Ever since I announced my pregnancy, I’ve noticed the same comments come up over and over again. Some of them good-natured and fun and others that seem super weird. Pregnancy and children are a thing that people get really opinionated about really fast so it’s been interesting, fun, weird, and sometimes weirdly offensive.
“WHAT ARE YOU HAVING?”
Is it a boy or a girl is the most common question I get from everyone who finds out I’m pregnant. I don’t think it’s weird to ask someone what they’re having. But my husband and I decided not to tell people for reasons I’ll detail in another post and people get SO ANNOYED at us for not disclosing the baby’s sex. It’s as if knowing whether the baby has a penis or a vagina is the most important bit of information they could ever possibly know in their entire lives and we’re denying them universe unlocking intel. I personally think people are obsessed with the baby’s sex for two reasons: 1) It helps the baby seem more real when people can put a name and face to the child. And that makes sense. 2) Because it helps people envision what they think your kid will be like so they can plan out the entire trajectory of their life in various ways and tell you exactly how your kid will be based on their experience with whichever sex. “A little boy! I hope you’re ready for mud!” “A girl! Get her to the nunnery!” For my husband and I, gender is kind of dumb and doesn’t matter all that much in the grand scheme of things because it’s 2018. Sure, it mattered in 1925. But nowadays it’s not like having a boy means I’ll have an extra hand to help on the family farm, or having a daughter means someone will finally help me churn butter and sew socks. Boys and girls do all of the same stuff now. Having a boy doesn’t mean I’ll have a little football player who is rowdy and having a girl doesn’t mean I’ll have a pretty, pretty princess. A son could easily be a ballet dancer and a daughter could be a car mechanic. We have no idea what our kiddo will be into. Let’s let them decide.
“You’re Going to Love Your Baby SO MUCH! You have NO IDEA! Seriously, YOU HAVE NO IDEA”
I honestly don’t know why this drives me crazy. In fact, I’m totally guilty of this myself when it comes to pets. I’ve told people before, “OMG! Your first puppy! You’re going to love them so much!” But still, for some reason, it’s annoying when people say it to me. Double standards? MAYBE! I’ve sat around and analyzed it, like why do I care if people tell me how much I’ll love my kid and the best I can come up with is a mixture of random things. Like, it seems slightly condescending in a “you’ve not had a child yet so you’ve never experienced real love until now,” and it also seems weirdly obvious to me that I’ll love my kid and also I dislike people telling me how I’ll feel about anything, ever. In my mind, I’ll obviously love my baby because, well, biology, for one. Human babies are kind of the worst in terms of babies. They can’t feed themselves, walk, or do anything remarkable. A loving bond is crucial for our species to keep on existing, otherwise people would just be like, “I haven’t slept in 1 month, this kid can’t even help me gather food, I’m outta here.” And some people don’t bond immediately and there’s nothing wrong with them so repeating how much someone will love their baby only makes them panic and feel like a failure if they don’t bond immediately and like you did. Also? It’s my baby, so duh I’m going to love it. But also stop telling me how I’m going to feel. Actually, the reason this probably bothers me is that I’m scared and I feel very out of control so it’s hard to hear people constantly tell me how I’ll be, or feel, or act, or change. I’m aware that things will change but I don’t like being told exactly how. I’m also aware that I sound like an indignant 14-year-old.
“Everything is Going to be SO HARD. So. Goddamn. Hard.”
No shit? I love advice and am super open to it (please give me ALL THE ADVICE because I’m an idiot and know nothing), but just going, “OMG THIS IS GOING TO BE HARD,” does nothing but GIVE ME ANXIETY and I don’t even know how to respond. I’m like, “uh-huh?” What do you say to that? Seriously. Also, are there people who have children without realizing it’s going to be hard? Is that a thing?
“If You Have A Boy/Girl Then…”
So far, multiple people have said something along the lines of, “Well, if you’re having a boy just keep it away from my daughter!” And they laugh super hard like it’s the funniest and cutest thing they’ve ever said. My husband likes to respond with, “How do you know our son would even be straight?”
The whole thing makes my blood boil. Are we still doing this old predator and prey thing in 2018? It’s problematic to me for so many reasons. How about instead of accusing my in-utero, theoretical boy of being a sex pervert and predator, we focus on teaching our kids to be better humans? Let’s just teach kids to be in charge of their bodies and their sexuality, teach them about consent, and respect for all humans male, female, or intersex. We aren’t going to raise great people if we begin their lives with, “you’re a predator and you’re prey, and that’s that.” If I have a girl I want her to (gasp) embrace her sexuality and if I have a boy I want him to do the same. I want both of them to feel empowered by their voices and their bodies while understanding the implications of how they treat other humans emotionally and physically. I fail to see the positives of telling little kids, “now Bob, you’re a dirty pervert sex predator,” and “now Molly, you’re a helpless sheep and sex is dirty, dirty, dirty.” In my opinion, we’re normalizing dangerous roles. I’d rather kick off their life with, “Now Molly, you’re a badass and your body is yours. Respect yourself and make other people respect you. Be safe and be gentle with yourself physically and emotionally. And be respectful of others in the same way.” And I’d tell little Bob the same goddamn thing.
