This morning we had my favorite kind of surprise in the conference room–complimentary breakfast! Every month, a small group of teachers brings in a potluck-style breakfast for the entire faculty and staff. (The Reading Specialists had November, and it was one of the most delicious breakfasts so far, if I do say so myself.)
But as I was happily spooning some egg/hashbrown casserole onto my paper plate, I had an unpleasant surprise…the first of many, I’m guessing. I heard a kind of “tsk, tsk” sound from the woman behind me.
“You should really watch your salt intake,” she says.
“Excuse me?” I say in disbelief.
“Salt will make you retain water, you know. You don’t want to get too bloated. And you should watch your sugar, too, for that matter. You know, when my daughter was pregnant, she ended up with gestational diabetes because she didn’t watch her sugar.”
I was kind of stunned into silence for a moment, spoon halfway to my plate, unsure of how to respond.
“Um…thanks,” I manage finally. “I’ll try to keep that in mind.”
I generously decided not to point out the heaping pile of egg casserole on her plate, or suggest that she keep her bloating to a minimum.
What is it about sporting a pregnant belly that makes everyone so loose-lipped with their comments and criticisms? In the past week alone, I’ve been the recipient of random advice from people at work who I’ve barely even spoken to before.
“You found out the gender? That’s a shame. There’s nothing better than waiting until the big day to find out if you’re having a boy or a girl!”
“You haven’t named the baby yet? What are you waiting for?”
“You should wait until the baby is born to name him–see what he looks like first.”
“Have you got the nursery ready yet? The clock is ticking…”
“You should take it easy! You don’t want to overdo it.”
“Have you been exercising? I used to walk six miles every day when I was pregnant.”
…Oh, and my favorite…
“When are you due, again?” (while staring wide-eyed at my enormous belly.)
From what I’ve heard, this is only the beginning. Back in December, Justin and I met up for lunch with our couple-friends who were also expecting a baby. (She just delivered a beautiful baby girl a couple of weeks ago, by the way.) I was shocked when we walked into the restaurant to put in our name for a table, and the hostess openly gawked at my friend’s belly and said, “Can’t be long now!”
How does she know that?!
“I’ve got about another month to go,” my friend said, good-naturedly.
“Does that happen to you a lot?” I asked her later when we were seated at the table. My baby belly was just starting to pop out at the time (but not enough that the hostess noticed, thankfully).
“ALL. THE. TIME.” she said. “I can’t even walk down an aisle in the grocery store without some woman stopping me to tell me about how she spent 20 hours in labor, or how I should make sure to use cocoa butter to avoid stretch marks.”
“What do you do?” I asked in disbelief.
“I just smile and nod…” she said.
What is the deal with all of this unwarranted advice and attention? I used to walk around schools and stores unnoticed–no one paid me a second thought. Now I’ve got people smiling at me (and even giggling–it’s true!) when they see me coming their way with my ever-expanding belly in tow. And they can’t let me get away without stopping me to impart their words of wisdom…
What do you do when you’re on the receiving end of unwanted advice? How do you politely say, “Thanks, but no thanks“?