I think it’s human nature. We see another human in pain or in a stressful situation and we try to use our own experience knowledge and give them advice, try to put stresses at ease, and try to make them feel better about the situation. It’s a nice human condition. We want to comfort the people around us because we love them, we want to connect to them, and we want to feel like we’ve all gone through it. The down side to this human condition is that there is someone on the other side of the comfort or advice. The person on the other side may not need the advice or comfort. They may just need to vent frustrations, be upset, or say what’s going on.
I’ve said it before. We’ve become a society that overshares. There’s even websites now that explain how to not overshare in job interviews and ruin your chances. At the tips of our fingers are mediums ready and raring to go. All we have to do is move the finger tips and type. I am so guilty of this. If you’re Facebook friends with me you know what I mean. I’ve thought lately that all I post about now is my pregnancy because that’s my world. I worry that I post about it too much. I worry that people are sick of reading about it. I worry when people turn to their human condition and try to ease fears, calm stresses, and make me feel less alone.
Here are a few things that people have said and what I hear from it.
-What is said: “Pppfftttt. Of course you’ll be a good mom. Please.”
-What I hear: That my fear of being a mom to a human for the first time is ridiculous. I have no idea what I’m doing. I’ve taken care of a ton of kids in my lifetime, that doesn’t mean I’ll automatically be this amazing mom from the beginning.
-What is said: “Oh! You can’t do that” (In reference to how I want to give birth or raise my child).
-What I hear: To hear this before my baby is even born makes me think that I’m already a bad mom. For nine months I get to constantly worry about growing a person in my food storage area. When I hear that I should/shouldn’t do something for whatever reason it makes the fears of being a good mom grow faster than my Monkey. Plus, how do you know? Every kid is different and every parent is different. You need to let me do things in my own time and make my own mistakes. It’s okay to make mistakes, even in parenting.
-What is said: “Relax! Kids are the epitome of loss of control. Everything will work out.”
-What I hear: Kids are mayhem and I won’t have my own life to control anymore. Sure you’ll love them, but children take your life from you. I keep binders. I have multiple calendars. I show up five minutes early. I write lists to calm myself. These are the things I do now because that’s who I am. I know I can’t control everything. She’s already teaching me that she’s the boss now. I will adjust, I will adapt, I will get there. Telling me the horrors before I get there doesn’t help much.
-What is said: “Pish posh! You are making a life. You are as beautiful as ever. Don’t be self conscious!”
-What I hear: I need to leave all my self image issues at the door and leave them there for nine months. Now, believe me. Whenever a friend of mine is pregnant I always think they are beautiful and a warrior for doing what they are doing. But. I have a big tummy. I waddle from room to room. I make absurd noises when I move on the couch. I get food on my shirts because I can’t bend forward enough to get food into my mouth. There are some days I just don’t feel beautiful and that’s okay. I am making a life. I am growing our family. I am creating this amazing new chapter in my life. Even the best life experiences can have some downsides. I need to be able to go through those downsides.
-What is said: “Don’t be defensive. I’m just trying to help.”
-What I hear: Don’t be defensive. I’m just trying to help. I am so lucky. I have family and friends coming out of the woodwork supporting me and trying to calm me when I want to curl into a ball and have a good pregnancy cry, I mean I have sausage toes what else am I suppose to do? Not cry? I know people are trying to help, trying to be there, trying to make me realize that everything will be fine. I appreciate that love so much. It’s when you hear these things day in and day out as one person that it gets overwhelming. I am only one person and I am so emotional right now it makes middle school dances look bush league.
The point of this post? To show that sometimes it is totally understandable and helpful to look at someone or write to someone and say, “I’m sorry. That totally sucks.” I was given that advice years ago and it’s some of the best advice I’ve gotten. For the most part, people are intelligent people. They know the things you are saying. They are aware of the situation they are in. They are human. They need to voice frustrations, they need to acknowledge fears, and they need to process whatever it is that is happening. We all want to help and be there for our friends and family. Sometimes that is a very simple, “I’m sorry. That totally sucks” because anything more that you say may be very different from what they hear.