“You Better Get a Vacation in While You Can”
Any lifestyle predictors are annoying because there are a lot of different kinds of parents and not everyone is the same and not everyone has the same experience. I have friends who have kids and they travel all over the world together all year. How? They make travel a priority and they work remotely. I have friends who go on vacation every year, sometimes twice per year, with or without their kids. I have friends who haven’t been on a vacation since the day their child was born and they’re like, “fun, what’s that?” Your job, your child’s personality and health, your specific circumstances, and priorities influence what your life with a child will be like. It’s not like once you squeeze a baby out of your hoo-haw you’re physically unable to board a plane or step foot in Hawaii. Everyone is different, every family is different, and it’s annoying when people put parents into these little boxes based on what they’ve personally experienced or seen.
“Oh, You’re on a Waitlist for Daycare? But Don’t You Work From Home A Lot?” (insert judgey face)
I have a history of both anxiety and depression. So when I got pregnant I immediately started thinking of ways to mitigate stress and reduce my risk of developing either after the baby is born. One thing that makes me super depressed is being alone too much. I also don’t do well when I’m overwhelmed or when I feel trapped. An easy solution for this was for us to get on a waitlist for a daycare in our area. Baby will go for 3 hours per day, three days per week, so that I can do absolutely nothing besides whatever I want. Brunch with friends, writing, running around, playing with my dog. I realize that people get super judgey about this but in my experience, it’s best if I put the oxygen mask on myself before strapping one to the baby. Yes, I plan on being the best mom I can possibly be. But being a 24/7 stay at home mom wouldn’t work for my personality. I’d go completely bonkers and then baby would be like, “why is mom standing in the road without pants doing the running man?” Nobody wants to see that.
“Your Poor Husband!”
People (mostly dudes) think it’s hilarious to take pity on my husband for having to “put up with,” a pregnant wife. My response is to stab them immediately. Yes, it must be very difficult for my husband to observe me peeing all day, vomit nonstop, fall over from lack of balance, walk around the house all night from insomnia, and sip green smoothies while he sips Chianti. And it will be so hard for him when I have to have my guts sliced open or push this kid out of my lovely vagina. How will he ever make it? My dad recently said, “Well it’s good you couldn’t go on vacation to Italy with him so he can just enjoy himself and not have to worry about you.” My dad, who I love, now lives on the moon, where I sent him. To be fair, I am aware that my husband is grappling with stress and change and the idea of becoming a father. His own personal stresses are totally valid, however, he’s not suffering because he has to “put up,” with me while my body shapeshifts and literally turns into a fleshy incubator for OUR baby who turned my entire body into a cafeteria. Seriously, kiss my (slightly larger) ass.
“I Bet Your Husband is Hoping for a Boy!”
Guys especially say this a lot and my husband gets really offended by it, too. And honestly, no, my husband isn’t hoping for a boy. He’s happy with whatever he gets because, again, it doesn’t really matter. All my husband cares about is that our kid is healthy and loves soccer. We will have a huge problem if our child dislikes soccer. Better like soccer, baby.
“I Can’t Picture You As A Mom”
I actually understand why so many of my close friends said this to me when they found out I was “with child.” Anyone who knew me in my twenties would probably have a hard time picturing me as a mother and they also might be very worried for my offspring. But also, I think it’s partially because we as a society have a very, very narrow view of what motherhood looks like. Mothers are virginal and should be permanently standing in a wheat field with their hair blowing around them while they cradle their baby in their arms and say things like, “motherhood is the joy of all joys.” And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of this. I follow many of these moms on Instagram and I love them. I think they’re beautiful and lovely. However, that’s not the only way to be a mom. You can also still be a sarcastic asshole, like punk rock, brunch with your girlfriends on Sundays, and swear like a sailor. You can do all of these things and still be a wonderful mom who loves her children and will do anything for them. I’m not a “virginal in a wheat field,” kind of woman and if you’ve ever read anything I’ve ever written you probably know that already. I never will be. But I did think long and hard about becoming a mom and I am determined to do the very best job I possibly can. While listening to Bikini Kill.
Do you have kids? What drove you crazy when you were pregnant or going through adoption proceedings? Don’t have kids? What are your thoughts?