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5 Things You Should Avoid Saying To All Pregnant Women

5 Things You Should Avoid Saying To All Pregnant Women

Being pregnant is an exciting time in a woman’s life, but it can also be nerve-wracking, as well. Unnecessary comments from friends, family, and strangers can contribute added stress. These people might think that they are giving helpful advice, but instead they are just creating extra worry for the pregnant woman.

These remarks are not intentionally meant to be negative, but to pregnant women who are going through numerous physical and emotional changes in their lives already, such comments hinder more than they help.

Even if you were once pregnant, it does not give you the right to say anything you like, and assume you can relate, since every woman’s body reacts to pregnancy differently. A good way to make sure you are saying something positive is to consider how you would react if the question was turned back onto yourself, your sister, or a close friend.

Here are a few things that everyone should avoid saying to pregnant women:

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     1. “This period of pregnancy was really rough on me…”

    Saying this may seem like you’re commiserating with a pregnant woman who may be suffering through debilitating morning sickness in her first trimester or having to deal with the aches and pains of the last few weeks before she gives birth, but it usually has a negative effect. Hold your tongue and instead say something positive and uplifting that will help her get through this difficult time. If you are especially close, ask her if she needs help with anything, from cooking to running errands for her.

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      2. “You look huge…”

      This is a common phrase that is heard around pregnant women, especially in their final trimester, but it is not always encouraging. If a pregnant women looks big, chances are that she feels ten times bigger than she actually is. It is important to be sensitive towards a pregnant woman’s physical appearance and instead ask her neutral questions like, “do you know if it is going to be a girl or a boy?” Taking the focus off of her body and instead asking questions that are likely to bring her joy is an important way of showing your support.

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        3. “[ … ] happened to me at this stage…”

        Comparing your own pregnancy with hers, whether you were pregnant before, or are currently pregnant, is detrimental to all parties involved. Comparison in general is not productive in any situation, especially in terms of a deeply personal experience like pregnancy. Instead of comparing your physical experiences of pregnancy, try to focus on other similarities, like are you both having boys? What about the name selection process? Avoid discussing the process of the actual pregnancy and focus on subjects that are bound to bring you both joy.

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          4. “Pregnant women probably should not […]”

          Any sentence that contains a negative statement like “should not” is an indicator that you are trying to offer your personal opinions on a topic. For pregnant women, they already have enough to worry about in their own minds, without unwanted input from others. Even if you are close friend or a family member, it is important to back-off on the unsolicited advice. If a mother-to-be wants your advice, she will ask for it.

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            5. “Avoid eating […]”

            The list of taboo foods a pregnant woman should avoid is extensive, but telling her that she cannot eat a certain item is more harmful than it is helpful. Her primary doctor should be the only one that consults with her about what she can and cannot eat. Every woman’s body is different during pregnancy and what is fine for one person may not be healthy for another. It is also important to take into consideration that there are different cultural beliefs surrounding a woman’s pregnancy that might influence what a particular woman may consider taboo.

            Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com

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            Published on September 21, 2018

            11 Smart Pieces of Advice to Help You Thrive as a Single Mother

            11 Smart Pieces of Advice to Help You Thrive as a Single Mother

            Becoming a mother is one of the most difficult challenges a woman can take on in her life. Whether this happens the “natural” way, with the help of science, or through adoption, being in charge of nurturing another human being is a herculean task to take on.

            Typically, when we think about parenthood, we imagine two parents sharing the responsibility and having each other to lean on. However, according to the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau, 1 in 4 children under the age of 18 are being raised by a single mother.[1] This is a significant portion of the population that often gets overlooked.

            If you are one of these mothers raising your children on your own, you are undoubtedly aware of the additional challenges that motherhood has placed upon you, including the constant struggle to find sufficient time, energy, money, and support.

            For single mothers who find themselves bogged down by their daily responsibilities and struggle to stay afloat, don’t be fooled by the belief that you have to do all. It is possible to thrive and live as a single mother if you take advantage of all available resources and adjust your priorities based on your situation.

            1. Find your community and ask for help

            As the sole caretaker of your kids, going through the successes and struggles of parenthood can feel isolating and lonely. You have probably developed a strong sense of independence because you’ve had to go at it alone.

            Being self-reliant is necessary in many situations that you have to face, but do not fool yourself into thinking that you don’t need support from others. If you have family nearby, strengthen your relationship with them by visiting and talking more often. Find time to catch up with old friends or co-workers, and don’t assume they don’t want to hang out if they are not parents themselves.

            Would you prefer finding mom friends[2] who have more in common with you? Use resources like apps, Facebook groups, and community events to meet local moms in your area.

            After you have established a support group that you can depend on, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is NOT a sign of weakness or incompetency to admit you can’t do it all, and others are probably more willing to lend a hand than you think.

            If you feel uncomfortable burdening others, suggest trading favors such as taking turns babysitting. Because after all, helping is each other is what community is all about.

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            2. Make peace with the past

            Before you can move forward, you must make peace with your past and not let it define you or rule your life. Whether your journey to single motherhood was through divorce, death, or never having a relationship the father, it is crucial that you leave behind the feelings of abandonment or betrayal you may be struggling with.

            You cannot change the past and the hurt you had to endure, but you can use the strength that you gained from overcoming those obstacles to work towards making the best life for yourself and your child. Learn from the past but live in the present and look towards the future.

