How to Deal with Unwanted Advice during Your Pregnancy
How to Deal with Wanted and Unwanted Advice during Your Pregnancy
During your pregnancy, you’ll have at least one person who absolutely needs to give you advice on the decisions that you’ve made. Some suggestions can be thoughtful, positive advice that can make a difference in your life. However, some advice is not that positive. It is unsolicited and downright critical of your birth choices and shows the underlying bias of the person who is giving it to you.
The trick to handling critical advice is to realize that the people who are critical of your pregnancy and birth choices are justifying their own birth experience. Subconsciously, people feel that if they can convince others to do as they have done, they do not have to feel guilty about the decisions they have made. You will hear advice on what to eat, what to wear, who should be at your birth, where to birth your baby, who should be your caregiver, breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding, circumcision — the list is endless.
If you acknowledge biased or unwanted advice by saying: “Thanks, I’ll think about that, ” your response helps the person feel heard, but does not obligate you in any way to follow through with anything that you don’t want to do. If the person insists that you act upon the advice right away, then say: “Thanks, I’ll discuss it with ________ (your partner) and we’ll think about that.” You then have a reasonable way out of the situation.
If the person keeps pestering you or your partner, then the person who is related to or closest to the advice-giver needs to ask him or her to respect your choices and to let it go. If gentle confrontation still does not work, you might consider having less contact with this person until after your baby is born.
Family stress is another part of this equation. We love our parents and our in-laws, but they can drive us crazy at times. Babies bring out family biases about birth and parenting, and while many ideas can be positive and absolutely correct, some advice can be misinformed, misleading or dangerous. Again, when family members want you to parent in a way that is not appropriate for you, the person who is related to the advice-givers needs to ask them to back off and respect your decisions.
Dr. Melanie Beingessner is a pregnancy and pediatric-focussed chiropractor, a breastfeeding counselor, an infant massage instructor and a mom of three awesome kids.