Monday, September 22, 2008

Eat a bunch of spicy food, then go jogging

I am not pregnant. I am not trying to be pregnant again for a good while yet. But my ward has lots of young marrieds in it, so you know what that means. I am knee deep in cute pregnant girls. Pretty much every weekend is a baby shower for someone or the other. Saturday I was at my third baby shower this month and sitting at a table with two pregnant women, not counting the day's honoree, and the funny advice people give you when you're pregnant came up.

Having a ten month old myself, it wasn't that long ago that people would randomly stop me on the street or in the store to share a little bit of homespun wisdom about how to induce labor. It actually kind of continues until the baby is a few months old with the advice changing to how to handle teething. This advice is, of course, always unsolicited and usually not required but I've learned after two kids that I'm going to get it anyway, so I just smile and listen. (Although sometimes I wish they would give me useful advice like what to say to strangers when they compliment you on your pregnancy but your baby is actually two months old.)

I think it's kind of cool, actually, that so many women feel the urge to reach out and offer suggestions. It's that common thread that binds us, and relating our experiences is a way to connect through the shared experience of childbirth. The advice of older ladies used to drive me nuts because it seemed so out of touch with what medical science tells us now, but even that I've learned to vlaue if only because it offers an insight into the cultural changes of the last forty years, as well as a chance to learn what women who came before me went through.

But having taken that moment to embrace the Mother Love in us all, I gotta say, there are some crazy people out there saying some crazy stuff. The craziest tend to be the ones who suggest ways to induce labor and the astonishing number of solutions that involve sex. Clearly, the same man who invented stilettos is behind the spread of this rumor. And I love that while sex might not exist as far as polite conversation goes about 99% of the time, ladies will approach you in the hall at church and tell you that's just what the doctor ordered. While pregnant with my first kid, I worked retail at The Limited and it was so funny the number of nice Mormon women who would take a look at my eight months pregnant belly and offer a variation on, "Oh, you should go home and eat some Mexican food for lunch, have sex and that baby will come right out." Okay....

And then of course there were the castor oil suggestions which modern OBs and midwives will violently reject as a solution. After a graphic explanation of the side effects during labor, uh...I get it. Exercise is another popular suggestion. "Go jogging. That'll get him out."

'Kay. Have you seen my stomach? It protrudes so far that I'm not capable of lifting my knees high enough for more than an imitation of a casual walk. On my very best non-pregnant days, I do not jog. It's not happening now. But thanks.

I like the suggestions for what to feed the baby to get him to calm down. There's the classic, "Rub a little whiskey on his gums," to "Oh, I give all my babies a nice dose of NyQuil before we fly." And the range of teething suggestions is endless and varied. "Give him an old sock." Ew. "Let him chew on soup bones." Except I'm ignorant and don't know what constitutes a soup bone.

I doubt I'll have to start thinking about any of this again for another year, at least. But I swear the next time I'm pregnant, I'm going to have to start a blog just to keep track of all the crazy advice I get about birthing a kid. And I'll have to include the "wisdom" I've been guilty of imparting. You know, gems like, "Definitely get a crib mobile. It's like crack for babies." Stuff that really helps.

Thanks for a record-setting Friday. The funk is over. But it's still seven to move on today, people.


Don said...

I confess to giving unsolicited pregnancy advice, but only one little nugget of wisdom, as told to me by my dear wife who suffered 3 years of morning sickness while bearing our two little girls. Don't ask.

The advice is this - chocolate milk is good to drink if you feel like you're going to lose your food. Half the time it will settle the stomach and allow the food to stay down.

The times it doesn't keep the food down, well let's just say chocolate milk the second time around is much less nasty than whatever else was already down there.

And now I'll shut up.

Heather of the EO said...

When I was pregnant with Asher a man with twins stopped me and asked if I had two in there. I said no. He said "wow, you are so huge, that's gotta be at least a ten pounder. Good luck!"
I was all, WHATEVER. And then Asher was 10 lbs. 10 oz. HA!
I don't think anyone could have given me enough advice to get that kid out! :)

Eowyn said...

I love that nugget of Don's. I am all for you keeping a log of the random unsolicited advice.

I've never given advice on how to get them out because my body hasn't worked right to get it out on it's own yet. I've had to be induced one way or another every time. Me and Pitocin are bestest friends. . .course that's a friendship I'd prefer not have. . .

Julie Wright said...

ah pregnancy advice . . . love it! I always thought the funny part of being pregnant was that no one considered you off limits. Perfect strangers would come up and rub my belly as though that was just fine to do. Very odd thing pregnancy.

Kimberly said...

Sounds like a good book concept to me!

I found the worst to be if I said I was tired women would comment cynically/bitterly, "Just wait till the baby comes, honey."

Yeah...really helpful. Thanks for that.

Alison Wonderland said...

Oh Kimberly, I totally do that. I don't really mean to, it just... comes out.

Nancy said...

Don't let the doctor go home for dinner on your 9th baby! ...what a doofus!