Yes, I'm Sure It's Not Twins: Dealing with Unsolicited Pregnancy and Parenting AdviceMotherhood
Depending on who you ask, feeding your kid chicken nuggets is child abuse. Also depending on who you ask, not feeding your kid chicken nuggets is child abuse. Bet you didn't know that no matter what you do during pregnancy, birth, and parenting—you're always wrong, huh?
While judgment, bullying, and clashing opinions are everywhere in our society, there's nothing quite like a pregnancy to bring people together in giving you their unsolicited, and often unwanted, advice. Whether it's to inform you that you shouldn't exercise in pregnancy or you should eat dates to prevent you from going overdue; everyone you come into contact with has a piece of advice they'd like you to take to heart as you embark on parenthood.
So what can you do to gracefully fend off the comments, while keeping your relationships intact? Well, there are a few different approaches to try out.
The Smile and Nod
The Smile and Nod works best on total strangers in the grocery checkout. You'll encounter several mostly-well-meaning men and women throughout the course of your pregnancy who don't know you but feel compelled to let you know that you're big enough to be carrying twins, or that your baby should have a coat on, or you had better not eat that entire bag of cookies. The smile and nod will appease them long enough for you to escape. You could even throw in a short and sweet “thanks for sharing!”
The Respect Your Elder
The Respect Your Elder is the one you use on your well-meaning-yet-overbearing granny or uncle. You don't really want to start a fight or hurt their feelings by telling them to buzz off, but you want to put a stop on the admonitions to give a teething baby whiskey. Try acknowledging the years of experience that have led them to sharing with you today: “Thanks for caring so much about our baby—I know you've earned a lot of wisdom after raising your own kids to adulthood.” Then continue to do your own thing, of course. You could also try sharing articles about current medical and safety guidelines.
The Doctor Says
The Doctor Says works on almost anyone—from strangers, to close friends, to mom group attendees, to relatives. We're bringing out the big guns here: nobody questions the doctor's advice. When others' opinions about safe sleep, weaning, illness prevention, or any other heated topic get in the way, using your doctor as a scapegoat works like a charm. “Thanks, we'll look into that, but our baby's pediatrician actually advised us to lay him on his back to sleep.”
Unwanted pregnancy and parenting advice can be a little annoying, or at worst even make us second guess our own knowledge and decisions. Although these tips may not be able to keep every unsolicited opinion at bay, you can rest easy in the knowledge that your instincts will guide you to give your baby your best.
Loree Siermachesky works as a multi-certified labour and postpartum doula, certified Lamaze childbirth educator, certified breastfeeding counselor, certified placenta encapsulation specialist and a certified car seat technician in Medicine Hat and Lethbridge. She has had the honour of attending over 1400 births in the last 20 years. She is well-known and greatly respected by the medical providers in Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Brooks, Taber, and Calgary. She cares deeply for this profession and even more for her clientele, honoring them in whatever method of birth they choose, or helping them transition to new parenthood as they wish.