During these seven months of pregnancy, I have read so many things that every pregnant woman does not want you to say or do. I have not come across a single piece of advice for what to say to an expectant mom. Understandably, starting any conversation with a mom-to-be could strike terror into your heart because hormonal rage really exists. Fear not, though -- there are some things you can say to a pregnant woman that won't make her want to cut out your tongue.
1. "Don't worry, you will sleep again."
One of the biggest complaints I have as a first-time mom is hearing the horror stories about years of sleepless nights. A random veteran mom actually said these magic words to me instead of telling me about the life of sleep deprivation that follows. After months of hearing that sleep is a thing of the past, I wanted to throw myself at this woman's feet and thank her profusely for telling me this gem.
2. "Pregnancy is a b*tch."
Amen. Growing a human is hard work. I hate when women refer to pregnancy as a magical time. No, there are no unicorns riding on rainbows here. There is a massive amount of vomit, sweating and discomfort. I'm sure there are women out there who never had morning sickness and didn't find themselves waddling to the bathroom constantly, but most pregnant ladies are not that lucky. By seven months in, the magic of creating a life has been overtaken by constant heartburn, food aversions, nausea and pregnancy burnout. If you tell me how easy pregnancy was, you'll make me feel like I am already failing at this parenthood thing because I am not skipping through my pregnancy picking flowers and farting glitter. Just walk away before those words come out.
3. "What do you want for dinner?" or "What don't you want for dinner?"
OK, this is really common sense, but if we have plans to eat together at this juncture in my life, ask me first if I have any preferences. It's not that I am trying to be high maintenance here, but if you want to go to a diner and think about ordering scrambled eggs in front of me, there's a good chance I will heave all over you. Really, I am trying to save us both some discomfort.
4. "Don't worry about the labor. Mine wasn't bad. I didn't even know I was in labor until I was 5 centimeters dilated and by the time I got to the hospital it was time to push."
Yes, this seems to contradict item 2 on the list, but if you think my belly has a sign on it that asks you to tell me your labor story, you'd better check for the fine print. I only want to hear your labor story if it was short, sweet and minimally painful. Those stories give me hope that mine too will be short and minimally painful. If, on the other hand, you labored for a month and had an 18th degree tear, I really don't want to hear about it.
5. "Losing the pregnancy weight wasn't bad. It came right off."
I am heavier than I have ever been and now require a crane to pick myself up off the couch. My belly is so big it has its own zip code. I rarely see my toes. I'd like to think that I will not be hanging onto the baby belly forever. I don't care if this is delusional and I am more likely to win the lottery and birth a litter of puppies than I am to have good abs ever again. Don't dash my dreams.
6. "It's no one's business how you choose to feed your baby. As long as the baby is getting fed, what does it matter to anyone else?"
Before I got pregnant, my boobs were very rarely the subject of discussion. The second I started to show, they became a highly contentious topic of conversation in regards to feeding my baby that even complete strangers felt compelled to weigh in on. Why do you care so much what I do with my ladies or how I feed my child? Does this affect you in any way, shape or form? If I say I plan to formula feed, will you automatically judge me for not choosing the healthiest option for my baby? If I say I plan to breastfeed, will you consider me a sanctimommy? Either way, the way I choose to feed my baby is none of your business, and I pledge my undying love to you if you acknowledge that rather than telling me what I should do.
7. "You look beautiful."
This one goes out to all the significant others of pregnant women out there. I am very well aware of the fact that I look like I swallowed a beach ball and made out with an oil slick. You win infinite points if you not only don't point these things out to me, but also actually tell me that I am beautiful. You get my undying love and gratitude if you actually mean it. However, I don't care if you are lying and think I look like a beached whale in the last throes of life. Don't tell me, and whatever you do, don't make a reference to how big I am. Do you really think I don't know?
8. "How are YOU?"
No, don't ask me how I am feeling or say something to let me know that you see me only as a baby brewery at the moment. Instead, show genuine interest in how I am, how my job is going or what movies I have seen lately. I am still the same person I was before I got pregnant, just a lot bigger and slightly more hormonal. I'd love to talk about something related to me that is totally unrelated to gestating.
A study published in the journal Infant Behavior & Development revealed that the standard "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby" has little to do with reality. When 253 college students were asked to rank photos of the same individuals as infants and young adults (without being told who was who), there was no relationship between how cute the students found the babies and how attractive they found the grown-ups.
No, really, it's true. It doesn't matter how many times you've heard the shout "Mine!" -- research shows babies can sense fairness at 15 months. During one study at the University of Washington, 47 babies observed videos of an experimenter distributing milk and crackers to two people. When one recipient received more food than the other, the babies paid more attention. That means they had expected a fair distribution. The researchers also found that babies who did notice unfairness were more likely to share their own toys.
OK, so they're not exactly psychic. But a recent study from the University of Missouri found that babies just 10 months old are starting to follow the thought processes of others. Yuyan Luo, an associate professor of developmental psychology who conducted the study, tells The Huffington Post, "Babies, like adults, when they see something for the first time -- when something is surprising -- they look for a long time. It shows [they recognize] something is inconsistent." It's called the "violation of expectation," she explained. When babies are surprised by something or notice something unexpected has happened, they tend to gaze at that thing longer. In Luo's research, babies watched actors consistently choose object A (such as a block or a cylinder) over object B. When an actor then switched to object B, the babies stared for about five to six seconds longer, meaning they recognized the change in preference.
Don't judge a book by its cover. Treat all people the same. We're all equals. These are sentiments parents strive to teach their kids from a very young age. And they should. Starting, like, immediately. Researchers at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom found that babies at three months begin showing a preference for the faces of people of their own race. But not all hope for equality is lost. The same study showed that babies who are exposed to people of all different races are less likely to develop bias at such an early age.
Researchers from Brigham Young University found that five-month-old babies can identify an upbeat song as being different from a series of sad, slow songs. In other words, they are happy. They know it. They will clap their hands. Or stare longer, as the case may be. The experimenters showed babies an emotionless face while music played. When they played a new sad song, the babies looked away. When the music pepped up, the babies stared for three to four seconds longer.
Babies have a sense of morality at six months old, say Yale researchers. During the Yale study, babies watched a puppet show in which a wooden shape with eyes tried to climb a hill over and over again. Sometimes a second puppet helped him up the hill, and other times a third puppet pushed him down. After watching the act several times, the babies were presented with both puppets. They showed a clear preference for the good characters over the bad ones by reaching to play with the good puppet.
Dr. Janet Werker of the University of British Columbia, who studies how babies perceive language, found that if a mother spoke two languages while pregnant, her infant could recognize the difference between the two. And they don't even have to be spoken out loud. Werker's research found that infants four to six months old can visually discriminate two languages when watching muted videos of someone speaking both.
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