her first baby. Here are some of the responses from the group:

"Wow, that's the end of your life as you know it!" (Ha ha)
"Better catch up on your sleep now." (Ha ha)
"Congratulations. Was this a surprise?" (asked in all seriousness)
"Oh, and your life was so peaceful!" (Ha ha)
"God, i hope for your sake it's not twins." (Ha ha)
"Don't you know what causes that?" (Ha ha)

I know that folks are just trying to be funny, but how about a little positive reaction? One of the bloggers that i read has just announced he's pregnant. Well, his wife is, but other than the nausea and the vomiting and the stretch marks and the weight gain and the tearing of flesh it's just the same, Right?

I would like to suggest some alternative remarks to those above when informed about a pregnancy:

"Congratulations. You are going to have so much fun!"
"How exciting."
"I'm so happy for you."
"That is wonderful news."

I'm not saying that having children isn't difficult, at times. But look how great it is too. I remember when Em was about four months old, i wanted to have three more because she was so much fun and so cute. Things didn't work out that way, for various reasons, but i was serious at the time.

So Congratulations, you are going to have so much fun with your baby.


Tracy Helgeson said...

You are so right Meno, to suggest more positive reactions to someone who is pregnant. When I was expecting my first I had several friends that persisted in telling me their worst birth and baby stories. It was so annoying to me that I still make sure to always say how much I enjoyed having my babies, the birth, the pregnancy, everything. None of it was ever as bad as those "friends" said it would be anyway:)

Gordo said...

People can be suck dicks about pregnancy and children. We learned that with our first and it only got worse with the second. There's six years between the boys, so that's one more thing for idiots to ask inappropriate questions about.

Don't get me started on the weirdos who suddenly wanted to touch my wife while she was pregnant. Yeesh.

Lynn said...

For what it's worth, I think that people say things that are less than supportive when someone announces that they are pregnant (or engaged) because maybe, just maybe, the announcement brings back such strong emotions within themselves, that they "make light" of the situation (with sometimes insensitive remarks) in order to avoid dealing with their own feelings.

Anonymous said...

Right on! Antonia at Whoopee is a great example of how much fun having a new baby around can be. Félicitations Egan!

SUEB0B said...

I came upon my sweet young (20ish) roommate sitting in the pregnancy section of Barnes and Noble. She had just discovered she was pregnant. It was unplanned and she hadn't told anyone except her boyfriend.

She stammered kind of an apology for the fact that she was going to disrupt my life by moving out and said "I don't know why this happened."

Something snapped in me. "You love babies and I think you are going to be such a great mom. I know you're scared but your family loves you so much and I know once they get over a little shock, they will all be so excited and you're going to have the most beloved baby ever."

I'm not usually a cheerleading sort, but this just poured out of me. The best part was that I was absolutely right.

meno said...

tracy, don't even get me started on how every woman who has ever had a baby had to tell me exactly how much weight she gained. I had one friend who didn't and i actually called her up and thanked her after the event.

gordo, "when are you going to have another one?" "You can't have just one." Yeah, i got that for a long time too. Idiots. I actally slapped one person's hands away from my belly when pregnant. I understand the pleasure of feeling a pregnant belly, but how about asking first!!!

lynn, that's an interesting thought, i had not considered that aspect. I would still like people to respond positively to that wonderful news though.

caro, Exactly! Antonia and Ian are the best. They are my source for silly baby tricks.

susbob, rah rah! Great pom poms by the way. That's a great story. I think this, along with you buying $5 of gas for that young man the other day, makes you one of my favorite people.

Anonymous said...

My usual response is, "Congratulations, I wish you the best."

Being childless by choice, I'm careful and genuine in congratulating prospective parents. I remind myself this is about someone else's happiness, not my own, and I should be putting their feelings first. Besides, I do wish them well. After the birth, I have been guilty of saying, "Remember, if having a child doesn't completely change your life, you're not doing it right."

sari said...

I try to not offer advice or stories, period. My standard answer is CONGRATULATIONS! I love babies and love when people are having babies. Even people I don't know.

