It’s amazing how women who are normally pretty sensible and tactful will lose their minds entirely when it comes to sharing horrible stories with pregnant women. I personally don’t have any nice or funny stories to tell, and in the presence of pregnant ladies, I go out of my way altogether to avoid mentioning that I gave birth to three children but now have only two. But scarcely more than a week ago, I was at a baby shower where one lady’s delivery-room tale had the punchline “I thought I was dying.”
In the interest of self-preservation and peace of mind for the duration of your pregnancy, you should be prepared to call a halt to any discussions that frighten and unnerve you. But for informational purposes, here are a few of the topics you can expect.
1) Pregnancy difficulties, i.e. “I was sick every day. I gained a lot of weight. I had to go on bed rest. I got gestational diabetes. I got preeclampsia.” Yes, sometimes these things happen. Sometimes women feel overjoyed and glowing with health. Just do the things your doctor recommends and hope you’re one of the latter.
2) Frightening delivery stories. “I was in labor for ten million hours. My sister’s friend’s cousin couldn’t make it to the hospital and had the baby in the car. The cord was around the baby’s neck. The baby’s head was enormous. I tore from one end to the other.” Of course…all things are possible. But then again, you’ll notice how these “horrific” experiences have become tales that the women get great enjoyment from telling!
3) Bad doctor/nurse stories. Whether during pregnancy or at any other time, we all dread the thought of being in the hands of incompetent medical professionals when we’re vulnerable. Luckily most are qualified and well-intentioned, and at least you’ll have nine months to get a read on your doctor. If at all possible, have someone with you at the hospital at all times, in case you need an advocate.
4) Post-partum depression. This one is actually talked about less than it should be, because once mothers have gotten over the hump, they either forget or feel ashamed to disclose how little fondness they had for their babies at the beginning. However, it’s very common to be depressed both during and after pregnancy, and to not fall instantly in love with your baby. Don’t worry. Give it a little time and your baby will probably grow on you, but don’t be embarrassed in the least to seek help if things seem to be getting worse. Your doctor won’t judge you.
5) Miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant death. Everyone knows that miscarriages still happen, though it’s beyond rude to bring that up to a pregnant lady. Sadly, stillbirth and infant death are still happening in this day and age, too, for many different reasons. It’s not something to dwell on, but it is one good reason to begin thinking of your baby as your beloved child while he or she is still in the womb.