To well-meaning strangers

11:45 AM Marcie Parson 2 Comments

After writing this I decided that it sounded kind of whiny and negative and that maybe I shouldn't post it. And for whose benefit was I writing it anyway? Then today I went to get my blood drawn, and the phlebotomist started asking all of these outrageously personal questions. I was shocked yet again. And so I decided, oh what the heck. It happens too much not to share.

Since getting pregnant, I've been shocked at the things people feel are appropriate to say to me. While they may mean well and have great intentions, it never ceases to surprise me how strangers suddenly lose their filters and say whatever they want. So I started to keep a list of all of the things people say to me that I, personally, would feel totally uncomfortable saying to a stranger, and that I think are a tad bit nosy and discouraging if you ask me. Here's a few:

1. So... were you guys trying... or was this an accident? Did you plan this?
As if that is ANY of your business, person I don't know well. I can't even begin to tell you how many people have asked me this. Often attached to #2 about me being too young.

2. How old are you? Are you married? Oh but you're SO young! Wow I can't even imagine having kids at that age, I was a mess.
Thank you for implying that you think I made a mistake and am unprepared. I can't take it back. Sorry.

3. You're due in July? You're going to be SO miserable in the summer. It is going to be so hot. OH you poor thing. [goes on and on]
Can't wait. So much to look forward to!

4. Get as much sleep as you can now! Everything is about to change! You'll never have your life back! Kids are so much work... you'll see! Enjoy your life now while you can!
Thank you. If only you knew how poorly I have been sleeping and how hard this pregnancy has been for me. But sure, I'll try to "enjoy my life now" because apparently it's going downhill from here!

5. You should have one of each and then stop.
Okay yeah I'll tell my husband that I won't accept any more boys. We can totally control that. And the number of kids we end up having is totally your business.

6. And of course, the belly touching. 
While this isn't a comment, it's unbelievably uncomfortable. If I don't know you, please keep your hands to yourself. I've considered responding to a belly rub with reaching out and touching their belly to see how they like it. Thoughts? 

Upon returning from my nightmarish experience getting blood drawn this morning (I'm just bad with needles, plus I had to be fasting, so there was a 100% chance I was going to have a near-pass-out experience), I stumbled upon THIS article someone had shared online, and I think this paragraph summed up my feelings quite nicely:

"People don’t mean to be rude; from their perspective, they’re being honest. They can’t possibly fathom being responsible for a child at a young age, and so they’re skeptical that anyone else could, either. I doubted my own capabilities, entirely based on my age, and these kinds of comments only reinforced my deepest fears. I wondered if everyone knew something I didn’t. Like one day I’d wake up and realize, “Everyone was right. I was too young.”"

Like I said, I know these people mean well, so I don't take any offense. But I am still surprised how bold people are. Some of these things are pretty hard for me to hear, especially on really challenging/emotional days (which I have a lot of). Unfortunately, because of my raging hormones and emotions (why didn't anyone warn me?!), I often let comments sink in and fester, and I wonder if they're right. I wonder if maybe I am too young or maybe I should have waited. Maybe I would have been more prepared. Maybe there were things I should have done first and now I'll never be able to do. Maybe I won't measure up. Maybe I made a mistake.

Luckily I have been taught since a young age that I am a daughter of God. Serving in young women's has been one of the best things for me this year, because it was in young women's that I learned who I am and who I am meant to become, and it is in young women's that I am relearning that I am capable of much more than I realize. In this calling I am constantly reminded of my divine nature and divine potential. One thing I am certain of is that Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us, and I think He's made it clear that this baby boy is part of mine.

A few weeks ago my YW and I memorized Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me," and it has quickly become my new favorite scripture. What a simple reminder that there is peace and strength in the gospel of Jesus Christ. And like my mama always says, "I can do hard things." Even deal with nosy and discouraging strangers.

So the moral of the story is: be encouraging to the next pregnant lady you meet. Tell her to hang in there and how she has so much to look forward to.

And for the love, please don't touch her belly.

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