12:59 03 June 2009
Despite friends, family and colleagues being happy at the news of your pregnancy, the downside can be that they're all experts. Be prepared to hear tales of everyone else's pregnancy and birth. This article also appears on www.bbc.co.uk/parenting/having_a_baby
You may find that people feel quite free to give you unsolicited advice and opinions on your behaviour, your diet, your birth and feeding choices, not to mention your choice of names, schooling and travel plans.
A pregnant women doing something as everyday as having a cup of coffee might be questioned about her choices " "should you be drinking that?"
People can make assumptions too, often based on nothing more than what happened to them, or what they would like to have happened.
"Oh, you don't want to have an epidural! I had one, and it didn't suit me at all " I had a headache for days afterwards!"
"I expect you'll be getting a nanny/bringing up the baby on your own/changing your job/moving house/getting a different car..."
The advice list is endless and, at it's worst, is intrusive and unsettling.
Being pregnant and having babies is an adventure " yes it's exciting, but not without its challenges and risks. You are bound to have some concerns and anxieties about the future, about how you will cope, and about your health and your baby's health.
This makes you especially vulnerable to the negative effects of other people's opinions and experiences.
You can cope better by:
Look at the source of the information. On a website, check where it's come from, who's saying it, and when it was said. A research paper from a respected medical journal is likely to be worth taking more seriously than a snippet from a magazine. Other people's personal experiences and opinions on the web or elsewhere are often very helpful, but bear in mind the acronym from the internet newsgroups " 'YMMV', or 'your mileage may vary'. In other words, 'what happened to me may not happen to you'.
Ask someone whose opinion you respect and trust about what you've heard or read. Write it down to take with you in note form to the antenatal clinic at your next appointment. If it's really bothering you, phone the clinic or the community midwives and put it to them. If you are doing antenatal classes, ask the teacher what they think.
Ask yourself whether it fits with what you already know. Does it, in other words, sound as if it makes sense?
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