And congrats on the new baby. I went over to your link for "you" to leave a comment but there were 69 comments already, so I figured it would be better seen here.

urban-urchin said...

I so hear you on this one. I also loved how people told me all their labor war stories and touched my belly when I was all knocked up. I wanted to poke them in their nether regions when they did that.

I agree the correct and most welcome response to this amazing news is CONGRATULATIONS! They'll figure out all the other crap in due time.

Liv said...

Meno, I appreciate you just taking a second to bring a fresh breath of kindness in. I'll be the first to say that parenting brings on all sorts of stuff that I never expected, but at the end of the day, the picture is beautiful in its wonderfully imperfect way.

egan said...

Meno, thanks for the shout out. I really like that you posted about this. So much stuff is going on I tell you. It's tough to keep my head on straight as the days and weekends are flying by.

Thankfully, largely most everyone that knows my wife is expecting has been positive. I do think there are those that refrain from saying anything to avoid the issue. We're looking forward to becoming parents. Today we borrowed a bunch of baby stuff from a co-worker of my wife's and last week we heard the heartbeat for the first time. It's all becoming very real. Thank you so much for posting a positive spin on this life changing event.

Mother of Invention said...

You're right ..people should be much more gracious than that. I couldn't have kids due to complications of diabetes, but I would have been so excited to have them and I am always excited for others.

luckyzmom said...

I was surprised to hear about the negative comments that you said was the norm. I think that if someone is telling me they (or their wife) are pregnant they must be happy about it or they wouldn't say anything.

Anonymous said...

I remember getting JUST those same kinds of comments.

My husband and I were together for about four years before we were married, and we decided to try to get pregnant right after our wedding (I took my last b/c pill on our honeymoon). The reaction of a fair number of people - if you can believe it - was to question whether I was pregnant before our wedding. "What's the rush?" and "Wow. You're sure you want to have a baby NOW? It's hard enogh being a newlywed" were comments I heard (along with the usual ones you mentioned). While no one counted on their fingers when I got pregnant with Beanie, they asked about the rush then, too - Punkin' was only a year old when I started cooking her sister.

I have had such a wonderful time with my children - from beginning to now, and I expect that to continue - that I am ALWAYS positive about new pregnancies, and it's genuine. I talk about how life-changing it is, sure, but that it's positive life-changing; you really don't know your capacity to love yet - just wait until they hand you that baby. The only thing I always say that MIGHT be construed somewhat negatively is to PAY ATTENTION. Seriously - one day their babies, the next they're not, and I'm constantly amazed at the speed with which my daughters grow and mature. I'm trying to be mindful of every moment, because it doesn't last.

There's far too much cynicism in the world. I try to do my part to campaign against it, and what better opportunity than a new baby?

Bob said...

It's weird. out come all of the labor horror stories about how long or how difficult it was, then out come all of the no-sleep, constantly worn out, you won't have a life stories of caring for new-borns.

I don't get it either. I can't imagine (even having been a close personal witness to it) what a woman goes through in labor. I can, however, testify about caring for new-borns as we have two grown children. I would NOT inflict these stories on an expectant mother or father. They will come into this info in a rather personal way soon enough. Especially someone who has newly learned they are expecting. This is the time for positive messages of support.

Thanks for the reminder.

karmic said...

Well said.. how about just a simple congratulations and a heartfelt hug?

Joan said...

I absolutely agree with you. I've never had children but I can't imagine anyone being anything but supportive when such happy news is announced. What happened to the "I'm so happy for you" sentiment...has it all but disappeared?

Lynnea said...

I love babies. I love congratulating people about having babies. And for some odd reason, I just always have to ask if they plan to find out the sex of the baby or be surprised. I love where this conversation goes. Either direction is fun for the parent to be.

meno said...

patches, and that's a great response. And childless by choice is a great decision too. Rah!

sari, i also try not to offer advice or tell labor stories. All i say is, "one way or the other that baby is coming out, and you'll be fine." And that is true in the vast majority of cases.

u-u, oh, how i wish you had!

liv, exactly. It's a wonderful experience. i wouldn't trade it for anything.

egan, i remember that time. Hearing the heartbeat is so exciting. It seems to make it real in a whole new way.

