“Hi, how are you?”
How many times have you heard that as a greeting ritual and were fairly certain the person asking didn’t care about the answer?
Okay good, so it’s not just the people in my life. Whew.
Like me, did the “how are you’s?” change as soon as your pregnancy was public knowledge?
At first, I didn’t really notice. My first trimester was a delusion. I spent a lot of quality time with my toilet bowl, and frankly, any other inanimate object that was good for holding vomit. I hid away from triggering smells, people, and conquered all of Sex and the City while in a horizontal burrito.
When I emerged from my dark cave into the light that was my second trimester and began conversing with other humans, almost every single conversation started like this:
“Hi, how are you feeling? Are you craving anything?”
Then I started to think…is this just one of those things people say and don’t really care about the answer…or do they legitimately want to know what I’m stuffing in my face?
The more I gave my textbook answer, “nothing really, food is kinda, whatever,” the more I felt frustrated with the colloquialisms of pregnancy and motherhood.
Don’t get me wrong. This girl will talk your ear off about food any day (shout out to tacos!), but why didn’t anyone want to know anything different? Anything deeper?
What did I think my daughter was going to look like? Had I seen her in any dreams yet? What am I most looking forward to when I become a mother for the first time? How am I handling this transition into the next chapter of my life? Do I need anything?
The more we ask each other these questions, the more we shed light on the entire spectrum that is pregnancy, post-partum and motherhood. If our entire 40 weeks is boiled down to a food, we are missing the opportunity to create healthy conversations around mental health, self-love, and big fucking life transformations.
The next time you are connecting with a new mama or mama to be, take a step back, consider the following five lines, and don’t fall into the rhetoric that we’ve all accepted as “things people say.”
What are you craving?
Hey, some of us needed Taco Bell at 2 AM and others of us carried on our merry way without much yearning for that “one thing.” It’s also fun to compare notes with other women, but please don’t let this be the only thing we are sharing.
Get ready to never sleep again!
Everyone knows parents are tired. It comes with the territory. Newsflash: It is physically impossible to stay awake from the moment you become a parent until your last moment on earth. Hehe. But seriously, why are we so quick to bask in the negative? Instead, wouldn’t it be much more helpful to say, “if you ever need any advice on what worked for us, just let me know and we are here to help.”
Your life is over.
Welcome to the next 18 years of being a slave to your child. Not! As parents, our lives are not over, in fact, they are just beginning. Yes, perhaps there are losses to be mourned, but again, why are we so quick to jump to the negative extremes? Instead, let’s welcome new parents with the truth: Life is about to become technicolor.
How is she sleeping?
Why do we always ask new parents this? Is a newborn baby’s sleep patterns a reflection on the parent or child’s worth? Do we really mean, “how are you holding up with the new life routines?” Why can’t we just ask that instead?
Just wait ‘til he’s walking.
Caitlin and I have talked a lot about this one, and she said it best. Watching her daughter walk has been amazing because she is so full of joy. We all need more joy. When our children start to walk, they are zipping through new environments at astronomical speeds (to them). Everything is a learning experience. Everything is beautiful. Let’s remove the frustrations (and backaches) we have from chasing them around and shift the perception to a place of joy.
Maybe we don’t really want to know the answers to because going deeper in conversation about pregnancy and motherhood leaves us vulnerable. But isn’t that where the magic happens? Where there is vulnerability there is deeper understanding and connection. A few things we may all need a little more than we’d like to admit.