How to Handle Pregnancy Comments and Survive Unwanted Advice this Holiday Season
Thanksgiving and the holidays are a fun time to celebrate with friends, family and coworkers—but it can also be the most annoying time for unwanted pregnancy comments, questions and conversations.
Although you probably deal with these annoyances on a daily basis, attending parties means that you’ll have to deal with many of these irritations in a short amount of time—many of them from strangers.
In this post, we’ll tell you how to handle the annoyances of the holiday season, including unwanted advice, touching, comments, nosy questions and controversial arguments.
When you attend family holiday parties or company holiday events, you may notice that some women seemingly know everything about pregnancy—and they need to share it with you. Even if they mean well, it can get annoying.
Their unwanted advice may be about:
- Financial planning for the baby
- Nutrition dos and don’ts
- Exercise dos and don’ts
Sometimes the advice may be more specific and intrusive. For example, if you pick up a cup of coffee or a soda, someone may say “you know you’re not supposed to drink caffeine during pregnancy, right?” Eyebrows may also raise when you consume other “controversial” foods, such as shellfish or soft cheese.
When the pregnancy advice is getting hard to bare, here’s what you can do:
- Remind yourself of their intentions— Good intentions don’t excuse bad behavior. However, when you consider that people just want the best for your baby, your annoyance levels may decrease.
- Remind yourself that they don’t know it all— If you’re feeling shamed by someone’s advice, remember that they can only draw advice from their own experience and knowledge. Because every pregnancy is different, it isn’t necessarily the right advice for you.
- Educate them— When someone plays “know it all” when they clearly don’t, you can educate them with the truth. For example, if someone tells you that you should stay away from caffeine, you can tell them that studies show up to 200mg is okay (which is the equivalent to two cups of coffee). Most people will back down at this point because they realize that you’ve done more research than them.
- Tell them you’re doing your best— If the advice they’re giving makes sense, you can simply tell them that you already know what’s recommended, but that you’re trying your best and doing what’s best for your baby. This may sound something like, “I get advice from everyone about pregnancy and I understand they care, but I’m already doing my best.” Many people will understand that this is a nice way of telling them to be quiet.
- Make a wrap-up comment— Instead of letting them know their advice was right or wrong, simply say “we’ll consider that” or “thanks, we know that advice was learned over your years as a parent.”
- Leave the conversation— If you’re not one for confrontation, you can avoid the conversation altogether by making an excuse to leave it. For example, you can say you need to go to the washroom, that you need to get a drink because you’re feeling dehydrated or that you just saw someone you need to speak to. After they go on their advice tangent, you can say “Yeah, sorry, I just have to run to the washroom.”
Pregnancy can bring about a lot of controversial topics. When you’re at a holiday party, you may notice that there’s no shortage of opinions—and this could lead to some unintended debates. For example, someone who advocates for natural birth may shame you for wanting an epidural. Being understandably upset, you may argue back with reasons why an epidural is needed.
Sometimes, the debate may not even involve you. If you’re hanging out with a group of women discussing your pregnancy, disagreements can happen. For example, if someone gives you the advice to breastfeed, another woman may share her opinions on how bottle feeding can be okay.
If the debating goes on, you may feel irritated and the need to escape. If you’re ever stuck in one of these situations, here’s what you can do:
- Try to end it— Whether it’s you or other people debating, you can try to end the argument by saying, “My decision is to X, but I think the right decision depends on the woman and what they’re comfortable with, so I don’t want to talk about it anymore.”
- Say it’s the doctor’s orders— When you’re debating over something, you can say “my doctor and I went over the pros and cons of X and we decided that this is the best decision for me personally.”
- Exit— If it’s other people debating amongst themselves, this will probably be pretty easy. During intense debates, sometimes you can just walk away without saying anything. If you’re the one debating, say you need to use the washroom and walk away.
One of the most irritating things during pregnancy may be the random strangers feeling the need to touch your belly. If you can tolerate this from day to day, you may find yourself boiling over at a holiday party where there seems to be a lineup of people waiting to say hi to the baby. When people ask to touch your belly, you can politely decline by saying:
- “Sorry, it puts pressure on my bladder.”
- “Sorry, my baby seems to be irritated at touching lately.”
- “I’m not feeling 100%, so it’s probably not a good idea.”
- “With everyone asking me that, I feel like I’m an animal at the zoo!” (while laughing)
If someone doesn’t ask and they automatically reach out, you can:
- Step back and give one of the above excuses
- Step back and shake their hand
- Step back and start coughing (people usually don’t want to be around sick people)
- Step back and say you need to go to the washroom
It’s important to remember that it’s your body and you get to decide who can touch your baby belly. You don’t need to be apologetic about that. A simple “I prefer not to be touched” can get right to the point.
Supervision Around Alcohol
At almost every holiday party you attend, the alcohol will be flowing. You may notice that people tend to stare at you whenever you get close to the bar (even if you just order a soda). If you clean up a drink, you may get dirty looks if someone thinks it’s yours. And you may also need to deal with drinking-related comments such as “guess you can’t drink for a while” or “how are you dealing with not drinking?” Here’s what you can do:
- Short answers— If someone asks an obvious drinking-related question or makes a comment that annoys you, just be short. For example, say “yeah” or “good” and walk away.
- Ignore it— If others are giving you dirty looks from afar, you may want to turn around and yell at them. However, it’s better to just ignore them and continue enjoying your night.
Unwanted Compliments and Comments
You may get a few compliments every day, but when they’re piled up into a few hours at a party, it can be exhausting and difficult to handle.
- If it’s a questionable compliment or comment—such as “you look like you’re about to pop”—you can unpleasantly respond with “I’m not sure if I should be insulted.”
- If it’s a cliché compliment you’re tired of receiving—such as “you’re glowing”—you can sigh and say “I’ve been getting that a lot lately.” The person will usually stop making cliché comments.
- If you just don’t want to deal with it, you can say “thanks” and make an excuse to walk away.
Unwanted Pregnancy Questions
By the time you’re a few months into your pregnancy, you can practically predict the list of questions each person asks. Although they may be good-natured, many women get tired of answering the same set of questions over and over.
Questions may include:
- How far along are you?
- Is it a boy or a girl?
- Are you suffering from morning sickness/any other pregnancy symptoms?
- What’s your birth plan?
- Are you giving birth in a hospital or at home?
- Do you have a midwife?
- Are you going to breastfeed?
- Was it planned?
Just reading the list is exhausting. If you don’t want to recite the answers to each person, here’s some suggestions:
- Tell them how you feel— When someone asks you a question, give them a short answer, laugh and say “so many people have been asking me that question tonight, it’s a little overwhelming.” If you smile while you say it, the person probably won’t take offense, but they’re also likely to stop their line of questioning.
- Change the topic— Instead of answering, say something like “I’ve talked a lot about my pregnancy tonight, let’s talk about you! How’s that new position at work going?”
- Ask them why they asked— If the question is nosy or rude, you can respond by saying “why do you ask?” or “that’s kind of personal.”
- Exit— Another option is to give a short answer and say something like “sorry, I need to use the washroom.”
How do you plan on handling unwanted comments and advice during the holidays? Leave your tips below! If you have any pregnant friends, be sure to share this post with them, too!
P.S. Be sure to put our fetal heartbeat monitor on your wish list this season! These handheld devices allow you to listen to your baby’s heartbeat while she’s still inside the womb—similar to an ultrasound. You can check them out here.