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15 Things To Remember When Your Loved One Is Pregnant

15 Things To Remember When Your Loved One Is Pregnant

Very few things in life hold such a profound significance and bring on such big changes as going through pregnancy. It not only affects the woman and her partner, but all the people in their lives. It’s true that the an expecting mother has a certain glow about her, but the miracle of life comes with a long list of side-effects that you have to have to keep in mind if a loved one is pregnant. It can be someone challenging at times to stay on a pregnant woman’s good side, so it is important to remember a few things about women who are carrying a child.

1. They can develop a powerful nesting instinct

Some women can develop a strong urge to clean up and decorate their home for the newborn, particularly during the first trimester. It’s only logical that some changes have to be made to accommodate another member of the family, but don’t be surprised if most of a pregnant woman’s day consists of looking for baby stuff, talking about baby stuff, rearranging furniture, shopping for furniture and paint and so on. It’s best to just play along and offer a helping hand, but stay out of her way when it comes to big interior decoration decisions.

2. They can also become incredibly lazy and expect plenty of help

While there might be a strong nesting instinct in one group of pregnant women, others will start to get increasingly lazier. You will be expected, if not outright asked, to help out with the chores, which usually means doing the lion’s share of the work. With some luck you’ll probably be able to avoid big problems around the house, e.g. parts of it rotting away, and a few DIY home maintenance tips can help you keep things relatively tidy – don’t expect to be able to keep the home spotless, and don’t moan about her not helping.

3. They will get annoyed if you get overprotective

Here’s the kicker, pregnant women are quite the paradox, and depending on the woman things can go a few different ways. Some may expect help and not really be up to any type of physical work, while some will want to do some chores and stay active, but in most cases they won’t appreciate you treating them like a small child. If you become overprotective and just want them to sit around all day, lest they strain themselves from pouring a glass of water, you will get the full brunt of their pregnant rage (a phenomenon that has its own separate entry on this list). Lend a helping hand when needed, but don’t be overprotective.

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4. They get incredibly absent-minded

To picture how foggy a pregnant mind can get at times, imagine going to school or work after only 4-5 hours of sleep at night for a couple of consecutive days. If you have been there, you know how sluggish your brain can get, and how going from room to room is a sure way to forget what you needed or misplace something that you were carrying. A pregnant woman can get fairly absent-minded, so don’t expect her to tell you where she left the keys, and be sure to check if the oven is off if she was cooking in the kitchen.

5. They go from happy to boiling with rage to sad within minutes

Mood swings during pregnancy are a real thing, and a big, tearful, messy heap of a real thing at that. She will be just sitting there, watching her favorite show one minute, then before you know it she is crying – it might be a particularly emotional scene her hormones reacting to, or she may have seen a sad puppy in a commercial. Brace yourself, keep calm and weather the storm.

6. They will often stop mid-sentence and run off to the bathroom

You may not even get to hear her sad puppy story, because, statistically speaking, she needs to pee right now. No seriously, hold that thought, she’s already out the door and running down the hall. As the pregnancy progresses and the baby gets larger, it starts to press on her bladder and she will be cutting you off mid-sentence to go to the bathroom – every hour on the hour, like clockwork.

7. They can transfer their weird eating habits onto you

Everyone knows that pregnant women can get some very weird cravings and that they need to eat for two. It’s only natural, as the mommy and baby need a wide range of nutrients and plenty of calories. You know who doesn’t need all those extra calories? You. In a lot of cases a pregnant woman’s appetite can become contagious, affecting all those who spend a lot of time with her. It’s easy to start munching on some of the snacks that are always lying around, so be careful if you don’t want to put on a few extra pounds yourself.

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8. They don’t appreciate you being Captain Obvious and mentioning their size

I don’t know what it is with people, but someone always has to point out weight and size changes to a loved one who is pregnant. While a life partner commenting on the impressive size of her breasts is usually well-received, flat out saying something like: “Wow, look at how big you’ve got” or “Who says white girls don’t have booty, look at that thing” is frowned upon by the childbearing community – and by frowned upon I mean “you will get hurt if you don’t move out of the way of incoming projectiles fast enough”.

