Warning: your pregnancy will bring unsolicited advice from total strangers
We think the little human on the right is a girl, but it’s a little too early to tell. We call her Peanut.
I am now 4 months pregnant.
Being pregnant is a big deal to some women, not so much to others. I fall in the latter category. I have to say I’ve been lucky. Other than dizziness and back pain, I’ve been fine and I feel normal, not crazy emotional or nauseous. However, sometimes I leave the house without any shoes on, or I put the cereal box in the fridge (and the milk in the pantry), and well, you’re about to find out that it makes me a little cranky.
The attention to my growing belly is sweet, but the comments I receive from the outside world gave me insight on the image people have of pregnant women. The first thing I learned is that people love giving advice. They love it with a passion.
I’ve been cycling to work. Don’t get me started on the faces I get when I tell them I am on my road bike day in and day out. At first I didn’t have the good sense to realize that people would be so negative and opinionated about this topic. I’ve stopped trying to argue with them, and I don’t let it bother me anymore. Sometimes I argue that advice given to pregnant women apply to the lowest common denominator, and that if you were an athlete on the bicycle pre-pregnancy, things will work out just fine on the bike during your pregnancy. I am usually pretty confident of my choice to cycle, but it does help to realize that I am not alone in that department. But athlete or not I still think biking is a viable mode of transportation for pregnant women.
One thing I’ve noticed is a tendency from people to equate everything exclusively to my pregnancy. Anything I do/eat/say is a result of my condition. Hungry for cheese? Must be those crazy cravings (anybody who knows me is aware I go absolutely gaga for cheese). I may say I am tired and wish I could have slept in. Oh, that’s normal, after all, you’re pregnant! Little do people know I am a champion sleepyhead. I love to sleep more than I love cheese, and that is saying something. At this point they love to add that I won’t have the luxury to sleep in in a few months, and that I better “enjoy it while I can”.
Which brings me to my next point. People love telling me how much of a commitment it will be, as we are first-time parents and we haven’t got a clue what we’re getting into. Yes, the onset of a baby this fall will cut into cycling, reading, cooking, etc. We understand our lifestyle will change dramatically, but the constant narrative I get from people around me is a bit unsettling and repetitive. Most people just can’t see that we will carry the same values with us post delivery (having a healthy lifestyle, maintaining interest in the outside world, mindfulness of the environment, enjoying the latest bands, travel, etc). We’ll still care, we’ll still be ourselves. Hey, you without kids, you can still be our friend!
That said I have been having excellent conversations with friends who are happy and supportive and seem to know where I am coming from, and I’ve been feeding off positivity from these people. It also helps that my other-half reasserts his love and support every day. He still thinks I can install those kitchen cupboards all by myself. No excuses honey.
I can’t wait to go out and about with this kid, walking on the Ottawa River path, packing her up on the bike and go ride canal-side, and much later canoeing in Algonquin Park. It will be a wonderful, frustrating, interesting, fascinating, whatever, growing experience.
See you September 5, Pea.