We survive and eventually overcome the awkwardness associated with baby bumps and new parent moments. Moms gradually learn to ignore the annoyance and frustration of total strangers making ridiculous observations about their size. That unwanted commentary often starts as soon as expectant parents share their happy news and never ends… I cried and got mad a lot during my first pregnancy when I was exhausted and hormonal, but got over it during my second pregnancy. The wild commentary is still annoying, but it’s an opportunity to laugh with loved ones – especially girl friends.
Unfortunately, I was young and dumb and also made some Moms cry. Over ten years ago, I didn’t understand why a girl at my gym said she wasn’t pregnant when I asked her due date. She was probably about my age now, 34. Other than the fact that I hope she’s long over my ignorance, I wish I could apologize and tell her how beautiful she is.
It never occurred to me she may have lost her baby, just had a baby, gained weight or didn’t want to share the news, yet. That encounter has since come full circle several times. Two weeks ago – a co-worker I hadn’t seen in years asked how far along I was in my pregnancy. Hmmh, I’m not pregnant – just still carry some baby weight… I laughed and said our new baby is four-months old.
There have been lots of awkward silences such as when different people asked toward the beginning of both pregnancies how many kids I was expecting (I was never pregnant with more than one child at a time). Yes, I was shocked and offended. At the same time, I was secretly excited. I wanted the whole world to know we were having our first baby. And, apparently it was clear. Total strangers everywhere shared their stories, observations and unsolicited advice – both rude and very kind.
Even though I was pregnant, I continued to enjoy life as usual ranging from wild dancing to the occasional glass of wine. Obviously everyone is different, but my doctor said that was all perfectly fine for me – although every pregnancy and parent is unique. Very smart adults, also parents, said dancing would force me into premature labor or maybe even hurt the baby. That never happened.
I was nervous about being myself at first since I was pregnant and then as a new parent. I gradually decided to fake it until I was more confident to own it. I now try to tune out what others say. And, I get lots more unsolicited parenting tips that would keep me up at night if I took it all seriously.
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