Thursday, October 14, 2010

How to Respond to (Stupid) Things People Say

Nothing seems to inspire the output of advice and well-meaning comments that pregnancy and new babies do. And let’s face it. Some of the advice and the comments will probably make you want to swing your belly like a wrecking ball and say, “Yup, big as an elephant!” as the less-than-innocent commenter flies through the air. But . . . it’s probably better to use words. So here are some ideas:

1. For the unintentionally rude comment (e.g., Wow your ankles look huge!”), I sometimes just smiled and said “Thanks!” or “Thanks for the feedback.”

2. Choose to be amused instead of annoyed. This isn’t always easy, but it can be done.

3. If you don’t know the commenter, you can always pretend not to speak _______ (insert your native language. Probably English, since you’re reading this).

4. If you’re dealing with unsolicited advice (especially delivery horror stories or “proven methods to calm a colicky baby” stories, changing the subject (doggedly, if necessary) will usually do the trick. With these types of comments, you usually know the person, so you’ve gotta be a little more careful here. I usually found that it was more painless to say, “So, tell me about your new job,” or something, than to say, “Actually, Aunt Bertha, my pediatrician says . . .”).

Ok, now for a couple that I really find amusing but you probably shouldn’t actually use (under most circumstances anyway . . . J)

1. For pregnancy-related hugeness comments, try responding with, “I’m not pregnant.”

2. And my all time favorite . . . Resort to third-grade tactics. It’s a surefire response no matter what the comment. If someone says “Your baby needs a hat,” you simply respond, “No you need a hat.” And so forth.

But seriously. Whatever it is you say or don’t say, let the experience make you a more empathetic mom/friend in thinking twice before judging another belly mama. Like it or not, we’ve all likely been on the “well-meaning but exasperating advice” end of things.


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  2. This is genius! I wish I had this little list tucked away when I was pregnant. I could never think of anything witty or humorous to say, so I would usually just stand there with my mouth open....ugh!

    Stumbled onto your blog today. Looking forward to reading more.

  3. Just came across your blog and thought I would leave a comment. Whenever someone "accidentally" said something that was hurtful, I would break down in tears, fake of course. That'll teach them to think twice before making another comment to a hormonal pregnant lady! I always walked away a little happier. It's very therapeutic!

  4. Hahaha, you gotta love the people who think they are psychic and they tell you if you are having a boy or a girl! I had 2 people do this to me when I was pregnant. One of the people told me I was having a boy (I was buying all sorts of blue-ish fabrics for his quilt, do you think it was a give-a-way?!) LOL.


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