As I sit here and write this, I'm days away from laboring my first child and meeting my precious son! I'm filled with eager expectation in holding him in my arms and pure exhaustion from the hives, swollen feet, and heartburn. I've come to learn that pregnancy is a whole lot harder than I ever imagined, but also more joyful than anything I've experienced!
As an expecting mama nearing the end of this pregnancy journey, I finally understand some of the frustrations, wants, and thoughts of a pregnant lady. Before pregnancy, I had no idea what was on the mind of a woman carrying a human being!
There are some thoughts I'd like to share with you--in case you are like me pre pregnancy--to help you navigate conversations with an expecting mama. To help you avoid tapping into the nerves and emotional roller coaster of a pregnant woman.
1. We get lots of advice.
Few people get more advice than expecting mamas and new parents. We are bombarded with suggestions, input, and advice. While having all the facts is nice, being the recipient of feedback from dozens of people can be a bit overwhelming.
Perhaps wait until a parent asks for input before sharing it. I know I've sought advice many times and have appreciated the feedback. Instead of throwing your opinion out there into the world, wait for it to be sought. It will be received much more openly and likely used.
2. We know we look tired, swollen, etc.
I can't tell you how many times I was told I looked tired or more swollen than usual. Boy, was it wonderful to be reminded (said no expecting mama ever)! I can tell you that as a woman's body begins to change, she deeply feels it. The extra weight, the sleepless nights, the clothes that don't fit, etc. Please don't remind a pregnant lady of what they already know. The truth is, many take those changes in their body seriously and at times feel something on the spectrum of not beautiful.
I remember one day looking at a picture taken of me and literally not recognizing my face it had changed so much. Or feeling like a whale by the end of the pregnancy. And so on...really. Please just be mindful of comments you make to a pregnant woman in regards to her appearance. Be like a guy I know named Tom, who every Sunday told me I looked fantastic. Sure did sound nice (even if I didn't feel it)!
3. We get the same questions all the time.
When are you due? Do you know the gender? What's its name? Aren't you due any minute now? How do you feel?
Early on the questions were exciting as I anticipated the addition to our family! But as I got closer to the end of pregnancy and feeling over it--just wanting to have a baby already--the questions were daunting. Something to keep in mind as you interact with ladies in their third trimester ;)
4. Instead of reminding us of our current stresses, encourage us of future beauty.
Much of the above highlights a current stress or negative feeling, which was discouraging at times. Instead of reminding an expecting mama of her current stressors, encourage her of what's to come! I had one dear friend text me this a few days before my labor,
"Moms...bodies are incredible. We were made to give birth. So go into it [labor] empowered! You were MADE to be Roman's mama. And it may not be a magical experience, but it's YOUR experience and you get baby Roman out of it."
When I got this text, I was so encouraged. In fact, there were parts of that encouragement that I would say in my head during painful contractions in labor to get me through the pain. Never underestimate the power of a good boost of encouragement!
5. We're trying and appreciate grace.
For some, pregnancy will be harder than imagined; I know it was for me. Navigating the new challenges of an emotional roller coaster, changes in our body, sleep deprivation, possible complications, and more can cause be overwhelming. Not to mention, pregnancy brain is a real thing! For the pregnant lady, grace goes a long way!
6. We do appreciate your help.
At the end of the day, regardless if there are a few triggers that might send us to the bottom of a Ben & Jerry's carton, your help is appreciated! Even for the doers, which I am.
7. We love celebrating with you!
Beyond anything else, an expecting mama always loves celebrating her child with the people in her life! Know that you are valued and appreciated by your pregnant friends and family members.