Advice is free but it almost cost me my sanity.
Since finding out I was pregnant, I have not only felt extremely nauseous, tired and emotional, I have also felt extremely stupid. Nothing like the responsibility of a new life growing inside you to highlight exactly how little you know about anything.
On the topics of diet and exercise, baby development, body changes, epidurals, dilation and midwives I know a stunning total of nothing. Not really surprising, considering I don’t seem to know that much about ovulation and conception either (I thought falling pregnant was something that was only possible between day 12 – 15 of your cycle, but here I am, proof that it can even happen on day 26 of your cycle. Very uncommon, my gynae claims, but possible none the less. I plan on suing my high school biology teacher).
But fear not first time mums! Everyone and their pet poodle are waiting in the wings to share their insightful pregnancy and parenting advice. On the whole, this idea does appeal to me: older and wiser women imparting their worldly knowledge to me, a younger and completely clueless woman. Very Old Testament. But only three and a half months down the track and believe me, there is nothing charming or quaint or even vaguely helpful about it.
Firstly, advice gets given to you whether you ask for it or not, and secondly, all advice is completely conflicting. Just the other night at a friend’s birthday drinks (well, birthday soda waters for my poor pregnant-and-therefore-sober-self) I was told with absolute conviction by various women, or their over-involved other halves, that I:
1) Should not touch a nut.
2) Should eat at least two handfuls of almonds per day.
3) Must not continue running past three months.
4) Can run until I feel labour pains.
5) Should only be on top during sex.
6) Should abstain entirely from sex from five months on.
Confused and hungry, because I was too scared to go near the snack table and be confronted by nuts, sushi and other totally safe/lethal party foods, I gave my husband my newly acquired, “I’m pregnant and I want to go home” look. It’s actually just a variation of my old “I want to go home” look but it is very effective. So my lovely husband took me home and we had sex. With him on top.
To set my mind at ease once and for all regarding free advice, I wrote a list of all my questions and fired them at my gynae. His answers were refreshing and freeing. Most importantly, he said I can eat anything I like except soft cheeses! Who’d have thought?
So, I have made a decision: in the face of free advice, I smile and nod and let the well-meaning person impart their gem of information, and then I walk away and promptly forget it. This is because I’ve decided to go with just my gynaes advice. I trust him, he seems to know what he’s doing and, most importantly, I really, really love sushi. What do you do in an instance like this? Do you think people mean well?