Monday, February 11, 2008

One Belly Band, Please

Have you ever noticed how the bulging belly of pregnancy, especially that of a woman expecting her first child, seems to act as a magnet for unsolicited advice and/or labor horror stories?

It would seem that the trendy belly band, created to help woman wear their pre-pregnancy clothes longer, might be put to even better use as a muzzle for some of those well-meaning, loose lipped information disseminators. I'm not exactly sure why, but something about a prego tummy screams out to strangers, "Please vomit some nuggets of wacky parental wisdom on me!"

And judging from my own experience in this area, there is a reason I chose the word STRANGE-rs. Perhaps my favorite memory of this odd behavior came from a lady in the grocery store when I was in my 8th month.

"So, I see that you are pregnant. Hopefully you have already started the screening process for preschools. There is nothing worse than an unprepared parent."

Had I somehow moved to the Upper East Side of New York and become a character in the Nanny Diaries without realizing it? I stifled a giggle, thanked her for her advice and told her I'd keep that in mind when my child was turning 3 or 4. (The last part may have been under my breath due to a little aversion I have to confrontation.)

And then I never thought another thing about it until last weekend.

Somehow I unintentionally joined the ranks of the unsolicited advice givers by sharing my labor horror story with a sweet friend in her final days of pregnancy. (Although, in my defense, she does look more like she is in her first trimester.)

What started out as innocent discussion among girlfriends in the car together on the way to a baby shower, ended with me sharing I had feared labor would be equivilant to being repeatedly stabbed with a knife. In an attempt to back pedal after seeing the very wide eyes of a very pregnant friend in my rearview mirror, I assured her that I had definitely been wrong in that assumption.

"It was much more like stab...STAB-STAB stab, and so on and so forth," I heard myself saying. Realizing things were going downhill fast, I attempted one last rescue mission of my "open mouth, insert foot" conversation.

"But-t-t," I stammered, "I'm-I'm-I'm sure that was only because I pushed for 5 and 1/2 hours. I feel certain the average labor is much more enjoyable. Take yours, for instance. Stabbing probably won't even be an issue for you."

The other gals in the car must have felt like they were watching a bad train wreck in slow motion.

Oh, sweet Holly. Please forgive me. It seems that even though I'm not a stranger to you, I have somehow become every bit as strange as those folks I previously made fun of.

Do you happen to have an extra belly band I could borrow?

Or, maybe you should break out the burp rags early, to clean up any lingering images I may have vomited into your brain.

Of course, to take your mind off the pending labor, you could always start looking into some good preschools for Colt. Because rumor has it that there is nothing worse than an unprepared parent.


Kelly @ Love Well said...

I would loan you my much-loved belly band, but seeing as my mouth is also much bigger than my foot (and thus, I keep talking even when my foot is in there), I should probably hang on to it.

If it makes you feel better, we've all done stuff like that. Childbirth stories are the war stories of the Mommy-world.

Plus, you could always tell her of the delights of the epidural. Maybe that will make all things right.

raenette said...

That is too funny. I have been there and done that!! Thanks so much for your comments to me especially the one about being not being able to get prego these days. I also have to say I will pray for you during the whole potty training process. I was very blessed and Zane was very easy. He wanted to at 18 months but I waited until 19 months. Like I said it was all about HIM wanting to...I dreaded the whole process.
Love ya,

K in the Mirror said...

That is funny.

I find that unless the person asks specifically, NO labor story is acceptable.

Something like "I pushed twice and he was out and it was the easiest thing I ever did and I was back in my jeans by the time I left the hospital" is equally as horrifying as a bad story.

fullheartandhands mama said...

I laughed my way through that post. Too funny! I stuck my foot in my mouth yesterday with a pregnant friend. She is having twins and I said something that involved how good she must be doing since so many moms of multiples seemed to end up on bed rest. What!? I'm blaming it on lack of sleep with a newborn, but maybe I should carry a belly band in my diaper bag. Sorry for the long comment.
Still chuckling.

Welcome to Our Lives... said...

Hi! I found your blog through Jessica's. I have loved reading a few of your posts. You are a great and entertaining writer! I am so with you on the mystery of why women think they should share EVERY detail of their labor and delivery to first time pregnant women! However, I know we are all guilty of inserting foot into mouth occasionally. :)

Breathing His Joy said...

I have some how avoided hearing any horror stories although you should have seen my face when I read the part on your blog about the stabbing... :)

And I can't believe I haven't started looking into preschools.... sheeesh... what kind of mother am I going to be - LOL!

Kelly said...

Bless your heart... it is a slippery slope, those birth stories. The good news is that in a few short months she will have her own story, and totally get what you were saying:-)