I tend to think of two particular things — commitment ceremonies and pregnancies — as intimate, personal experiences that you choose to share in some way with friends and family. On your own terms. You should not be forced into anything in either situation that makes you uncomfortable but, ultimately, I think that they are the first steps in lifelong processes. My opinion of many other people is that they are the single MOST important steps. Being married and working on your relationship is secondary to The Wedding. Raising a child is secondary to Being Pregnant.
I honestly felt that my wedding would be a simple exchange of vows between myself and Charlie, and that it would involve exactly the few things I wanted and exclude the things I didn’t want. While, technically, the former did happen (exchanging vows), everything leading up to it and after those 10 or 15 minutes was somewhat painful, best saved for another, lengthier post.
Now, of course, everyone has even more advice and opinions for me. Now that I’m knocked up, I’m getting advice out the ass. One person tells me not to sleep too much, another tells me I should sleep every chance I get. One woman tells me even smoking when I didn’t know I was pregnant is going to detrimentally harm the peanut, while another says not to worry about it — she smoked through her entire pregnancy and her kid was fine. If I haven’t thrown up enough, they tell me it will get worse (for the record, I haven’t puked once), and if I have an appetite, I should stop eating or eat more. Do my boobs hurt? And, before I have a chance to even respond — her breasts were soooo painful she could hardly sleep. Have we been having sex? She didn’t have sex during the whole pregnancy, so her husband had an affair, so I should make sure to have sex a lot with Charlie. Do I have swollen ankles? Her ankles were so swollen she could barely walk the last month.
It’s not the caring friends or those who are experiencing this with me that I’m concerned about: Sarah, Mel, or Maureen who just had her baby girl in September. It’s the utter strangers who think we have some kind of connection now, that they can tell me their awful birth and pregnancy stories, that bother me.
I think a part of me saw this coming all along, which was a minor consideration in my decision to not have children for so long. To me, it is an incredibly private, serious experience that, while exciting and nerve-wracking, is not something I want to share with every person walking down the street. Granted, it’s all out here on the interwebs for anyone to stumble across. But not the woman who gets a skinny latte, who heard from someone at work that I might be knocked up, coming in to tell me about her varicose veins, chronic constipation, and hemorrhoids twenty years ago. That’s just too much information.
Every wedding, every relationship, every pregnancy, every child, and every person is different (to name just a few things). Hence, their indvidual experiences will always be different. If anything, I’m thrilled that the myths and legends I’ve heard about have not been too traumatic for me. One of my fears was that I wouldn’t be able to stop throwing up. I’ve gotten kind of nauseous a few time. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to poop (sorry, Jay). But it really seems like I’m more normal in that department because my IBS isn’t flaring up.
Although I do want to share with my close friends the experiences that I’m having, and if I do have questions, I know of several people I can go to who are having or have had kids (Heather, Mel, beetqueen, Sarah, Maureen), so I feel very blessed in that department. I also know that our child will have a huge family and a diverse support network once it’s born (Scott and Jay, Annette, Shae, Cavan, Molly, Audrey, Annie, my aunt Vicki), so how lucky am I?
And what do I need those latte-drinking bitches’ petty advice for? They just want someone else to be as miserable as they were.