Labor and Delivery Stories: How to Support Without Scaring!by Elaine Plummer
Pregnancy can be an exciting, and scary, time for mothers-to-be. As a mother who has already experienced the joys, trials and tribulations of pregnancy, it can be tricky to walk the delicate line between supporting and scaring her.
Here are some tips to support the first-time mother in your life:
Avoid the scary L&D stories
There are so many caring and supportive things we can say to our pregnant friends, sisters and cousins to make them smile and feel as one with the experiences of motherhood. However, there are some dramatic narratives that are better left on-hold until after labor and delivery (L&D) has occurred.
Sharing pregnancy stories is a time-honored tradition, but with so many labor and delivery options available these days, experiences can be vastly different. You might think you’re doing a mom-to-be a favor by telling her your L&D story, but it’s best to keep any sensational tales on the back burner. Pregnancy carries enough anxiety on its own, so no need to escalate it!
Baby shower crowd control
Imagine this: it’s your mom-to-be’s baby shower. She walks into a lovely room full of favors, decorated with happy blue or pink and, most importantly, full of love. There are gifts on a table and yummy food for everyone to snack on. However once everyone starts to settle in, the inevitable gossip begins but always ends with, “I am sure that would never happen to you or that is because my doctor was late, etc.”
Here’s where you come in. Politely steer the conversation toward positive topics, like how wonderful it is to have a healthy happy child, or how great it is to have a strong support system when you’re pregnant. If you know your baby shower audience well and can anticipate that the shared stories will be a problem before the shower begins, you might want to talk to them before the guest of honor arrives to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Support her with positivity
As a mother who has experienced pregnancy once or even several times, you are well aware of the range of emotions that happen during this time. Take advantage of your knowledge by using it to help your mother-to-be. Give her a call to chat about what’s on her mind, take her out to lunch, or even invite her and her girlfriends over to watch a chick-flick.
If she needs additional support, offer it in a real way, such as bringing over dinner if she's working and gets tired by the end of the day, or treat her to a pedicure. Listen to her talk about her labor plan and offer some suggestions that you think might be helpful. For example, one piece of helpful advice is to stock up on products like Always Xtra Protection Liners and Infinity Pads before baby arrives, so you are prepared for post-pregnancy body changes. Offering positive, pro-active advice will show her that you care and take her mind off of the anxiety that can come with pregnancy.
Regardless, whether you are an experienced mom or a mom-to-be, it is most important to remember that pregnancy is an exciting time that begins a new chapter in your lives!
Elaine Plummer is a health expert for Always and Tampax.