My husband and I had dinner with another couple on Saturday night, and the woman is expecting a baby in July. Such happy news! She was just beautiful, all glowy and happy. I love pregnancy. The first thing she asked me is why does every woman feel the need to share her pregnancy and birthing horror stories with newly pregnant women? She said it almost feels like she is being challenged and told she won’t possibly measure up.
I remember this phenomenon well. As soon as I was pregnant, suddenly every woman who had ever had a baby felt the need to tell me about their pregnancy or labour. I dealt with it the only way I knew how – I smiled and just walked away. I just didn’t feel like it would be healthy for me to sit and listen to someone else’s gruesome story and complications. It wasn’t like it was helpful – I had no control over how it would all go for me when the time came.
And now here I am with two fabulous, gruesome, lengthy stories of my own – which I never ever share with pregnant women. This isn’t to say it isn’t fun to sit down and trade these stories. My friends who have already had babies are all willing to sit and trade our tales of battle. By doing this, we validate other’s tales of heroism, and strength and bravery. “You made it through all of that?!?!” “You are amazing!!” This is what every mother needs to hear. That the nine months of craziness, followed by hours and hours of labour and more craziness, were all valued and respected by our brethren.
The point I am trying to make is – don’t share these stories with the woman who hasn’t gone through it yet. Unless your story is nine months of glowing health, and a three hour labour with no pain or complications, save it until she has joined our ranks. Then you can trade your stories and celebrate each other’s strength and valour. These are OUR war stories. In the meantime, what I like to say to pregnant women is “Congratulations!” and if they ask for more, I smile and say “No matter what happens it is all worth it for the end result.” I think all mothers can agree on that.