How to deal with judgement and expectations during pregnancy and childbirth – a personal story from Findus
My best friend back in Sweden used to roll her eyes and say “nobody knows your children better than a stranger does”.
When I first heard this I thought she was just unlucky to be met with so much judgement and so many snide comments. Only when I announced that I was pregnant myself did I understand the full extent of her sarcastic statement; and unfortunately it went on even after childbirth.
From complete strangers staring at or even touching my belly, to people pointing at it and announcing what sex the baby was, I quickly found myself in an uncomfortable state of mind. I had chosen not to find out the sex of my child and I got mixed reactions from people when I told them about it. Most people, with or without children of their own, were very quick to predict to me that I was going to have a boy. And boy (no pun intended), were there many reasons for this.
“You’re carrying high”
“You have a lot of morning sickness”
“You have cravings for savoury things rather than sweet things”
“Your skin is glowing”
“You are showing late”
Or just “I can see it”. They all sounded completely certain, oozing with confidence in their opinions, although most of the comments above stem from outdated folklore rather than science.
Although I had specifically told the people guessing that I had no interest in finding out the sex, it, unfortunately, didn’t keep any of them from guessing. One of my colleagues at the time kept saying I would owe him a bottle of wine if I ended up having a boy. A bet I hadn’t agreed to but said in a joking matter to accentuate how convinced he was, that I was going to have a boy. A few months later I visited with my newborn daughter and the wine bet was never mentioned again.
I am of course not the only one who’s had this happening to them. I want to take a moment to explain how this example above felt like an intrusion of my privacy.
Although I think it is safe to assume the people doing or saying things like in the example above had good intentions, it nevertheless felt like an intrusion. Whether I was actually going to have a boy or a girl has nothing to do with it, as I felt that I had made myself clear saying that I didn’t wish to find out the sex.
I guess I felt disappointed that the people I saw every day weren’t acknowledging my wishes.
There are a lot of opinions and judgement as well as unsolicited advice out there, to begin with, but there is something about babies that makes people very outspoken.
Perhaps it’s because the subject of children is something we can all relate to. We’ve all been children and most of us know a child. We all have our frame of reference passed on from our own experiences and how we’ve been brought up. So naturally, people want to share their viewpoint as a way to relate to what I’m going through. But with that, we perceive things differently.
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