Dear very pregnant friend,
Well, we’ve been through some stuff.
We’ve been through Econ exams, mammoth essays, bullshit group projects, beginnings of new loves (ours and others), hilarious misadventures as co-op students and less hilarious misadventures as young professionals. You hosted my engagement party, my bridal shower, my bachelorette party and my baby shower. And I [co-] hosted [some of] those for you.
We were in each other’s weddings.
I crashed your honeymoon in Rome. Sorry not sorry.
You and your husband brought me and mine to a beach the day I miscarried and gave us burgers and beer and sat with us while we stared at the water and cried.
And then you two visited us the day our baby was born. You said “Happy Birthday!” to my son on his date of birth and my heart exploded.
But enough about me! #thingsirarelysay
You are on the cusp of meeting your baby! Congratulations!
In my experience, this means you are hearing a lot of bullsh*t from people around you. Maybe, like most people on Planet Earth, you are less sensitive to this stuff than I was.
But in case it’s starting to get to you, here’s an alternative spin on the clichéd crap people are likely tossing your way.
After all, our culture treats very pregnant ladies as a receptacle for everyone’s garbage advice, so I might as well add mine to the pile.
BS line #1: “You’re about to become a mother!”
Often delivered by: People behind you in line at Wal-Mart
What they probably want to express: “I’m excited for you.”
Why I think it’s a dick line: My take on this is that a person becomes a parent as soon as they commit to a vision of caring for a specific child. You’re a mother when you pee on that stick and are stoked at the result, or when you sign that adoption paper, or build a life with a partner who has little ones in tow. There’s more than one way to skin the cat of motherhood. And you’ve already started.
What I want to say to you instead: You’ve been doing this mom gig for about 9 months. How’s it going? Is there anything about the next phase that you are anxious about or want to chat about? Can I get you anything? Cake?
BS line #2: “You’re about to know a love like no other!”
Often delivered by: Your dental hygienist
What they probably want to express: “I have children whom I love indescribably and I wish the same for you.”
Why I think it’s a dick line: How the hell do we know what kinds of love you’ve felt? That seems arrogant, even for me. Maybe you’ve loved like that already? Maybe you love your spouse like that? Maybe I’m supposed to love mine like that?
Also, postpartum hormones f*ck with your soul, even in the best cases. Mine were on the normal end (maybe midwives tell everyone they are normal?) and I remember bawling my eyes out two days after giving birth because I loved my baby so much that it “felt sickening.” And some new mamas experience postpartum depression. Some people aren’t crushed by love; they are just crushed. Let’s not add crazy expectations of how you’ll feel to an already crazy and out of control time, mmkay?
What I want to say to you instead: I wish you all the best as you meet your baby. I hope the good feelings outweigh the bad (for the most part and for most of the time). And if they don’t, that’s okay, too. I’ll be there to help you navigate whatever you feel, if you want my help. Here, have some cake.
BS line#3: “Sleep now while you can!”
Often delivered by: Men. Just lots of men.
What they probably mean to express: “New babies are a lot of work and I survived that stage and I’m feeling like a smug jerk.” [I truly believe there is no good intention behind this line]
Why I think it’s a dick line: Don’t these jackasses know how sleep works? You’re not a squirrel, storing up acorns for the winter. Do squirrels eat acorns? I’m not a veterinarian. I say, sleep now if you feel like sleeping and if it’s comfortable. If you want to stay up til 2am most nights with your spouse playing Mario Kart (who would do this? Def not me…), do it.
What I want to say to you instead: I hope you are comfortable and that you are doing what you want to do. Would you like some more cake?
So, sweet friend, my wish for you as you turn this corner of life is that you can, if you want to, drown out the noise from well-meaning randos. My wish for you is that you are feeling more calm than anxious more often that not, and are comfortable enough to sleep if you want to sleep. My wish for you is that your delivery is, at least in some ways, easier than those Econ exams. And all the cake in the world, now and for always.
Because this is one lucky baby you’re about to meet and you knowing that is all that matters.
But enough about you. My wish for me is that your baby is obnoxiously late and that I’m back from Spain before you go into labour.
Gtg cry into my manchego cheese and FaceTime you (again).
~Just another jerk throwing advice at you
p.s. If you ever need anything, ever, at all, please ask someone who has a clue and then tell me what they say so I can learn, too.