Friday, March 07, 2008

Everyone Loves (To Judge) A Pregnant Woman

I think that, over the past two weeks, my body appearance has changed more than it did the entire 5 months that I've already been pregnant. All of a sudden, I definitely look pregnant. I've made the switch to maternity pants at all times (unless I'm wearing pajamas pants). I've started unconsciously holding or rubbing my belly at various times.

There's good things about "showing." I've decided that my large midsection makes my legs look like toothpicks! And there's no more concern that I just look a little chubby. And people offer to carry things for me or run errands, so I stay off my feet.

However, I'm also now getting exposed to the fact that everyone is an expert on pregnancy. Anyone my age or older (and most of my co-workers are older) have either done it themselves, or have a wife/sister/friend that has given birth. So they all know EXACTLY what I should and should not be doing. How much weight I should be gaining, what foods I shouldn't be eating (because it's never "should" for that category!), whether I should run while pregnant. And no one hesitates to give their opinions.

Within 24 hours, I had one co-worker look at me and tell me I was going to be HUGE by the summer. Upon hearing that I was already 5 months along, another co-worker shook his head and told me I'd better start gaining weight. Keep in mind that the former person has given birth to one child; the latter wife's first pregnancy (of 3) was twins.

Then, the other morning, I was at the vending machines, getting a pop. It wasn't my proudest moment, I'll admit. As I've mentioned many times before, I'm always trying to give up pop. Sometimes more successfully than others. But at this particular moment, I was heading into a meeting that would conceivably last two hours or more, and in which I wouldn't say one word. I needed some caffeine and sugar to get me through.

An older female co-worker walked by and asked how "the new mommy" was doing this morning. I laughed and replied I was just getting a little caffeine for my morning meeting. WRONG ANSWER.

"You shouldn't be drinking caffeine!" She gasped. "It's bad for the baby."

No matter that this advice is years out of date. According to an article at WebMD (just one of many with this conclusion), moderate caffeine intake throughout pregnancy is fine. Early on, Keith and I checked on what would be considered a moderate level of caffeine. It turns out that I would have to drink 10 cans of pop a day to reach the caffeine intake limit. So I think I'm okay.

But anyway, all of this is irrelevant because she's not up on the latest advice. She just remembers that caffeine was considered verboten back in the day. I tried to tell her that I could drink nearly a case a day and still be fine, but she just glowered at me.

So maybe finally looking pregnant is a wash? I mean, it's great because we're that much closer to the baby's arrival. But yet it's incredibly scary for the same reason. My legs look skinny and my mid-section doesn't look like the result of too many donuts. But I also get unsolicited advice that also occasionally completely inaccurate.

Right now this has only happened with people I know. I just smile and nod and know that they mean well. But once it starts happening with complete strangers in the grocery store who feel the need to tell me how to live my life, I'm not sure that I can be so serene.


Amy Krug said...

Have you had anyone tell you you shouldn't eat lunch meat or fish? I always just laughed and ate my turkey sandwich.

I'd just enjoy finally looking pregnant and not chubby, and do your thing! Who could go nine months without a Coke? Insane!

M. Lubbers said...

Yes about the fish, no about the lunchmeat. I also had someone tell me I shouldn't drink tea the other day. Not because of the caffeine, but because of the chemicals. Said as she sipped a Diet Coke.

You're right though--I'm happy to be obviously pregnant! Now if you'll excuse me, I have a cold glass of Coke waiting for me;)

cat said...

Awww. I'm not an expert, I just play one whenever my sis asks me a question ... based on my 0 kids!!! lol
Anyway, I can't wait to see you and the little L bump!!! Standing next to pregnant women is good for my ego! :)