It seems like as soon as you get pregnant, everyone is ready to give you parenting advice. Sometimes you ask for it, but quite often, you are bombarded with the thoughts and opinions of every person you meet. It’s especially fun when the person giving the advice has no children of their own!
From my first pregnancy to this one, I’ve been bombarded with advice from every mother, father and caretaker under the sun. And some of it has been invaluable. I’ll never forget the person who suggested I try breastfeeding while laying on my side. That one changed my life!
But there have been some utter crackers over time which never cease to amaze me. And most of them come from strangers on the street. You know – the kind that have no qualms about coming over and grabbing your belly and bellowing out, “You’re ready to POP!” when you are still 4 months away from your due date. These are the people who think it is their god-given duty to shower you with their specialist knowledge of pregnancy, birth and life going forward.
Some utter gems have been bestowed on me lately.
There was the lady down at Wal Mart who told me,
if you have an epidural, your baby will come out drugged and develop a taste for drugs later in life.”
She was 8 months pregnant herself and proudly regaled me with her EIGHT birth stories, “all without a single drug.” I wonder if she got a merit badge or some sort of trophy?
I mean, seriously… I had an epidural with Dexter, even though I wanted to make it through on my own. By the time I got to seven centimeters dilated, I was scared and worried about the pain. Having a lovely soothing drug meant that my blood pressure and heart rate improved, and I managed to get through with a fairly simple birth. My son had no ill effects, and he actually was one of the most alert babies the midwives had ever seen. He was not “drugged” in any way, and having chosen the pain relief, we all had a much easier time.
Of course, it doesn’t stop at birth, though. People have opinions on how you raise your child, as well. My current favorite comes from a so-called friend of mine who was dead serious when she said,
If you keep letting your son wear pink and play with that Barbie doll, you’re going to make him gay.”
Because, of course, we all know that them darn gays are made from kids who play with the wrong toys growing up.
It boggles the mind! Nevermind the fact that she said it as if being gay was the worst possible thing that could happen to a kid. Like I would regret not forcing a GI Joe on him instead of “giving in” and letting him have fun with any toy that strikes his fancy.
I had to wonder if it was just me who seemed to invite unwanted and ridiculous advice and opinions from people. So I asked some other mommy bloggers for their experiences. And I wasn’t disappointed.
Caterpillar Tales wrote:
After a nightmare hour in the doctor’s waiting room, with a toddler at his supper time, bored and running around, trying to climb the stairs, and me following him around with a newborn baby attached to my boob, I sat down exhausted for a minute with both of them on my knee, the baby crying, and an old biddy said “That baby needs a dummy.” It was one of the lowest points of my parenting life. To this day I regret not saying “No, he needs to breastfeed in peace without me moving around and making him sick, and his brother needs his supper and to go to bed. And I need you to leave me alone and stop interfering.”
The Blunt Truth wrote:
When I was discharged from hospital 6 hours after giving birth to my 3rd son, a member of staff in the delivery unit told me I needed to try again to get a little girl. I wasn’t impressed.”
Hex Mum Blog wrote:
I have been asked with all of my six if they are planned! Whilst on holiday heavily pregnant with number five, a woman walked past us and shouted ever heard of contraception! What she didn’t bank on was my husband following her into the shop to explain that yes we had heard of contraception and we have chosen to have a large family, that he worked extremely hard to provide for his family and its a shame that some people were so judgemental!!”
Mummy Glitzer wrote:
The thing that annoyed me most when I was pregnant was people saying ‘Sleep before the baby arrives, you won’t get much when he does.’ Like you can somehow bank sleep and withdraw from a reserve at a later date…”
Mother’s Always Right wrote:
When I was pregnant I was told that because my bump was all out the front I would be having a boy, which in turn meant I’d have a terrible labour!”
It’s bad enough inflicting silly advice on first time mothers (like when a grandfatherly figure suggested giving my son a lump of jerky to help him through teething – hello choking hazard!), but it doesn’t get ANY better when you go on to have further children. In fact, you get the SAME advice from the SAME people and extra bits of crazy from strangers.
So what can we do? Smile and nod along and keep your thoughts to yourself? Or tell these folks just what we think of their “advice?”
What’s the worst advice you’ve had when it comes to motherhood? Let’s make each other smile and laugh.