January 12, 2010

“My Body, My Baby, My Business” - Boundaries in General

(My sister Jamie, my amazing Grandmother and Mother, and myself, 3 weeks before Mia was born)

This is a phrase I want you to memorize that I came up with while laying in savasana after a particularly challenging yoga session. I had been miffed for the entire 90 minute session because I had gotten some real negativity about my very active pregnancy earlier that day.

I am sure if you haven’t come across this already, you most certainly will, it is unavoidable. Something happens the moment people find out you are pregnant, they feel somehow obligated to instill in you their knowledge about pregnancy, labor, birth, motherhood in general. And they seem to have no qualms distributing that knowledge to you whether or not you like it. But that’s okay, because we aren’t going to let it bother us, are we. Because we are going to memorize those three B’s, and say them with a smile whenever our personal boundaries are being crossed by an advice distributing individual.
“My body, my baby, my business” And you don’t have to say it all snooty, you can paraphrase or for those of you too sweet to spout it off at some stranger offering unsolicited advice, you can say something along those lines such as, “Thank you for your concern, but I feel very confident with how well I know my own body and baby, and will handle things on my own” or something similar. You catch my drift. The point is, don’t feel bad if you tell people that you don’t want their advice. I didn’t say anything to anyone for the first few months, but finally the amount of “advice” and “opinions” I was receiving from random strangers and people I barely knew was overwhelming, and I felt like I was in information overload as it was from all the baby books, internet research and advice I was asking for from my friends and family, I just cut those people off of whom I didn’t know.

Congratulations and big smiles and telling strangers how far along I am, or that I’m having a girl, well that part is fun and I like that. So get a sense of your own boundaries, and don’t feel like you have to listen to advice that you just don’t want to hear at that time.

The same can go with relatives. Thankfully I’ve had very supportive and non-invasive family support throughout my pregnancy. My Mom only gives me advice when I ask for it, and has been just a dream through everything. Same with my other Aunts, cousins Grandmother and others, but if this is not the case for you, you absolutely can use the three B’s on your family. Let them know that although you appreciate the experiences they’ve had, that this is your journey, and these are things for you to experience and discover.

So ask that they keep the lips zipped unless you ask for advice, and respect the beautiful family time that this pregnancy is, because this is a very special time for you and your partner, especially if you are having your first child. Each kick you feel, new size you have to start wearing, article or book you read together is all part of the experience and adventure of becoming parents, even if you’re already a parent, it is still a special time, and a time that should be respected and honored by your family and close friends.
Let them know that you want them to be a part of the journey with you, but in a healthy way that won’t leave you resentful by the time your little bundle arrives. Remember, it is always better to put up healthy boundaries in the first then to deal with resentment and hurt feelings later, or to become bitter at people just because you didn’t want to, or didn’t have the courage to speak up. Bitterness just takes a toll on you, and we don’t want that, because you have enough going on.

So remember the three B’s, and feel free to use them. People will understand, and be grateful that you were honest. And if they don’t understand, well then that’s their problem, not yours. This is your journey, so enjoy it the way you want to.

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