MOI, I guess the negative people were just trying to "out-funny" each other. But it really wasn't funny. Good for you for being excited for people.

luckyzmom, i don't know if its the norm or not, but that day it was. And i'll bet we've all heard people say similar things to expectant parents.

mrs.chili, it's like people who are already parents want you to know that they know something you don't know, which OF COURSE they do. We waited 9 years after marriage to have EM, so we heard all the "when are you going to have children" questions, along with hushed inquiries if something was wrong. You can't win either way.

bob, and all kids are different. Em started sleeping through the night at less than 6 weeks. But no one ever tells you that kind of story.

sanjay, sounds like the perfect response.

joan, i don't think it's disappeared, just maybe buried a little. Time to dig it back up.

maggie, that's a fun way to start a conversation. I love babies too. They smell good.

thailandchani said...

So many people get their entire concept of pregnancy from sitcoms and TV shows that emphasize the negative. There are many women I've known over the years who thoroughly enjoyed their pregnancies and were very happy with their babies.

It all depends on how someone chooses to view the experience.




Dick said...

Having children does change your life style in a big way but it is so worth the time. As you grow older you really appreciate more and more having those kids and grand kids. And they are only with you for twenty years or so before they strike out on their own. Most couples are young enough at that time to still have many years of time together.

Tink said...

Ugh. It's responses like those that make me scared to have kids. Seriously. Before I started blogging I saw having kids as a difficult but well worth it, wonderful, life-changing experience. Then I started reading the horror stories and the disclaimers...

Special K ~Toni said...

I agree! People need to be positive than negative! A baby is a blessing!

DoctorMama said...

There are two appropriate times to share war stories about birth and babies:
1. when a person who does not have children asks what it's REALLY like for you and
2. when a person with a newborn thinks they're going crazy for finding it so fucking hard, and need to hear that you found it that hard too, but made it through just fine.
When someone is actually pregnant, though? "That's so great!"

meno said...

chani, I didn't much enjoy pregnancy, but damn i love my baby.

dick, yes, it sure does change your life. I just think that most intelligent people realize that already.

tink, you've undoubtedly heard this before, but the love you have for your child is unlike anything else. Do it if you want. It's beautiful, and difficult.

toni, i have been guilty in the past of this kind of oh-so-cool response, but watching the face of the woman who was telling us about her baby while people said stupid things was enlightening.

drmama, Rules to live by. I think i'll embroider a sampler with that on it.

sari said...

Meno, I had to laugh last night. I was at my son's baseball league and I met a woman pregnant with twins.

When she told me I had the best time saying "how EXCITING! Congratulations!!!!"

I thought of you. :-)

Antonia Cornwell said...

I learned so many things during pregnancy, by which I mean what and what not to say to a pregnant woman.

Why do people say such negative things to pregnant women, though? If a woman said "I have cancer" her friends wouldn't be saying "Well, that's the end of your life as you know it!" Unless they really were total bastards. In which case she could use new friends.

Sorry I haven't commented for ages. I have been an avid reader and an apathetic commenter on all my favourite blogs for too long.

meno said...

sari, that is exciting! It's fun how we think of people we've never seen. :)

antonia, don't worry about it, you have your own little life changing event to keep you busy. I miss you, but i understand. Commenting can be hard work. I'm thinking of someone announcing she has cancer and someone else responding "Don't you know what causes that?"

Cagey (Kelli Oliver George) said...

I agree - I HATED all the stupid negative comments about having babies. Damn, it IS hard, but it's also fun, exciting and inspiring. How about focuing on the positive? Sheesh.

Feral Mom said...

I got a lot of "oh, poor you" when people found out I was pregnant with twins. Now I make it to share the truth with fellow twin parents to be--the first six months are rough, but twins are a joy. Mr. Feral and I are often awed by the beauty and intensity of their bond.

Great post!

Bobealia... said...

My husband always has the same comments about studying to be a doctor. "Spend time with your wife now, while you can" and other variations of that. He wishes someone would just say, "Wow, cool" or something.