Category Archives: Relationships
love, relationship books
Keep your romance on track with the time-tested advice in these tomes.
You’ve heard the cynical takes on romance: Seven-year itch. Marriage is hard. Men are from Mars. Relationships take work. Lots of marriages end in divorce. But don’t throw in the towel on love. Strong, committed relationships make people happier and can even help you live longer. These seven books—your love homework—will help you tune up, spark or overhaul your relationship.
Posted on December 18, 2014 in Relationships by Sandra Bienkowski
My husband and I have one rule we follow that makes our marriage more blissful. We leave one thing unsaid each day. This simple act can prevent minor irritations from escalating. This one rule can be a peacekeeper.
I’m not exactly a leave anything unsaid person, so it takes work. I have to catch myself and silence my mouth. While I am not exactly a wilting flower, my husband has a strong personality. He also has a compulsion for neatness, so when he dumps my coffee out to put my mug in the dishwasher before I’m even finished with it, I really want to say something.
But I don’t. Quietly, I think: This is what I will leave unsaid today. Does it really matter in the grand scheme of things?
And life clicks along happily.
This one simple act of leaving something unsaid has taught me a few things:
We can leave one thing unsaid with everyone in our lives to keep the peace—from coworkers to our relatives. Don’t get me wrong, I believe we teach people how to treat us so I’m not advising anyone to become a doormat. Just don’t go there when you really don’t need to go there. Let some things go.
We don’t have to give voice to an irritated mood or moment. I used to think I was being authentic when I expressed every emotion I had. It didn’t occur to me that I could have an emotion and choose not to react. It’s empowering to know we can rise above temporary emotions. You get to choose how you react and that often determines your mood and day.
Leaving one thing unsaid lets you quickly filter things through what’s really important. Wouldn’t you rather feel in sync with your spouse than squabble about a cup of coffee?
Not everything has to be a conversation. This is a tough one for over-analyzer me, but not everything has to be expressed, dissected or discussed.
Sometimes I get really crazy and leave more than one thing unsaid a day. I am sure my husband does too.
adoption, counseling, depression, Relationships, therapy
“No matter what anyone tells you, words and ideas can change the world.” – Robin Williams
Dead Poets Society is one of my favorite movies. I love all of its messages …
Seize the day.
Constantly look at things in a different way.
Find your own voice.
It’s not easy to find your own voice–especially on a stage. Now keeping journals? That’s easy. My thoughts flood out on paper and it’s how I think and process. (Ever since I got married I journal a lot less because my husband is now my journal–poor soul.) Keeping a journal is such freedom. Blank pages. Space to write and think. And no one judges what you have to say or how well you write it. Writing for a big audience is an entirely different story. People aren’t always kind in the comments section, and as much as I can pull up my big girl panties, I can’t always let go of what people think. Even though it can be difficult to write the truth and serve it up for public consumption, I feel compelled.
I know our stories can change the world.
Lately, I’ve received a lot of kind emails from strangers about my stories. Strangers thanking me for writing openly about finding my birth mom or overcoming my battle with my weight. Recently a woman said my story about seeking counseling in my twenties to overcome depression led her to seek professional help so can have a chance at a happy life. I felt so grateful to read that email. To know we can even help one person is the greatest gift. Helping just one person makes the vulnerability of writing and sharing our stories so worth it …
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ― Brene Brown
Here are some of my latest stories . . .
Make your life extraordinary.
4 Best Lessons I Learned From Seeing A Therapist, 5 Signs You Are With the Wrong Person, 9 Tips to Save Your Marriage From Being Totally Boring, depression, Happiness, MindBodyGreen, personal growth, Sandra Bienkowski, wellness, writing
Yes, you might just find me in the morning picking up Cheerios off the floor and smashed banana pieces off my clothes. I turn my back for two seconds and my 17-month girls have found a way to dump water out of their sippy cups or make each other giggle by throwing food on the floor. Life is fun chaos … for sure.
With twins, my hubby, working from home, exercise, sleep (what’s that?) and all the usual life-maintenance stuff, I finally squeezed in a moment to share a bit of news with you! I recently started writing for MindBodyGreen. If you haven’t heard of MBG (say what?) it’s an awesome personal growth and wellness site! Check out my three latest articles below!
And thanks in advance for reading/commenting/sharing!
Gotta go now, I think I hear a baby waking up from an afternoon nap.
