I’m not sure why some people feel the need to give advice to those of us with babies on the way. I guess I know it’s just part of how our society operates but I really really want to know the why of it. Because this specific brand of advice for expectant parents is always at least a little bit the same. It’s typically some kind of warning or scare tactic to make you realize that parenting an infant is “gonna be the worst!” Does it make people feel better about how they dealt with certain aspects of raising a newborn? Are they trying to project their experiences onto me? I honestly can’t figure it out.
“Sleep now while you can!”
I’m trying, really I am. Elaborate pillow system and all. Some nights I sleep pretty well, other nights aren’t great. Being told to sleep now because I may never sleep again, surprisingly, doesn’t make sleep any easier. Weird, right?
“Insomnia is nature’s way of preparing you for the sleepless nights ahead when the baby comes!”
What is grief insomnia for then? I have a hard time believing that insomnia is for anything at all. I think it’s just an unfortunate part of our biology. We are meant to sleep and I doubt there’s any science in lack of sleep being a way to prepare for something. (Someone jump in if I’m wrong here.)
“Get ready for all hell to break loose!”
I know this was meant to be a lighthearted comment. But “hell”? Really? I know a little bit about what my own personal hell is, having lived through it, and I know that bringing baby girl home and into our lives [knocking on wood here that she’s healthy] will not be hell. It will be challenging, but it will not be hell.
“Your job is to not get divorced in the first 100 days.”
This advice was from a person we just met. She was three sheets to the wind at the time and I don’t even remember her name but we had to laugh because what do people think a baby is? If we are lucky enough to bring our daughter home, healthy and safe, I can guarantee you that no matter what kind of baby she is N and I will not be divorcing over her existence in our lives. And this can’t just be because we’ve experienced a loss. For sure N and I have a bond over losing Odin that has made our relationship stronger than anything out there, but regular people have babies all the time. Divorce? In the first 100 days? What kind of relationships do these people have? And where did the arbitrary 100 days come from?
“Having a newborn is so hard.”
Agreed. One hundred per cent a true statement and one we fully recognize (and do not really need to be reminded of). But you know what’s harder? Not having that newborn. Giving birth to your child and returning home without him and continuing to live a life that will never truly be complete . It’s a challenge for me not to remind people of that and I find myself literally biting my tongue sometimes. Most of what I’m talking about here isn’t just about PAL, it’s a general complaint about people not being able to mind their own business. (I know I’m not the only one who wishes people would quit giving unsolicited advice.) But when you factor in loss, it adds another layer. Where were these people who are worried about us getting enough sleep and divorcing when we really were going through the worst imaginable thing? Why is it now, when we’re about to meet our baby girl, that these random people want to put a negative spin on things? We are already anxious enough, thankyouverymuch. It’s such a weird thing to me. People, generally, being so willing to remind you of how “hard” things are and yet also, generally, being so unable to sit with things that are truly difficult, like grief. How and who does it help to suggest that this new chapter in our lives will be hard?
“MYOB” is a thing my grade two teacher used to say to whiny students who would complain to her about other kids in the class. I’m sure it saved her a lot of time not to utter, “Mind Your Own Business” a million times a day to second-graders.