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I am not a “people person.” Much as I would like to say that getting pregnant with Violet has morphed me into a kinder, gentler version of myself, it hasn’t. I can’t stand hypocrisy, platitudes, pointless chitchat, or self-deprecation for the sake of conversation. That being said, I have had to scale down my bluntness when dealing with strangers (and some friends and family) who somehow equate pregnancy with a state in which my IQ dials down to zero and theirs dials up to near Einstein’s level. Old wives’ tales are just that, other people’s experiences are not always emblematic of my own, and neither will have more to do with my decisions during pregnancy than my internal compass and my doctor’s official medical opinion.

While we’re on the topic of things you think you’re an expert on:

I’m sorry to have to break this to you, but you had a 50/50 shot as to whether my baby was going to be a boy or a girl. You are not psychic if you guessed correctly. I sometimes win in Vegas, but that doesn’t mean I’m pulling up stakes and becoming a professional poker player.

Violet does appear to have a full head of hair according to the tech who administered my last ultrasound. Despite your assertions to the contrary, I’m pretty sure it’s the foot that is lodged in my esophagus that has more to do with my heartburn.

Thank you for your concern regarding my diet. I’m thrilled to know that you decided to forgo fish entirely when you were pregnant for fear of mercury contamination. Did you also give up red meat for fear of E. coli and chicken for fear of the avian flu? While pregnant, I have had — occasionally — sushi, red wine, soft cheese, and deli meat that (gasp!) was not heated to steaming. I have gorged on peanut butter, spicy food, and a litany of other “forbidden” foods that my doctor, not surprisingly, has never brought up with me, much less confirmed.

I eat a lot of food that I’m sure most people have never heard of (natto, anyone?), but I did even before I got pregnant, so I doubt they count as “cravings.” My husband has yet to experience the thrill of being sent to the store at 3 a.m. for strawberry ice cream, and based on the fact that I’m lactose intolerant, I think I’m going to win the “Just wait, you’ll see” bet you’ve thrown at me.

No, I have not had any “visualization” sessions with Violet, but my husband has tried the Vulcan mind meld on her a few times (mostly to see if he can get her to kick me).

No, I don’t wear, much less own, a pair of flip-flops or maternity leggings. I appreciate that you think they are the most comfortable things on planet Earth. I’m sure footed pajamas are also really comfortable, but I’m not rushing out to procure a pair of those either.

I know there are risks to an epidural, but I’ll take my chances. There’s also the risk that your millionth hamburger from McDonald’s will be the one that clogs your arteries for good, but you don’t see me giving you the evil eye for your lunch choices, now do you? If you’re on the other side of the fence, don’t be smug that I’m having an epidural. It doesn’t mean I have your disdain for some of the more alternative methods out there, and I’m sure that you’ll be raising your eyebrows at how we choose to rear Violet, including our thoughts on Baby Einstein and how we intend to make our own baby food as opposed to relying on pureed meat in a jar (who decided that was a tasty idea?).

I do intend to breastfeed (if I am able to do so), but it’s not for the pious reasons you think. I’ve stated this in previous blogs, but let me restate it here for you: I am cheap. Why would I spend money on formula if my body can provide — for free — all the nutrition that my baby will need for at least her first six months of life? And don’t even get me started on “pumping and dumping.” If my doctor has green-lit having the occasional glass of wine while breastfeeding without any contraindications, then why am I going to pay attention to your admonishments on the topic?

I don’t mean to come off like an absolute wench, but seriously, take it easy, people. Pregnant women — especially first-time pregnant women — are nervous enough as it is without you adding to it. Offer your support and understanding. But unless you’ve got a medical degree hanging on your wall and your specialty is obstetrics gynecology, save your advice until someone asks for it.

Renee Reese
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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dr_zayaz Feb. 25, 2008 @ 7:20 p.m.

That's the cutest baby I've ever seen!!!


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