What can I do about people giving me unwanted (or terrible!) pregnancy and parenting advice?

What can I do about people giving me unwanted (or terrible!) pregnancy and parenting advice?

It starts as soon as you tell people you’re pregnant, and continues throughout parenting life. Having babies is such a universal experience that everyone has opinions and advice to share, whether you want to hear them or not.

You’ll hear things about whether you can tell if you’re having a girl or boy based on how sick you are, how much your baby moves or what shape your tummy is; why you should only see an obstetrician/midwife; why you should/shouldn’t use pain-relief drugs during childbirth; how to avoid an episiotomy/caesarean/cracked nipples; why you must/mustn’t breastfeed; why you should always use/never bother with cloth nappies; how to make your baby sleep through the night (pick it up/ignore it/give it a stiff gin); how to avoid nappy rash; why you must go straight back/never go back to work; what sort of childcare is best; what sort of schooling is best; what to do when your child is arrested in its mid-thirties. The list seems infinite.

Some advice will be useful and compatible with your own ideas, and some won’t.

Scripts for dealing with rude comments & questions

These can range from ‘You look huge’ to ‘Who’s the father?’ You can just say, ‘Why do you ask?’ Or ‘That’s kind of you to ask’ or ‘Thanks for asking but I don’t want to bore you with private details’. Then change the subject. Here are some specific answers to a round-up of common rudeness.

‘You look too young/old to be pregnant.’ ‘Wow. You do realise you said that out loud?’

‘Are you sure your dates are right? You look huge.’ ‘I’m not pregnant – I’m shoplifting an armchair.’

‘You look too small.’ ‘That’s because I had sex with a pixie.’

‘What names are you thinking of?’ ‘Luluhoneypants. Or if it’s a girl, Brut, with no “e”’ or ‘I am sworn to secrecy!’

‘You have no idea how hard it’s going to be/Your life as you know it is over/ It’s going to be really hard on your own.’ ‘Thanks for the warning, and it’s so nice of you to offer to help’ or ‘Luckily there are lots of positives to focus on, so I don’t become a completely miserable sod!’

There’s more on dealing with unwelcome and bad advice in the book Up the Duff: The Real Guide to Pregnancy.