Wednesday, March 6, 2013

When your coworkers find out you are pregnant

My husband and I were trying to conceive for almost two years, and during that time I didn't tell a lot of people about it. I especially didn't tell my coworkers. It's bad enough to have to give updates to your family, I didn't want to endure the questions from the people I worked with.
Leading up to, and immediately following becoming pregnant, I had a lot of doctor appointments. I'm sure my manager had some ideas in her mind, but I was still surprised when she actually asked me! We were alone at our desks, and when she said "can I ask you something" I thought 'I sure hope she doesn't ask if I'm pregnant', but of course that's what the question was. She said it was because of all my additional snacking and appointments. I let her know that I wasn't ready to tell anyone else, it was still pretty early. If I had my choice I would have waited until I was closer to 15 weeks to tell anyone at work.
Once I did let my team know, and the word started spreading, I definitely became more conscious, and probably more sensitive, to people's comments and glances.

From my experience being pregnant while working, here are some things that I would suggest you never say to a pregnant woman.

"I've noticed your face getting fuller, especially with your hair like that."

"When you stood up I could tell you were sticking out more."

"Did I leave enough space for you? I'm going to open the fridge door and I wanted to make sure I left enough space for you and your little family."

It's best not to announce someone's pregnancy to another person while that pregnant person is in the room. For instance, I'm pregnant and eating lunch, coworker A says to coworker B "Hey did you hear the good news? Emily is pregnant." Even though coworker A knows that I'm pregnant, it doesn't mean that we are friends and that she can share my news with people. I can't help who she tells on her own, but while I'm in the room, it's my news, I should be the one to announce it, because what if I didn't want coworker B to know?

Don't say to a pregnant woman, especially early on in the pregnancy "I'm so glad that Alan now knows that you are pregnant. He's been coming by for months asking if you were pregnant!" It might sound innocent, but what it really means is that people have been thinking you've looked pregnant for months, even those months when you thought you were hiding it. Also, it means that everyone is staring at your stomach, all of the time.

Early in someone's pregnancy, don't say "You really are popping out" or "Looks like the kid wants to get out" or "Wow you are starting to get big" especially if you are not close friends with this person, and most especially as coworkers. No one wants their stomach or body type analyzed. It would be better to just say, "You look awesome today" or "You look really great", use positive terminology. A pregnant woman knows that her body is getting bigger, but she does not need everyone pointing it out to her, as if she doesn't realize her stomach is sticking out.
If I don't know you at all, and you are my coworker, don't walk into a room and say "You're getting bigger" or ask "Has your doctor told you how much weight you can gain?"

After discussing with a friend my issues with certain people at work talking to me about my pregnancy I realized that I have some issues with getting big from pregnancy. I've said in my home life that I'm looking forward to a big pregnant belly and have joked about it, but when it comes to work I have hated anyone saying anything about my growing belly. I realized that a lot of this comes from my issues with weight that I've had for a few years. Being in the work place I have always tried to hide my weight and avoid any conversations about working out or the way people look. I mostly don't want to bring my coworkers into that part of my life. But while I was pregnant that was what everyone was focusing on and it made it hard to enjoy pregnancy and working.

It's an age old problem of what do you say to a pregnant woman. Ultimately it comes down to thinking before you speak. What is the most appropriate comment for the situation. What you think is funny might be completely offensive to someone who is pregnant.

As a former pregnant person who experienced some really ridiculous comments, I'm here to say yes, it does happen, but also that you should try to not let it bother you. Not letting it bother you is definitely hard, but just remember that pregnancy is an amazing experience, and it is your experience. It is unfortunate that people can be so rude, but it is also unfortunate that they seem ignorant about their rudeness. I have also experienced ridiculous comments after being pregnant, such as "are you pregnant again?" I thought that was a question people knew never to ask! To me this is the worst, to be asked if you are pregnant when you are not. The lessons I have learned is to always be positive in comments to a pregnant woman, and never ask a women if she is pregnant, ever. There are other ways of getting that information, and ultimately, it's none of your business anyway.

A good article on How to handle rude comments from BabyCenter.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Rest for mom?

I'm about a year behind on reading my magazines, but yesterday I ready "Rest for the Weary" in my Parents magazine, it's from March 2012.

The article gave some good suggestions on getting some quiet breaks during the day. The breaks they suggest are about doing nothing, or just about nothing, and I think that's one thing I don't often think about doing.

The first suggestion was what caught my attention. The article indicated that "people who close their eyes for eight minutes and let their minds wander show measurable brain activity in the area where long-term memories are formed." The plan is once your baby is down for a nap, don't rush to check Facebook or to change the laundry, take 10 minutes and relax on the couch, but be sure to close your eyes while you do it. The point isn't getting a quick nap, even though it might happen, it's to take a few minutes and have some quiet time. I definitely haven't thought about doing this. My thought has always been if I don't have time for a full fledged nap while my daughter is napping, then I better do something productive with my time, or semi-productive and catch up on my computer things, or do the dishes/laundry/clean, etc. But I have started trying to at least lay down on the couch for part of her nap and I have definitely felt better after; rather than if I ran around trying to get everything done.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Breast Feeding

When I was younger I thought breast feeding was super strange and I decided I wasn't going to do it. When I finally became pregnant 15 or more years later I realized my view on breast feeding had completely changed. As an adult I learned and realized that breast feeding was more than just providing food for your baby, it was also about the bond between baby and mother that was created.

I knew from other's experiences that breast feeding wasn't always easy. Sometimes the baby needs a lot of help to latch correctly and to actually get enough milk. Other times your body and your milk doesn't cooperate, and your milk never lets down. I have found that a lot of problems I have heard about could have been mitigated with more breast feeding education, a visit with a lactation expert, and a really good pump.

Since I decided that I wanted breast feeding to work for me, I chose to educate and prepare myself as much as I could before my baby was born. The hospital network near me offers lots of classes, including a breastfeeding class. It was one night and husbands were encouraged to attend, because their support is helpful when things get tough. They also recommended having the lactation consultant at the hospital meet with you individually to make sure everything was working correctly. In the class we learned about proper placement of the baby's head and mouth, and effective ways of holding the baby during feedings. One very important thing we learned is that breast feeding should not hurt, if it hurts then the baby's latch was wrong. The baby should be sucking on the entire aeriola not just the nipple.