            3. Make plans and set goals

            The daily repetition of trying to balance work and home life can make you feel like you are on operating on autopilot. However, it is imperative to set goals for yourself and to keep working towards self-improvement.

            In your personal life, you can set a fitness goal (train for a 5k), a reading goal (read 20 books in a year), or a travel goal (take a trip to Europe). At your job, you can set career goals such as gain leadership experience, get a promotion, or earn a degree or certificate.

            Spend time creating a realistic plan to on how you can go about achieving these goals. Not only will working towards these goals make you a more well-rounded and successful person, they will bring more purpose and fulfillment to your life.

            4. Look for role models

            A great way to jump start your plans for the future is to find a role model or mentor who is further along in their life or career experience. This person can be a great resource when you need guidance on what types of goals to set for yourself and how to achieve them.

            It’s also important to have people to turn to for encouragement during difficult seasons of life. Someone who has been through it before can provide the most genuine reassurance that tough times will get better and that staying positive is best approach.

            5. Rethink your priorities

            Single parents have twice as many responsibilities to take care of, so priorities and expectations must be adjusted accordingly.

            Know that you are not superwoman and striving for a perfectly clean home, no dirty laundry, and home-cooked meals for your kids every day is not a reasonable expectation. It’s okay to take shortcuts sometimes, like serving your kids cereal for dinner or waiting until the next day to wash the dishes.

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            Don’t compare yourself to anyone else and let go of the guilt that you feel for being the only parent that your kids can count on. Give yourself a break and don’t sweat the small stuff.

            6. Make time for me time

            Even though it can be difficult to find, making time for yourself is critical to maintaining your sanity and well-being. Without a built-in partner to take over, finding time to be away from the kids must be done intentionally and planned in advance.

            If you are sharing custody, use the time away from your kids not only doing productive things but also making sure you are taking care of yourself. Sleep, exercise, and balanced diet are not things that can get pushed to the bottom of the priority list. Also make time for fun activities, such as hobbies and creative outlets.

            Even though being a mother is the most important job you have, don’t let it be the only thing that defines you. Time for yourself is more difficult to find if you are the sole caretaker of your kids.

            Use the resources that you have to devote time to self-care, and you and your kids will thank you for it in the long run.

            7. Stay organized

            With so many things to juggle, great organizational skills are an absolute must in order to keep everything moving smoothly. Use apps such as Mint for your finances, Mealime for meal planning, and Cozi as a family organizer for everything from appointments and shopping lists to after school activities.

            Maintain constant contact if you are sharing custody so that it is clearly communicated who will be responsible for what when it comes to your kids. Follow consistent routines in the morning and nighttime so that your kids also know what to expect on a daily basis.

            8. Be flexible (Don’t be a control freak)

            Although it is important to be prepared and stay organized, things don’t always go according to plan.

            When kids get sick and have to stay home or babysitters cancel at the last minute, allow for flexibility by having a contingency plan for childcare and with your employer.

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            For example, make a list of people you can call when you need last minute childcare, or talk to your boss in advance about working from home when emergencies come up.

            Most of all, don’t let unexpected changes stress you out and ruin your day.

            9. Learn to say no (Don’t feel guilty)

            Single mothers have limitations in time, energy and resources that families with two parents wouldn’t be able to understand. Because of these circumstances, it’s important you let go of feelings of guilt and stop trying to do everything and be everywhere.

            You don’t have to say yes to every single birthday party your child is invited to. Your kids don’t have to be involved in sports and extracurricular activities every night of the week.

            Limit the things you do to only the ones that are the most enjoyable and meaningful for you and your family. Doing more things does not make you a better mother; simply a more tired one.

            10. Live within your means

            When you have to raise your family on a single income, budgeting and spending within your means becomes more important than ever.

            If you have outstanding debt that is accruing interest, make it a priority to pay those off as soon as possible. Outlining a budget is the best way to visualize how much money is being spent every month on various things and what is left over.

            Find ways to save money on the necessities by looking for sales at the grocery store, buying some things secondhand, planning out meals.

            After the necessary bills are paid, determine how much can be spent on luxury items such as eating out, vacations, and going to the movies.

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            Don’t let finances be a source of anxiety for you and your family. Keep your bank account in good shape while teaching your kids how to spend money responsibly at the same time.

            11. Spend quality time with your kids

            The time you spend with your kids is so precious and much more limited as a single mother. Make the time that you spend with your kids count.

            Rather than sitting in front of the TV, take them on fun and budget-friendly outings to the park, the playground, or a museum. Use meal times as the perfect excuse to ask them about what they are learning in school and the friends they spend time with.

            When your kids ask you to play with them, look at it as a privilege and an opportunity to bond with them, rather than a distraction or waste of time. Be present when you are with them, with no work or multitasking on your mind. Your relationship with your kids will absolutely reap the benefits.

            Final thoughts

            Being a single mother is not an easy job. That’s why it’s important to use all the resources available to you in order to make this job a little bit easier.

            Using technology, an organization system and a supportive community are just a few examples of things you should utilize to your benefit. It’s also important to shift your mindset and be more practical when it comes to things like priorities and finances.

            Most of all, don’t forget about your own self care. Only when you take care of yourself can you best take care of the people you love.

            Single mothers are some of the most hard-working people out there, and you deserve to have a happy and fulfilling life.

            Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

            Reference

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