9. They instantly win any argument and that’s OK

Too tired from work to go get a tub of ice cream, Pringles and a burrito? She’s carrying your child, you insensitive bastard! Can’t help your pregnant sister by massaging her feet? Wow, I guess she can just spend the rest of the day in pain because her little sister is too busy texting – wait till the rest of the family hear about this. Why would you say that Twilight sucks? You know you shouldn’t upset a pregnant woman, what with her hormones raging and all. What’s wrong with you? You see, at some point every pregnant woman is going to abuse her total immunity to losing arguments, but it’s just something that you’ll have to get used to.

10. They won’t be able to fit into their shoes so expect to give foot massages

The foot massage comment in the last paragraph wasn’t just random – during pregnancy, a woman will gain some fat, but she will also hold a whole lot of water weight, and her blood can have trouble getting back to the heart effectively because the uterus is pressing on certain veins. This means that her ankles and feet will swell up, and some of the things she can do to combat the swelling is to stay of her feet, elevate them above heart level and massage them. So, get ready for some serious massaging.

11. They will lash out at you for the tiniest of things

We’ve already gone through the mood swings in a previous paragraph, but it is important to stress just how irritable and aggressive pregnant women can get. Oh, the hate, the unbridled anger that a sock left on the floor can cause. Have you mispronounced a word, or maybe you were talking too loudly or mumbling unintelligibly, or, heaven forbid, left a bottle of soda open? Well, be prepared for a long lecture or some screaming, because here comes the rage. It’s best to stay calm and relaxed, politely tell her that she is getting incredibly worked up over nothing and proceed to evacuate the area – say you’re going for ice cream and take your time.

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12. They become bored sitting around the house and need company

While the best way to avoid trouble is simply not being there, you can’t use that tactic all the time. You’ll need to help her out around the house, but more importantly, she will need someone to talk to and someone that she can have fun with. There’s not a lot of fun and exciting activities a woman can do in the later stages of pregnancy – she can’t exactly go running, have a few drinks with friends or dance the night away – so it’s up to the people who love her and care about her to provide some fun for her. If she wants to talk about babies for an hour, then so be it. Speaking of which.

13. They will do tons of research and keep talking about baby stuff

New mothers want to know all they can about pregnancy, childbirth, childcare and all sorts of baby-related stuff, and the internet allows them to do tons and tons of research on the subject. As with anyone who starts delving deeper into a subject and spending a few hours a day learning about it in detail, pregnant women will talk endlessly about baby stuff. They will manage to turn any conversation into a baby conversation within a few sentences. Go ahead, try talking to them about anything that comes to mind and time how much it takes for them to start the baby talk. Get in a few sentences on the topic you enjoy while you can, and then strap on because you’re in for a long ride.

14. They don’t like hearing pregnancy and parenting horror stories

Pregnant women are not the only ones who like to talk about children. Couples with kids love giving out advice to new parents, which can be quite helpful and is usually appreciated, but more often than not the conversation goes south and they end up talking about things like not getting any sleep, difficulties during labor and all kinds of negative things. Sure, they’re just venting a bit of frustration or trying to prepare the new mother, but she doesn’t want to hear about that kind of stuff. People with horror stories about doctors messing up or similar things they’ve read online should just keep their mouths shut.

15. They are extremely self-conscious and need some reassurance

Not being a jerk and making sure not to point a finger and call a pregnant woman fat is just common sense, but it’s not enough. You have to make an effort to make them feel comfortable, appreciated and beautiful, as they will become self-conscious and all those hormones won’t really help them deal with the physical changes quite so calmly. Once again, there is no need to be overprotective – just keep it straightforward and give them some reassurance.

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It may seem like a loved one who is pregnant is a minefield that should be carefully navigated, but there’s a reason for all this. With all the changes happening so quickly and hormones raging, she will need some help, patience and understanding from her family, but there will be some great moments, and seeing her with that motherly glow can be enough of a reward in itself.

Featured photo credit: Pregnant woman sitting on a bench. on background the children play. warm weather via shutterstock.com

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Ivan Dimitrijevic

Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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Last Updated on October 22, 2020

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

What Makes People Poor Listeners?

Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

How To Be a Better Listener

For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

1. Pay Attention

A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

2. Use Positive Body Language

You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

According to Alan Gurney,[2]

“An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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Be polite and wait your turn!

4. Ask Questions

Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

5. Just Listen

This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

6. Remember and Follow Up

Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

  1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
  2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

8. Maintain Eye Contact

When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

Final Thoughts

Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
[2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
[3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
[4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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