The 4 Best Lessons I Learned From Seeing A Therapist in My 20s
When I saw a psychologist for depression in my 20s, he told me I could win the hurt Olympics. My butt landed in that recliner chair across from him every Wednesday for an hour so I could stop the cycle of hurt. READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE: The 4 Best Lessons I Learned From Seeing A Therapist In My 20s
5 Signs You Are With the Wrong Person
Before I met my prince of a husband, I dated this guy I can’t even think about for two seconds without cringing. READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE: 5 Signs You’re With The Wrong Person
9 Tips to Save Your Marriage From Being Totally Boring
I heard once that people spend more time planning their wedding than their marriage. It stuck with me because it defies logic. Why spend more time planning a single day than the decades of marriage to follow? READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE: 9 Tips To Save Your Marriage From Being Totally Boring
Thanks for reading! Talk to you on the next send! – Sandra
Posted on February 13, 2014 in love, Relationships by Sandra Bienkowski
love and relationships
When did it become so popular to dislike Valentine’s Day? Judging from my Facebook newsfeed, Valentine’s Day needs some Likes. Some vent about “the forced holiday.” Others are bugged by the commercialism. I gather some people don’t like Valentine’s Day because it’s shines a light on the status of their relationship, and they aren’t so happy with the status. Of course, it might help if retailers didn’t put up the red, white and pink gifts at the same time the Christmas stuff comes down.
On a more heart-shaped note, I like Valentine’s Day. I view this holiday as a reminder to love, love. Plus, it’s a good excuse to drink champagne!
So in the spirit of the day, I want to share some love with you.
I don’t need Valentine’s to remember to love or appreciate my husband. He makes it easy to love him, and I am thankful for him daily. But there are three things I credit for the awesome quality of our relationship—three things I think all couples could benefit from.
1. Read the book, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Put simply, when you know your partner’s love language, you can speak it. What I find so fascinating is that we often express our own love language to our significant other instead of their love language. Mine is Quality Time. I gotta have my Reed time to feel the love. His love language is Acts of Service. Reed’s impulse might be to do lots of little things for me all the time—like refilling my water bottle or making my coffee in the morning. But that’s his love language, not mine. While I appreciate those little things, I feel most loved when he ventures out of his man cave (his office) to spend time with me (quality time!). He feels most loved when I do the little things … like make his lunch or organize our activities. So check out the book and find out your love language and the language of your significant other. (By the way, the five love languages are Quality Time, Acts of Service, Physical Touch, Receiving Gifts and Words of Affirmation.)
2. Find out your DISC model of personality and your partner’s type too. Everyone has a primary type and a secondary type. You can take the test online. The types are explained below, but here’s the gist. My hubby is a D/C and I am an I/D. We share the “D” dominant side of our personalities, so we are both task-oriented and we love to get things done. We diverge (big time) on the other aspects of our personalities. He is detailed and precise. I am a creative type and focused on fun. Ever since we took this test and talked about it, we understand each other so much more. No longer do I wonder why he asks me so many detailed questions or why he’s compelled to be so orderly about things. He now gets why I start three different conversations at once and why it looks like a tornado hit when I’m in the kitchen. Taking the test is a great reminder that you can’t expect your partner to be like, think like or act like you do … and that’s okay!
Here’s a short explanation of the DISC model below …
The Dominant “D” type – An outgoing, task-oriented individual will be focused on getting things done, accomplishing tasks, getting to the bottom line as quickly as possible and MAKING IT HAPPEN! (The key insight in developing a relationship with this type person is RESPECT and RESULTS.)
The Inspiring “I” type – An outgoing, people-oriented individual loves to interact, socialize and have fun. This person is focused on what others may think of him or her. (The key insight in developing a relationship with this type person is ADMIRATION and RECOGNITION.)
The Supportive “S” type – A reserved, people-oriented individual will enjoy relationships, helping or supporting other people and working together as a team. (The key insight in developing a relationship with this person is FRIENDLINESS and SINCERE APPRECIATION.)
The Cautious “C” type – A reserved, task-oriented individual will seek value, consistency and quality information. This person focuses on being correct and accurate. (The key insight in developing a relationship with this individual is TRUST and INTEGRITY.)
3. Take the best relationship advice I’ve ever heard: Leave one thing unsaid every day. I love this little tip and I use it often. Does it drive me bonkers that my super-detailed husband reorganizes the dishwasher after I’ve loaded it? Yup. Do I really need to say anything about it? Nope. Trust me, he uses this tip with me too. Does it drive him crazy that I’m always looking for where I left my iPhone and glasses? Yup! Does he need to say anything about it? Nope! Not saying anything leaves little things little. It keeps the peace. It’s mature. It’s making decisions with your head and not temporary emotions. Leaving something unsaid every day makes you feel empowered because you are choosing the quality of your relationship over a fleeting annoyance or minor grievance.
