You may be thinking, “That’s a perfectly normal response. It’s your kid you are just looking out for her.” The problem is when that knee-jerk response stems from my own fear, rooted deep down. In spite of my mother’s pride in my abilities to face the unknown head on, as a parent my fears for my own children tempt me to project that on them.
I understand now the blessing my mother spoke over me in only the way that she could. She spoke life.
Our words have such a power to influence. For better or worse.
During my time as a doula and childbirth educator I often hear from the mothers I work with how someone in her life questions, judges or makes fun of the choices or plans she's made.
“You’re pregnant again?!”
“You’re having a natural birth?”
“You’re having a home-birth?”
“You’re planning a waterbirth?”
“You’re switching providers and you’re how far along?”
“You’re electing to have another csection?”
“You’re breastfeeding how long?”
And the list could go on and on…
To the mama who has shared her goals and plans with you, those thoughts are interpreted as:
Wow. You’re brave.
“You will change your mind once those contractions hit.”
“Putting your baby in danger.”
It’s that knee-jerk reaction. I believe we are projecting our own fears, our disappointments, and our misinformation onto women when they are the most vulnerable. And it is affecting them. It’s not right. And we need to stop.
I know there are exceptions to the rules. There will always be someone who makes a decision, willy-nilly, uninformed and may be harmful to themselves or their unborn child. But I promise you. That is a very small exception.
I am talking about your sister, your daughter, niece, best friend and co-worker.
Instead of allowing our first thought to come out what if we took a beat and considered what our true thoughts may be:
“I am not sure I could do that. I admire you."
“I tried that and it did not work out for me but I wish you and your baby success.”
“My provider, insurance, partner, situation did not allow for that.”
“I did not know about this, I wish I had.”
“I would have done things differently if I could.”
“It is not something I would do but I think that is great that you know what you want.”
“I have heard scary stories of bad outcomes and that makes me afraid for you.”
“I have regrets.”
“I have no regrets.”
“I am interested in learning more.”
Pregnancy is the foundation that she will build motherhood on. Let’s speak love, confidence and build each other up and not be a reason her foundation may be shaky. if you are important enough to have her share her plans with, your words (spoken and unspoken) may have more weight than you think.