Surviving Questions and Comments from Strangers

by Ashley on January 9, 2013

What a year this is going to be.

Not only did we not die during the Mayan apocalypse late last year, some of us, including me, will be adding to the world’s head count this year.

As a quick aside, here are answers to the FAQ:

We’re due Feb. 8.

Yes, we’re both excited. (Why on earth is “are you excited” a frequently asked question? How awkward would it be for me to say no?)

I’m still feeling good for the most part. Nothing a handful of Tums and a belly band won’t fix.

No, we don’t know the gender. And yes, I realize you think I’m crazy.

Yes, I know I’ve “gotten so big!”

No, we aren’t sharing baby names until one of them is written on the birth certificate. Don’t take it personally. Not even our parents know.

Moving on.

Things I Could Live Without

I was talking with an acquaintance recently about how quickly the due date is approaching. We were having a nice chat about how excited I am (?!), our parents visiting, and all that comes along with having a baby.

Then, the conversation took a weird turn.

She mentioned that raising children was hard, and I said that yes, that’s what everyone has told me. That it’s one of the most challenging but also one of the most rewarding things I’ll ever do.

Now, maybe that’s just what you say to people who are having their first child. Maybe it’s to ease their fears, I don’t know. I heard it a lot when I was still undecided about having children.

(I think those parents were just trying to trick me into joining their misery, but I digress.)


So I said I’d heard it was both challenging and rewarding. And she says, point blank:

“Oh, no, it’s not very rewarding. That’s not a universal experience.”

Uh, what?

She did follow it up with a comment about how much it does for you and for the child. But seriously, who says that to a first-time mother-to-be?


I don’t know what it is about people wanting to share their baby-related horror stories with pregnant women.

In a way, I guess it’s nice to know what types of things I might expect. And it’s been a relief to hear that other parents mess up, so I don’t worry as much about failing to be the perfect mom.

I can live with the horror stories because those are just stories. True stories, mind you, but only single events. Not an overall feeling that the experience of child-rearing is not worth the effort.

Perhaps this woman’s experience wasn’t what she hoped it would be, or maybe she wasn’t ever intending to be a mother and just ended up in that situation.

Had I been talking with a close friend, it might have been different. I’d feel more like she was confiding in me, rather than turning into Debbie Downer in the hallway.

Maybe I’m too much of a pleaser. I like to make people around me feel good, happy, encouraged. I wouldn’t lie to make that happen, but I’d at least keep quiet if I didn’t have something more uplifting to say, especially to someone I barely know.

Does this make me superficial? Am I overreacting?



Now I know what to say to you when I see you (ha ha). I think you will do just fine, Ashley. You guys are going to be great parents!

by Mary on January 9, 2013 at 8:25 pm. Reply #

Hey Mary – thanks for your vote of confidence! We are looking forward to the challenge 🙂

by Ashley on January 9, 2013 at 10:49 pm. Reply #

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