Oh, and if you missed it, take a few minutes and read this blog about why I love my husband to pieces.
Cheers to LOVE!
first year with twins, mom blog, raising twins, twins
Our twin girls just turned one. I am not sure if we should jump for joy or collapse on the couch. We’ve become masters of “your turn” middle of the night baby handoffs. Tired is no longer a temporary condition, but something you live with like your right arm. I am not a whiner, but I wish I counted how many times I’ve picked up and redirected two babies speed crawling opposite directions toward outlets, cat food, and the fireplace. My lower back knows. And, BTW, two new tiny people live in our house. OMG. No pressure! We are only responsible for how they turn out.
Anywho, it was a magical year of twin baby firsts, emotional firsts for me, and some pretty hilarious moments. Here’s a look back …
My water broke at 6 a.m. January 11, 2013 and I said, “Uh, Reed, we have a problem.” He jumped out of bed thinking something happened to our old cat.
My baby shower was the next day. Oops.
I felt compelled to shower and put make up on after my water broke.
As we dashed around grabbing things for the hospital, I told Reed to grab the car seats. At 33 weeks to the day, he knew we wouldn’t need the car seats anytime soon. He also knew he didn’t want to have that conversation with his wife in labor.
Pre-epidural felt like some kind of hell. Post-epidural felt like a day at a very cold spa.
January 11, 2013, late Friday afternoon, we welcomed Sydney at 4:43 p.m. and Riley at 5:07 p.m. Each weighed four pounds.
Two days later, discharge day from the hospital for me, I returned home no longer pregnant and with empty arms. It felt like the worst kind of emptiness.
A NICU nurse said, “Think of it like this … you have a team of the most expensive babysitters.”
Sara, my sister, made the transition home easier by using her key to fill our house with baby shower gifts, cards, balloons, homemade veggie soup and bread, and champagne on ice.
Knowing the benefits of breast milk I started pumping because the girls were too premature to breastfeed. The breast pump is a ridiculous-looking contraption (like something Lady Gaga would wear) that’s been attached to me six to seven times a day, around the clock, for a year. As one mom put it, “Now I know what it feels like to be a human food truck.”
My mom planned to live with us for three months to help out with the girls. The pre-scheduled day of her flight? The day the girls were born! Thank you universe.
The first three weeks I learned terms and things I didn’t want to know … baby bilirubin levels, apnea episodes, feeding tubes, wires, beeping monitors, caffeine in IV and isolettes.
Every morning and evening, weaving our way through a large NICU, we saw couples huddled around teensy babies. Some were praying and hoping their babies make it. Doctors told us it was just about “feeding and growing” for Sydney and Riley. We never forgot to be grateful.
My appetite was so ravenous from being a human milk factory that I was disappointed when we no longer lived at the hospital with the daily access to a buffet of food–from pizza to sushi.
As preemies, the girls had to pass a car seat test in order to be discharged home. It was scary to see how tiny they were in their car seats.
On February 2, 2013 the girls came home, both on apnea monitors.
We all took turns doing middle of the night feedings, Reed, my mom, me. We all were so sleep deprived my mom put on her glasses in the middle of the night only to discover they were her sunglasses.
Another time, Reed told my mom to wake him up in ten minutes when the bottles were warm so he could help. Reed woke up three hours later and asked my mom if the bottles were ready.
We are forever grateful to my mom for those first not-so-easy months. Who volunteers to wake up at all hours of the night to help with crying babies on a three-month leave of absence from work? My mom!
With my hormones pinging off the walls post-birth, and with little sleep, I had a few moments wondering if I ruined our fun lives.
Smiley Riley dances on her own, has radar for where her daddy is in the house and loves snuggles and cuddles. She is the messiest eater, putting baby food in her hair.
Sydney is so chill, except when she is shrieking because Riley took one of her toys. She loves to figure toys out and is so ticklish. She is so gentle petting the cat.
Everyone always told me you don’t know what it feels like to love like a mom until you are a mom. I finally get it. As they sleep, I stare into their cribs and feel immeasurable love. Author Elizabeth Stone said it best: Deciding to have a baby is “to forever have your heart go walking around outside your body.”
