“Sticks and Stones may break my bones but words can also hurt me. Sticks and stones break only skin, while words are ghosts that haunt me.”
Definition: Pregnancy Labels
1. When you are pregnant your body becomes public property to be examined, scrutinised and judged. You are carrying all around so you must be having a girl. You’ve really got that pregnancy waddle going on.
2. Usually by someone with no medical knowledge or back ground at all. The lady at the Tesco counter says your bump looks big and she thinks you will go early. She also thinks you shouldn’t be carrying your toddler on your hip being pregnant.
3. Your pregnancy labels then define who you are and what type of birth you are going to have. You are a geriatric mother so are high risk and will need to be induced at 40 weeks. You are a VBAC so are high risk and can’t have a water birth.
Sound familiar? I wonder how many pregnant mothers out there have had a label thrown at them in pregnancy? I have. I have actually had it quite a few times this pregnancy.
My big one (excuse the pun) for me in pregnancy is the ones that involve body image. Here are some little gems I’ve had said to me….
“Labour nose” – I won’t go into labour yet as I don’t have “labour nose” so my nose isn’t swollen enough. Apparently in my previous 3 pregnancies my nose looked massive a few days before I go into labour.
After being told I looked big, it was followed by… “But you looked pregnant before you were pregnant.” … Cheers!
“You can’t eat cake. I wouldn’t be eating cake if I had Gestational Diabetes”… I hadn’t even eaten the cake (yet!) I just said I wanted some!
Pregnancy labels to do with size of someones bump or body bothers me for two reasons…
The first one is that person has to get dressed and leave the house in the morning, choose from limited clothes that may or not fit her ever-changing pregnancy body and maybe even feel good about herself. She may be feeling sick or nauseous, worrying about the health of her baby, finances, suffering with pelvic pain and now also how she looks, as how she looks being pregnant is what everyone seems to comment on. All these words repeating around in your head when all you should be doing is feeling good about the fact that your body is growing a tiny human. It’s not acceptable to comment on someones body when they aren’t pregnant, so why do we accept it when we are pregnant?
My second reason is what does it mean to carry a big or small baby for that woman’s birth. If someone is told enough times that they have a big baby growing in there then they will start to believe it. Recently an expectant mother told me that she no longer wanted a waterbirth because she thought she was having a big baby. She was going to opt for an epidural instead because then if any interventions were to happen in her birth due to the big baby then she would have her epidural ready. Even though scans showed a normal size baby, the words and stories of others had got in her head. With this example, the epidural would be more likely to cause intervention than the “big” baby. Another example is I have looked after women who have requested inductions of labour due to worries of a big baby, again due to other peoples words and stories making women fearful of birth.
What are your #PregnancyLabels that you have had thrown at you either in your current pregnancy or past pregnancy? It could be size, age, high risk, low risk, cesarean, overdue. I’d love to hear your stories and see your bump pics. Let’s start spreading some #BumpPositivity maybe to remind people that words are powerful and to use them wisely. We should be using our words to encourage pregnant mothers and making them feel beautiful so that these pregnancy moments can be treasured. Remember to tag @thebumptobabychapter in your photos.
You can see where others have got involved in Instagram here.
I’m Beth and this is my blog about all things pregnancy and motherhood. I’m a mother of 3 soon to be 4 and a midwife. Me and the midwifery team at The Bump to Baby Chapter also run antenatal classes and hypnobirthing across Gloucestershire. You can see more from The Bump to Baby Chapter on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.