As a second-time mum to be, I sometimes find it irresistible not to offer up advice to first timers, even though I recall how annoying it was to be on the receiving end of the ‘been there, done that’ comments when I was in that position myself.
One can only try not to come across as condescending, but, more often than not, I think that’s EXACTLY the way it comes across.
Or rather, that’s just the way it’s taken.
I just can’t help myself though.
I definitely think that there’s a certain type of over-sensitivity reserved only for pregnancy.
As much as one knows it’s silly; the internal reaction to even the most innocent of comments is still there.
I wasn’t too bad first time round at being touchy, but I’m sure making up for it now that I’m resembling a land locked porpoise in sweat pants.
Take, for example, the classic throwaway comment about size:
“Oh, you’re quite big for only six months.”
“Really? You’re bump is very neat”
Or (my most commonly received):
“Wow, you’re way bigger than last time. But I guess that’s just second babies for you – everything’s a bit more stretched.”
Coz, yeah. That makes it ok for you to point that all out then?
Even if it is true!
I jest. Slightly.
Or rather, am making a conscious effort to laugh it off.
Plus, I find that going into a conversation stating:
“I feel huge this time around”
will nine times out of ten force the person on the other side to react immediately with a retort of:
“No you don’t, you’re looking fab/glowing/blooming”
type response, which, whilst utterly insincere, allows me to move on with my day in a better mood.
But at what point is it ok to pose comments or questions and when is it a step too far?
Another strange one that I encountered the other day was in a beauty parlour.
They were offering a good deal on a pregnancy massage and so I decided to pop in.
As a first time client, I had to fill in the usual medical & disclaimer form, plus a special “all bets are off” pregnancy one.
The pregnancy form asked me a number of quite probing things including:
1) Do I have a birth plan; and
2) Do I feel that I have enough friend and family support in the area.
Before the treatment, the teenaged beauty therapist then sat and went through it all with me.
Worse still, I found myself trying to convince her that I was going to try my best to avoid pain relief if I possibly could.
She nodded along whilst making notes for my file.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought I was there for some oil to be rubbed on my back and a sleep.
Not for a Spanish Inquisition about my nether regions from a small bright orange woman half my age.
This form felt a tad too personal in the context of a beauty treatment.
But I just wanted my god damn massage so just answered as compliantly and efficiently as possible.
In hindsight, I should have asked her what she would have done if I had said no to number 2?
Call salon services?
Perhaps I’m being overly critical.
Why not ask the question?
It comes from a good place, right?
And I answered it.
Technically speaking, this validates it.
Perhaps this line of questioning is merely providing the perfect example of my own pregnancy over-sensitivity or, worse still, could even be a symptom of me fearing stigma around being placed on any kind of mood spectrum right now. By anyone.
I don’t know.
(I’m feeling fine by the way!)
What do you think? TMI or helpful line of questioning in the salon? Are there any situations you find yourselves in where others overstep the prying/straight talking line.