Pregnancy introduces you to lots of new people – new friends, new medical providers, and of course a brand new family member. Sometimes you meet new characters in the people you’ve known for years. Most of these people are supportive and kind. Some are annoying, but some become all-out nemeses. Below is a list of the most frustrating, critical, and otherwise antagonizing folks you’re likely to encounter while gestating, along with suggestions for how to handle them.
1. Ms. All About-Me:
All-About-Me swoops in early in your pregnancy and seems so excited for you. Soon you realize All-About-Me’s not excited for you – she’s excited for herself. She announces your pregnancy on Facebook (on her Facebook page); she tells all her friends, relatives, coworkers, etc. the big news and all before the end of your first trimester. She insists on throwing you a baby shower; she wants to help you decorate because she already has a theme picked out for the nursery. She even presents you with a list of baby name suggestions. You have so much on your plate, after all. The problem is that it’s tempting to allow All-About-Me to take over, especially if you are: 1) feeling ambivalent about the pregnancy; 2) feeling too awful from morning sickness to get very excited yourself; 3) too busy with other children, work, etc. to plan for the new arrival; or 4) not financially able to do all the things All-About-Me promises to do for you and the baby.
How to Deal: In the immortal words of Barney Fife:
… nip it. Nip it in the bud. Thank All-About-Me for those things you accept then clearly and directly state which are deal-breakers.
2. The Worry Wart:
Poor well-intentioned Worry Wart just wants to share in your miracle, but doesn’t know anything about pregnancy and says all the wrong things. For example, Ms. Wart may tell you how she talked to her friend about your pregnancy and that friend “who is a nurse, by the way (as though that immediately guarantees expert credibility status), wants to make sure you are eating enough foods with folic acid and are taking your vitamins.” Wart then launches into several cautionary tales about not consuming enough folic acid to further emphasize the point. This is serious, Preggers! You don’t want to have a baby with an extra arm in the middle of its forehead, do you? Since you’ve been dutifully taking prenatals since before you got pregnant and are forcing yourself to eat 3 servings of green veggies every day despite crippling nausea, these helpful hints are seriously annoying. When Worry Wart reminds you (for the 5th time) not to miss your OB appointments, you may be tempted to fire back: “Nah we’re skipping the whole prenatal care thing. We’re bettin’ on a genetic crap shoot and a diet of Cheetos and Mountain Dew!”
How to Deal: Redirect Worry Wart’s nervous energy toward a specific project. Ask for help finding the safest travel systems or best deals on diapers etc.
3. The Constant Caller:
The Constant Caller tends to arrive near the end of your pregnancy. She starts calling and texting you with increasing frequency in those latter weeks “just to check in.” My own Caller Nemesis began reaching out to me around 32 weeks, asking how I was feeling, if I needed anything, etc. It was all very flattering. Then, Caller dropped by to see me around 34 weeks. Utterly appalled by the size of my belly, Caller immediately (and repeatedly) declared that I was “huge” and proclaimed that I would most certainly not carry to term because I was “so big.” I was incredibly uncomfortable and already very self-conscious about weight I’d gained, and I secretly hoped she was right, that I’d deliver early and put an end to my suffering. Thankfully, my baby had other ideas. By week 38, Caller was calling and texting several times a week, and I was literally praying to have the baby. By the time my due date arrived (with no baby and no signs of impending labor) I was going insane. Caller’s incessant texts asking if I had “anything exciting to report” only served to remind me that I was probably going to be pregnant for the rest of my life. The only thing I had to report was another 5 pounds gained so I chose to cut off all communication with her in order to avoid a profane texting outburst.
How to Deal: Constant Caller wants to be in the loop. Reassure her she’ll be among the first to know.
A trick I learned from BTDT moms is to tell people an estimated due date 2-3 weeks after your actual EDD.
4. The Horror Story Queen:
The Horror Story Queen has the scariest birth stories around (and it seems to grow more elaborate each time she tells it). Horror Queen will seek you out, poor pregnant Mama, because you have to hear… so you’re prepared, just in case. “I was in labor for 72 hours. I passed out 6 times. The epidural didn’t take, and I had a third degree vaginal tear. Blah, blah, blah. Oh, I’ve already told you that one? Well, my sister’s, daughter’s, best friend’s delivery is the grossest, most terrifying story ever! You need to hear it too.”
Here’s one I actually heard while pregnant: “Oh you’re not delivering at [unnamed] hospital! You know what they say about that place don’t you? That’s the hospital where people go to die. My niece delivered there, and her baby died…I’m just saying.” To which I responded “And I’m just saying, duck!” as I hurled 5 lb. bottles of prenatal vitamins at her head!
How to Deal: Run away! Okay, you can’t run, but waddle away as fast as you can!
Avoid the Horror Queen at all costs.
5. The Creepy Stranger:
As a Preggo, you can never be sure when you’ll encounter Creepy Strangers. They’ll appear as if out of nowhere, and usually when you least expect it. Creepys have finely honed covert skills, skulking up silently with arms outstretched, ready to touch your growing belly, often without asking. The Creepy Stranger also prides herself on being able to predict the gender of your unborn child just by assessing the shape of your belly, how you’re carrying, the condition of your skin, the position of the moon and so on. Creepy will ask you all sorts of personal questions like the number of children you’ve had, your age, your plans for pain management during delivery, if you’re married and etc. If you happen to be very pregnant when you encounter Creepy, expect to be informed as to how easily you could induce labor by simply taking a few laps around your house (this is especially annoying if you’re already desperately marching your pregnant behind around your neighborhood like a band in a parade everyday without so much as a single real contraction or cm dilated); how you should be having sex every night to induce labor (not terribly appealing since that’s how you got yourself into this mess to begin with); and (in vivid detail) the results Creepy had using castor oil to induce.
How to Deal: Honestly, it’s hard to completely avoid Creepy Strangers, so I encourage you to either take a mixed martial arts class before becoming pregnant so you know how to defend yourself, or consider purchasing several of these:
Thank you for not Touching Maternity Dark T-Shirt
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Take Home Mommy Wisdom: The truth is that none of these folks is really your enemy. They’re definitely annoying, especially when compounded by the ordinary hormonal swings and discomforts of pregnancy. It can be very difficult to graciously deal with a Creepy stranger touching your belly or the power plays of All-About-Me. When tempted to explode, take a deep breath and try reminding yourself that each of these folks is excited for you in his/her own misguided way. Enlist the help of your significant other in dealing with any particularly annoying family members. If you absolutely cannot maintain your cool when dealing with one of these folks, then limit contact as much as possible (texting is a useful means of maintaining communication without too much contact) until after you’ve had the baby. Also, try to remember that this is a blessed time (yes, you are blessed in spite of the heartburn, hemorrhoids and ankle-swelling you’re experiencing) and these characters just wanna share in your moment of joy.
Still, God, in His faithfulness, will deliver (women) through childbearing as long as they remain in faith and love and holiness with self-restraint.
~I Timothy 2:15 (The Voice)
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Karen Dietrich is a new full-time mom and a long-time beauty junkie. She spends her time loving her baby, laughing at her husband and wondering if she’ll ever again fit into her pre-pregnancy jeans. For more from Karen and her relentless quest for beauty and wisdom in everyday life, be sure to subscribe to her blog: Daily Beauty Wisdom.