Thursday, August 28, 2008

Having a baby? Let me tell you how!

I have discovered another facet of human nature that I find fascinating. It seems as though once people find out you (or your partner) is pregnant, the flood gates open and they feel the need to bestow upon you all of their pregnancy and child-rearing intelligence.

I'm not talking things like "Make sure you get a Boppy! They're great!" or "Prenatal yoga sure helped me" - I'm talking about the comments like "You're crazy if you think you're having anything but pizza deliveries for dinner for the first year" once you've told them about your meal preparation plans or "I give it 2 weeks" when you mention plans for a cloth diaper service. The comments are usually accompanied by a sneer, eye roll, or some other charming and attractive facial expression. Everything from judgement calls about what sort of provider you choose for your birth to how you want to give birth to how you manage your day afterwards. We have choices in these matters for a reason.

Granted, not everybody does this, and I have yet to personally receive these comments (my husband and various friends have been the lucky ones). I just find it interesting and peculiar how free people feel to dictate to expectant parents exactly how their pregnancies and lives are going to turn out. Just because one person couldn't manage meals without delivery doesn't mean we can't. And if we find something we can't manage without shortcuts or choose a different option for, it wouldn't make me turn around and assume that the next expectant parent I know should or would do the exact same thing I did (or didn't do).

So what is it that makes people so openly opinionated when it comes to babies? These aren't comments that are made out of concern for health or safety. They're comments that are made out of a I-know-better-than-you, scoffing mentality. You don't normally hear this kind of stuff regarding marriage, job choices, housing choices, etc., so what makes babies fair game?

I don't mean to sound too negative - just honestly curious. I've just never experienced such free-flowing commentary about a subject when people should really just be saying "good for you!" most of the time, unless you're actually asking for advice. People are interesting.


Prasad said...

i might not have yet earned the right to comment on babies and pregnancy as i m just past being a baby myself, but i think babies are beautiful. as far as public response goes, i think its what makes life interesting. once you, instead of being a part of the play with the people reading out their lines, become a bystander and watch the drama unfold, it almost becomes a light-hearted comedy and u are refreshed rather than bogged down by it.

btw, i tumbled on your blog while searching for those beautiful verses that go by the name of "intimations of immortality". keep going.

Astarte's Student said...

Prasad, thank you for visiting and commenting! That's a great sentiment - to be refreshed rather than bogged down - and I hope I can keep it in mind once I have a little one of my own.

Tara said...

Hey there, just found your blog through a comment you left on NY Spender. Anyway...thought I'd weigh in on this issue of people commenting on parenting.

The sneering, snide remarks about your best intentions of how to raise your child reflect on the insecurities and struggles that others faced when they became parents. People sneer at others' attempts when they have failed in their own, right? It's the same idea.

The people who offer the condescending, "just-wait-and-see-as-your-noble-intentions-fly-out-the-window" comments to you have probably disappointed themselves along the way.

Don't take it personally! I can't help but think what a nicer world we'd have, though, if people offered to support each other in their lofty goals rather than trash each other.

It would be cool to hear, "Wow, cloth diapers and home-made meals! Every new family deserves those things. Can I help you by bringing a casserole?"

Best wishes to you and your growing baby. If I knew you, I'd offer to bring you a casserole!

Astarte's Student said...

Hi Tara,

Thanks for visiting and for your comment! That's a good point - it probably does have something to do with a disappointment with one's own situation.

And thank you for your wishes and virtual casserole! :D

Allie said...

Oooh Tara, I think you hit the nail on the head with that one! I too am pregnant and getting all this "advice," and I find the most snide advice comes from just a few people... possibly people who are having struggles with parenting. I'll have to be more understanding and not want to throttle them. :)