When you’re pregnant, you get a ton of unsolicited remarks. It doesn’t matter if you’re pregnant with your fourth or pregnant with your first. People love making remarks, especially remarks that are not asked for. Let me repeat that, ESPECIALLY REMARKS THAT ARE NOT ASKED FOR.
I waited six months to announce my pregnancy. My immediate family knew, but I waited six months for a reason. I didn’t want unwanted advice or remarks. I was in the process of graduating college with my teaching degree, I was in the middle of EdTPA, I was in the middle of deciding whether to work or not, I was in the middle of recital season, and I was raising a six year old. I had a lot on my plate, and I didn’t want the unwanted advice to weigh me down. I didn’t want someone else telling me whether working or not was for or not for me. I didn’t want someone telling me not to stress out about EdTPA because they didn’t understand the high stakes it had. I didn’t want someone telling me that dancing shouldn’t be a priority at the time. Basically, I wanted to figure out where I needed to be on my own. Of course as soon as I announced, family and others started bothering me about working and being a new mom. *eyeroll* I decided to work, yes. Why is that an issue? Of course as soon as I announced I was working people started weighing in on breastfeeding. Again, can we talk about why this is an issue?
As a second time mamma, I want to figure out where I belong in this equation of balancing life and motherhood, and I will figure it out because that’s how life works.
I love advice that is given to me from a thoughtful and non-vague perspective. For instance, I spoke to a mamma about how I was going to try cloth diapers. She encouraged me so hard, but also told me the reality of how hard it can be and that it didn’t work out for her. Another example is when I speak to my mom about parenting two children. My mom is so wonderful in saying things like, “Yes, it can be overwhelming, but you learn how to balance it all because you’re their mamma.” Advice and remarks that come from a place of knowledge are wonderful. I know it takes a freaking village to raise your children, and I’m not one that thinks I know it all. However, this is my second time around, and the vauge and unwanted remarks aren’t cool. Nope. Not at all.
There are eight remarks I’ve gotten that have really irritated me as a second time mom. I know they might come from a place of love, but sometimes people should just think before they speak on people’s personal decisions or pregnancy journey. I’m a second time mom. I know not everything will go according to plan, but I also know that is ok and my baby will be just fine. Here are eight things I’ve heard MULTIPLE times throughout my second pregnancy that are making me bang my head against the wall.
1. “Things are going to be really different for you with two children.”
YES, SUSAN, I KNOW THINGS WILL BE DIFFERENT. I DIDN’T GET PREGNANT FOR LIFE TO STAY THE SAME. I get where this advice comes out of love. I GET IT. You’re warning me that my life will change. The thing is, Susan, I kind of know life is going to be different because I’ve already done this once. I know a child changes things. I know that life changes. I know the first months will be hard. I KNOW THAT THERE WILL BE CHANGES. Hell yes, I’m a little scared of the changes, and I sure as hell don’t need you telling me every time I mention being a mom of two that life is going to be crazy different. I know. Believe me. It took me six years to muster up the courage to have a second baby. I knew it would change things. I don’t really need you reminding me of how difficult juggling two children will be. Can’t you just offer some kind words instead? Maybe some non-vague advice about how mothers can handle having two kids? I don’t know, but if someone tells me it’s going to change things once more, I might change their face up a little bit.
2. “Wow, you’ve gotten bigger!”
Holy balls you guys. YES, I AM WITH CHILD. I WILL GROW. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO COMMENT ON MY SIZE EVERY TIME I SEE YOU. Come on you guys. What is it with you telling pregnant people how big they have gotten? We know. Oh, we know. We know that things are expanding and growing because that’s what is supposed to happen. Do we always feel beautiful when doing so? Well, no. We don’t need a comment from you every time we see you about how big our bump has gotten. I think we should say things like, “Wow, you’re looking great!” or “Great job growing a human!” Bringing up physical appearance is just not cool, you guys. Just talk about how the baby is healthy, not how mamma looks rounder.
3. “You’re going to breastfeed AND work?”
Yes. I plan to. Is that an issue? I know it won’t be a walk in the park, but like my dad says, “What’s worth it isn’t always easy.” It’s like breastfeeding is exclusive to stay at home moms only. Which is insane. We all have a choice to do what is best for our baby whether we stay at home or we work. Did I ever say that it’s going to be the easiest thing ever? No. Did I ever say that if I can’t breastfeed I’m going to hate myself? No. The key thing here is that this is my second baby. I know that as long as my baby is loved and fed with formula or breastmilk, that that is all we need to get through the first months of her life. So, if I decide to breastfeed or not, well, it’s none of your business.
4. “You’re going to try cloth diapers?”
Yes, I am. Let’s emphasize the word, try. YES, I am going to try them. I don’t know if I’ll love them or not, but I know I want to at least try. “You know they stink.” “You know it equates to the same cost as disposables.” Sigh. Look, Susan. I know these things. I don’t live under a rock and decide to do things on the whim. Of course I’ve done my research. Of course I know that they aren’t as simple as throwing away a crap diaper, but again to quote my dad, “What’s worth it is not always easy”. Yup. That’s right, Susan. I want to try cloth diapers because I am aware of the waste we have in our world, and if I can help that in any way, of course I want to try. Again, Susan, if you’re going to bitch about my choices, just let me remind you. I am a second time mom. I am not going to beat myself up if I hate cloth diapers and it makes my life a living hell to the point I decide to change to disposables. They key word is try. TRY. That’s what we do as mammas. We try things. We might hate our decisions, but it’s not like we’re stuck in a choice. We can change our choices to make our lives work better.
