Tuesday, January 25th, 2011 • 8 Comments on If You Cannot Say Something Nice…
It’s an interesting social experiment to tell people you’re pregnant. When I got pregnant with Patrick the response was overwhelmingly positive. Good wishes were heaped on me and I basked in it, hoping all that positive energy would fend off anything bad from happening. I’m superstitious like that. I’d had a miscarriage the previous year, so I know those early good wishes were tempered with caution— much like my acceptance of those good wishes. But as the months wore on, others showed such joy in my increasingly growing condition. Not in a mean way—in that way a pregnant woman walking into a room will garner attention and inspire smiles. It was nice.
So I find myself a bit perplexed this time around. Granted, it’s still early (just over 8 weeks) and there is still reason for plenty of caution. But the responses I’ve gotten to this pregnancy have not been as positive as they were with Patrick. In fact, there is an undercurrent of negativity in some of the things people have said. “Again? Wow, you’re really in for it!” “I’m going to laugh if this one doesn’t sleep as well as Patrick.” “This one won’t be as good as Patrick.” “You’re never going to have time for yourself now!” “That’s crazy!” And so on.
I suppose having back-to-back babies at my age is a bit of a shocker for anyone (including me) and perhaps no one quite knows how to take it. Patrick could be seen as the miracle baby after the miscarriage and considering my age, plus the fact that I’ve been married forever and it seemed certain we’d never have children. (Never mind that we weren’t actively trying to have children most of those years.) So if Patrick is the miracle, this pregnancy would be, what? It confuses people, I suppose.
The negative comparisons to Patrick bother me more than the rest. There is almost a malicious glee in some of those comments. Having a baby who is an excellent sleeper seems to bother people, whether they have children or not. Why is that? So now I’m being heaped with all these warnings that second babies aren’t like first babies—they’re worse. They never sleep, they cry all the time, they aren’t as happy as their older siblings, they are completely different in every way. I have joked that the next baby will be a terror—but I find it shocking that other people feel compelled to say such things.
The negative stuff isn’t the norm, though sometimes it feels like it when I get back to back comments from people. There have been many, many happy wishes and I’m grateful for every one, perhaps even more so this time around. Knowing what the months will bring in terms of worry and stress, I appreciate all the positive energy I can get. I think the unkind comments are so jarring because they’re so unexpected. Even if it’s said in a joking way, a wish for me to have a baby who never sleeps feels like a curse. Or maybe it’s just my overwrought pregnancy hormones taking things too personally. It’s certainly possible.
Come what may, I don’t regret telling people as early as I did about this pregnancy. I will bask in the good wishes of the people who are genuinely happy for me and let that good energy deflect those who aren’t. And I will keep my fingers crossed for a baby who is healthy and happy and sleeps as well as his brother.