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Five Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

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We are a week away from our anticipated delivery date and I’ve started to turn introspective. I’m mentally circling the wagons and taking stock of what needs to happen.

  • The kiddo’s future room is basically done.
  • I worked my last day at work yesterday.
  • The car seat, grab and go bag, and big birthing exercise ball are all in the car.

At this point, I just need to have this baby.

As a result of all of this mental preparation and gazing at my non-existent navel (seriously, where did it go?) I’ve spent some time compiling a list of things you shouldn’t tell a pregnant woman.

Other than the whole crazy wonderful process of being an incubator for a new person I think the other thing I was most unprepared for, was the way that people talk to pregnant women and the things that others suddenly feel are acceptable to say.

So this is my personal top five of things you shouldn’t say to a pregnant woman.

1.  “You don’t look that pregnant.”

I get this one a lot. From cashiers at the grocery store to peripheral co-workers, folks seem to have an assessment of what 25 weeks pregnant looks  like, versus 35 weeks pregnant. Of course they mean no harm. In fact, it’s probably intended as a compliment about how your body really hasn’t changed that much at all. But unless you personally know that woman and her own pregnancy adventure, just don’t say it out loud.

What if this was my first successful pregnancy? What if I’d miscarried previously and being “this pregnant” was the most pregnant I’ve ever been? In any of those circumstances, looking “this pregnant” would be something I wouldn’t take for granted and idle comments about my size would be hurtful.

2.  “Do X while you still can.”

Replace X with any of the following:

    • Sleep
    • Travel
    • Go out and have a good time.
    • Enjoy one another’s company.

To which I feel it necessary to point out:

  • Physically, sleep is uncomfortable when you can only comfortably lie on your left side.
  • Traveling will be more difficult but not impossible with a little person in tow.
  • Our idea of going out is walking to the library on the weekend so baby really won’t be such a game changer there.
  • It makes me sad to think that partners can’t enjoy being together when there’s a little person involved too.

This quip often comes from people who have children and they seem to think they are dispensing useful advice. A more helpful thing to say would be to share how you both juggled being married and having a new little person. Or, to the single parent, suggestions on how to build their tribe of trusted extended family in order to help that strong individual who does not have live-in help.

3.  “Your husband probably wants a boy, doesn’t he?”

Mr. Pirate was really upset when I told him about this one. We opted not to find out baby’s sex because for us, it doesn’t matter. No matter what color we paint the baby’s room, we both want this little person in our lives.  I’m the mechanic with the pink toolbox for pity’s sake. If Mr. Pirate were the sort of man who wanted his first child to be male so that he could better relate to him, I don’t think he’d be the sort of man who I would have wanted to marry.

I respect other people’s decision for wanting to know baby’s sex, and I will admit it has made shopping for clothing a bit of a challenge since so much of what’s out there is gendered, but that’s it. You can’t put it back if we don’t like it, so you might as well accept that fact early and overcome any prejudices you have about one sex or the other.

4.  [Insert pregnancy/labor/birth/random horror story here]

Oh look! You have a belly! Let me tell you about the time that my wife’s cousin’s sister’s third-best friend had a really difficult delivery and nearly died.

No. Just no.

That is not how you make conversation. You do not approach a war veteran who lost his or her leg below the knee and make jokes about how much he or she must save on shoes now. Likewise, you don’t relate to someone who is pregnant by telling her about the absolute worst possible thing that could happen. Trust me. She’s already thought about it. A lot.

5.  “Oh, you won’t want to go back to work.”

I am extremely fortunate in the fact that my supervisor was able to work with me and find ways of adjusting my workload so that I could continue to be a part of his team throughout my pregnancy. I really like where I work and I take a great deal of pride in what I do. Having a baby doesn’t change that.

I’ll take as much of my maternity leave as I feel I need and then we’ll find a daycare solution and we’ll make it work for our family. The sad part about this one is that no one seems to care that Mr. Pirate only has one week of paternity leave available to him. An extra one if he takes vacation too.

Dads receive a fair bit of public criticism for not being present in their children’s lives, and as a society, we’re not helping. He will have just as much of an adjustment to make with a new little person in his life as I will. He just won’t have after-birth pains to deal with.

Now I’m curious though. What are some things that other women were told while pregnant that they found unpleasant or completely bizarre?



Intake 2011…exhaust 2010

This is just to say that Ninjamechanic is going on hiatus from its regular automotive centric programming for part of 2011.

This fall while working 3.5 jobs, I had the opportunity to reflect on what this blog is and where it’s going. It’s all my younger brother’s fault, honestly. He’s a senior philosophy major at university and for his final semesters has taken classes on digital media, digital storytelling and is crafting an independent study on specific video game content and the role of their political undertones. His course load makes me jealous primarily because:

a) those sorts of classes weren’t available when I went there
and b) they’re offered in the English department. My home turf. [grumble gripe]

What this has to do with this blog is that I realized I have no bloody idea what I’m doing with this thing. I don’t update it regularly and I don’t feel as though I have a competent grasp of my authorial voice. As such I’m going to take a step back and spend a bit of time just expanding on my content in an effort to become a better blogger. Consider this Ninjamechanic’s New Year’s resolution.

In 2011 I will:

-Blog more [woe to the Interwebs]
-Finish projects that I start [cue massive family history endeavor]
-Figure out a way to have a physical outlet [belly dancing? akido? yoga with a reference librarian?]
-Obtain my big girl toolbox

So here’s to trying daily to do things better.

Shutterbug or why I need to get a digital camera

While out running errands yesterday I came across a car enthusiast putting his old gal to good work.

At our recycling center — yes I know I’m been putting up a lot of green posts recently — I watched as an older gentleman unloaded his bins from the trunk of his 1960s olive green hardtop Thunderbird. Great balls of fire if she wasn’t in good shape. There’s a pretty strong classic car presence in the area, but this beauty didn’t even have antique plates on her. No, she was clearly a working girl and a well-loved one at that. Not a speck of visible rust on her exterior. Just clean lines and a definite presence on the road.

I kicked myself yet again for not carrying my film camera around with me and even more so for not striking up a conversation about his well maintained vehicle.

I can’t help it. I’m forever rubber necking any time I see a classic on the road. Blame it on my parents I guess.

When you grow up listening to the Big Bopper and the Beatles and your Dad tells stories of all the cars his dad would bring home to test drive from working at the dealership, it’s hard not to develop a certain affinity for great classics.

Another time at the gas station a fellow pulled up with his 1930 Model A idling away. That time I did start gabbing with him. A creamy tan color and named Millie, the driver seemed to just take her out for short trips, but still. With a car like that you can’t help but stare.

I just wish I had a camera with me at all times to prove it.

Flat rates and why labor is so dang expensive

Really, this post is just a teaser of things to come. (Real things I promise…I have no idea what happened to August but I think it had something to do with vinyl and really nice weather.)

I disassembled a 1987 Chevy pickup truck’s steering column today. Just learning to take it apart with help took 2.5 hours. According to All Data, the standard when it comes to vehicle repair and shop rates, I should have been able to take it apart, fix the broken part, and put it back together in 1.7 hours.

The pieces of the assembly are scattered across three red shop rags and the dash board of the truck. According to the master tech who helped me, even if I worked on this particular type of vehicle daily, this task would still be a bear. A large black bear that will maul you over a garbage pail I might add.

More on why the steering column needed to come apart later. After sleep etc. This career choice seriously challenges my college part I resolution to eschew bedtime. Then again, I didn’t have to be functional around heavy equipment at o’dark thirty in college either.