5. “But you’re going to be working.”
*Inhales deeply* Listen, Susan. I know the choice I made to be a working mother. I know there will be sacrifices. Hell, there would be sacrifices if I decided to stay at home, too. Just because I’m working doesn’t mean I can’t try my best to breastfeed or try cloth diapers or be anything short of the mother I would be if I was with my baby 24/7. What is it with you people and acting like being a working mom makes you less of a mother? It doesn’t. Why do people assume we are going to miss out on everything in the entire world if we aren’t home 24/7? As a second time mom, I know that being away from your baby and doing something you’re passionate about is not the end of the world and it sure as hell does not make you a bad mother. I like to think differently. I think it gives you a purpose and a drive that inspires your children. I think your children watching you do something you love in turn drives them to follow their dreams, to be creative, to think outside the box. It’s ok to follow your dreams, mammas. It’s ok to have a drive outside of your children. It’s not a sin. It doesn’t make you a bad mom. Why does it always come down to a woman choosing a career over being a mom? It’s 2018. Woman work. Women work hard to work and to mother. Men work hard to work and to father. That’s the reality of it all. Of course, I know working and being a new mom won’t be a walk in the park, but I know I have a support system beyond my wildest imagination that will be there for me, and that, Susan, is all I really need. Support.
6. “He’s acting out because of the baby.”
First of all, do you know my child? Are you with him most of your days? Do you know his personality? The answer to all of this is, “no”. My child acts out because he is a child. My child acts out because he’s six. My child acts out because his personality is big, and I guess I’m never supposed to complain about how he’s wearing on my nerves a little bit. Yes, things will be different, and yes, he will have to adjust, but as long as he knows he’s loved it will be ok. Every time my child pitches a fit it is not because we decided to have another baby, believe me. If that was the case then I guess he would have been acting out because of the baby since before I knew we were having a baby, which doesn’t make sense. No, my child acts out because he’s a kid and sometimes he doesn’t get his way and sometimes that irritates him. My child is loved enough to know that even though things will change, he will still be loved the same amount. Of course it will take adjusting to! It is going to take adjusting to for all of us, but my child is not acting a fool just because we decided to have a baby.
7. “I don’t know how you do that when you’re pregnant.”
Well, Susan. It’s called having a child and life still moving forward even when I’m 20 pounds heavier. It’s like people expect pregnant people to sit on their butts and eat ice-cream and do nothing for nine months. The second I open my mouth about how I’m still dancing or how I helped moved my son’s stuff into his new room, it’s like people are baffled that I would even move a toe when I’m with child. I so do not have the pleasure of sitting on my butt and sleeping all the time I want when I have a child to parent. Of course, I take it easy. I’m growing a freaking human, I have to take it easy, but I also have to get stuff done, and sometimes that requires me to go outside and kick a damn soccer ball with my six year old when I’d rather nap for 5 hours, and that’s ok. Sleeping is fine, too, but so is kicking a soccer ball for 15 minutes with your child. Remember this when you tell pregnant people with a child to sit down and relax, we have to balance being a mamma and nurturing a human inside of us, sometimes we can’t put our feet up and relax and sleep all we want during pregnancy. Sometimes we have to parent, sometimes we have to work, sometimes laundry needs to be done. It’s just the reality of having a child and parenting. We don’t always get to sit down.
8. “You’re going to have sleepless nights.”
This. THIS. This comment is probably the most nerve wrenching. Yes. I know. Oh God, I know I’m going to have sleepless nights. I know I’m going to be a mombie. I know I will be tired and irritable and all the above because I’ve done it before. I know. I know that it’s not easy. I know that this whole newborn thing is not a walk in the park. I know there will be tons and tons of sacrifices. I KNOW. I’ve done it before. It has been six years, but I’ve done it. I know. I remember. You don’t have to tell me all the hardships of being a mother, because I know first hand. Why can’t people just tell you to cherish that time? Why can’t people tell you that sleepless nights are not forever and it’s going to be ok? Why can’t people just say, “Hey, if you need anything at all I’ll be here to support you.” That’s all we need is support. We get how hard it is, but we also know we will survive as second time mammas.
The bottom line is, we just need support as moms. We kind of need you to think about what you’re saying before you say it because we are hormonal and we are irrational at times, but we are also human. We work hard to be mammas. We know the sacrifices that come with bearing children.
Let’s just agree to be supportive and not make remarks that you wouldn’t want given to you as a mamma. I know when I talk to my mamma friends or pregnant friends that being careful of how you say things is important. Everyone’s journey is different, and that’s what makes life so awesome. Just because you got to sleep during your pregnancy doesn’t mean another mamma will. Just because you decided to stay at home, doesn’t mean another mamma will. Just because you had issues with whatever you did doesn’t mean another person will. Just because some remedy worked for your baby, it doesn’t mean that it will work for another person’s child. Yes, advice from an, “I hear you, this is how I handled it” perspective is beautiful. Remarks like, “How are you going to work and breastfeed?” are not wanted or asked for for the most part. Instead, maybe you should support the woman. Say, “I couldn’t breastfeed and work because it was hard balancing pumping times (or whatever), but you can do it or I support you.”
Support. That’s all it comes down to people. Support from a place of love and thinking before we speak. We need each other.