Now that my pregnant bump is actually showing, I've found that strangers, especially the "seasoned" Moms, seem to develop some form of Tourette's around my belly, causing them to verbally barf up their unsolicited advice and horror stories before I can even say, "But I didn't ask!" I guess they're thinking that if they don't get my attention STAT and tell me about the Snap-n-Go, I may end up putting my newborns in a red Radio Flyer wagon and dragging them behind me through the mall.
For the most part, I can deal with being approached at the supermarket, in a store, at a friend's party. But when I started getting it from my yoga teacher, in the middle of what was meant to be a calming, soothing, mind-easing practice ... well, this hormonal pregnant chick lost her shiz!
Towards the end of my first trimester, I started taking prenatal yoga classes to keep my mind calm and my body flexible. At first, I loved it! The yoga teacher wasn't all thin and muscled and toned, but rather curvy and round and fleshy -- she had a Mother Earth quality, a soothing voice, and a freckled dairy maid kind of face. We would start by going around the room, sharing how far along we were, talking about any aches and pains and emotions we were having. Now, normally I'm not so into that super touchy-feely stuff, but I loved hearing what other pregnant ladies who were further along were experiencing, and it was a really supportive, nurturing environment.
After two or three classes though, I started to realize that sweet Mama yoga teacher actually kind of sucked! Forget the fact that we spent more time rearranging bolsters and pillows and refolding blankets then we actually spent doing yoga. Did she not quite remember how hard it is to get up off the floor every five seconds to go grab another yoga prop? Let's get it right the first time, yogi mistress!
That aside though, the real issue I had with her is that, after one pregnancy, she suddenly thought of herself as some sort of doula, shelling out advice and opinions that had no place in a yoga class. At my third class, as we were going around the room, I mentioned that I was starting to feel some slight stretching in my belly, which my doctor had assured me just the week before were normal "growing pains" as my uterus expanded to make room for two babies. But she wasn't satisfied with that response and insisted that I call the doctor -- after class, natch -- because it could be an indication of a serious problem. Instinctively, I knew better, but the last thing I wanted to do was exercise after hearing that.
When she noticed that I was barely holding poses, she came over and started whispering to me, asking if I was okay. I told her, flat-out, that she'd made me nervous, so she put me in a "restorative pose" and told me to spend the rest of the class just lying in this position. Then, while the rest of the class was in a more challenging pose, she went on to ask me if I'd had any pregnancy losses, if I had trouble getting pregnant, why it was that I'm so nervous. Um, really? And then, she starts telling me about her 6-year-long struggle with infertility, her numerous miscarriages, her four rounds of IVF. So, what do I do? I start crying ... in yoga class.
I came back the following week, this time having been again assured by my doctor that all was well and normal. I guess this time though, it was someone else's turn to get badgered by our yoga teacher. One woman, who was 39 weeks along, explained that her baby was measuring very large, so her doctor was considering inducing her. Although she didn't express any concern or trepidation about it, Yoga Teacher clearly had a problem and started going off about how her baby wasn't cooked yet. Another woman who was 37 weeks along simply mentioned that her doctor had checked her cervix to see if she was dilated yet, and Yoga Teacher jumps in with, "Why would she check your cervix so soon? That's crazy! You're not at full-term yet! What's wrong with these doctors?!" She then proceeded to tell us that she changed doctors and midwives three or four times over the course of her pregnancy, and recommended that a couple of these ladies consider doing the same. First of all, not one of the women expressed any concern about what their doctor was telling them! And really, in your final weeks of pregnancy, you're suddenly going to determine that you can't trust your doctor because your yoga teacher said so? I don't think so.
I spent the rest of the class feeling pretty pissed off about the way Yoga Teacher had been speaking to these women, who really just came here to relax, get healthy, and get prepped for childbirth. So, I was kind of amped up for a fight by the time she came over to see why I was doing downward dog against the wall. When I explained that my wrists were achy, she asked if I was taking yoga somewhere else, insisted that I was probably overdoing it, and said that I probably had circulation problems. That was it -- I turned around, looked her right in the face, and said, "Actually, my DOCTOR told me that it's very common for some pregnant women's wrists and ankles to get sore, especially if you're carrying twins. If you don't know anything about it, you really shouldn't give advice about it." Well, her face got red, and she threw her hands up and said, "You know what? Do whatever you want!" Aaaaand ... scene -- that was the last time I ever went to that class.
I absolutely understand why well-meaning friends and strangers may want to share their own pregnancy stories and advice, and for the most part, I really don't mind (or just tune it out). But when people don't censor themselves and share things that they know might scare the crap out of you, I think you're well within your rights to tell that person to shut the hell up!
Have you ever lost it on a particularly pushy person trying to give advice on your pregnancy?
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