I love Reed’s face as the he holds or plays with the girls.
I love it when the girls make each other giggle.
Waking up in the morning to two girls who smile ear-to-ear and dance side-to-side in their cribs has to be one of the best ways to start the day ever.
Having the most kind and loving friend/nanny/neighbor to watch the girls at our home while we work is something we are thankful for daily.
Having the girls taught me so much:
Wake up every day happy.
It’s not about me.
Get ready for unsolicited input.
Read baby books before you give birth. You won’t have time after.
Take time to play.
Hugs are the best.
Love is limitless.
A nap can solve a lot.
Never again will you take silence for granted.
Strangers are friendlier when babies are present.
Trust your instincts.
I love sleep.
Never will you be more motivated to be your best self and live your best life so you can be the best example for your children.
Nothing matters as much as family.
And lastly, it isn’t double the trouble, it’s double the blessings.
aging, forties, menopause, Sandra Bienkowski
Have you ever noticed people try and age you? When I was a kid and acting in a way my mom didn’t like, she’d say: “You are almost (fill in any age here)!” Meaning I was too old to be behaving the way I was behaving. It didn’t matter that my Birthday was just a few months back and I wasn’t almost “X.”
Then there’s my dad. He almost suffered the big one with my single status in my thirties. I didn’t follow his tidy view of how life is supposed to unfold: college, marriage in your twenties, career, and babies. Mine was more like: college, waitressing, handful of guys my dad didn’t like, career, marriage and babies. Sure, my dad brags to people about my national writing gigs, but at a recent wine tasting, he asked a table of strangers: “Can you believe my daughter didn’t get married until she was 41?” as he shook his head from side to side.
Today I’m blissfully married with twin baby girls and now people want me to enter menopause. I am open about my age and how marriage and babies didn’t happen for me until I hit my forties. (Gasp!) So now, even the slightest mention of a fluctuation in my body temperature or whining about an irregular cycle and suddenly people whisper: Is it menopause … do you think?
No, I don’t think. It’s not menopause. I am only 43.
And if I dare say those words, soon I am listening to a story about someone who knows someone who hit menopause early. Thank you for that uplifting story. I am sure night sweats, hot flashes and mood swings are waiting for me, but what’s with the rush?
Some people ask me if I dye my hair and when did I notice my first gray hair. Really? Is this the riveting conversation people in their thirties can look forward to? If my grandparents are any indication, I could live another 40 plus years. This isn’t what I want to talk about. Oh, and newsflash, I don’t have any grey hairs yet thank you very much.
Others ask: Is your hair thinning out as you get older? That’s cheerful. Uh, no. I don’t currently clip in fake hair, but as soon as I do I will be sure to do a public Facebook post.
Then I get the warnings from some well-meaning peeps about running. Forget that it’s one of my favorite things to do, how it keeps me in shape and how I placed top in my age group in a couple of 5Ks. Nope, I don’t get people cheering my passion. Instead, I get free public service announcements about how hard running can be on your body and how it might lead to runner’s knee or stress fractures.
Okay people, you are totally depressing me now. I get it. None of us make it out alive. If I listened to other people, my vision of my life would be a menopausal woman with thinning gray hair, hot flashes and a running injury.
If you must know, I think about getting a little Botox in between my eyebrows. I call it my crease of confusion—wrinkles from my puzzled face—wondering why people aren’t kinder to one other. I’ll be old soon enough damn it. Meanwhile, let me live. And quit trying to age me.
choosing happiness, Sandra Bienkowski, talk therapy
The best gift you can give to your children is not your time. It is not books. It is not college funds. It is not the best private school. It is not the biggest Pinterest-themed Birthday parties. It is not your amazing cooking. It is not your immaculate house. It is not your crazy-good multitasking skills. It is not putting your kids first. The best gift you can give to your kids is your own happiness. I know because I grew up with a mom who was sad.
My mom couldn’t have kids so she adopted my sister and me, but that didn’t heal her sadness. She never fixed herself from her own devastatingly crappy childhood so she repeated the pattern with us. Most of my memories of my mom involve her sitting at the kitchen table, smoking, complaining, drinking, and yelling at us. She didn’t act like she liked us. The most devastating part for me—now that she’s gone—is to think of what could have been. This is a woman who looked beautiful when she dressed up. She had a bubbly, quirky personality that would sometimes emerge from the sadness. When she was kind, she was really kind. But that side of her didn’t show up often enough.
She never got over not being able to get pregnant and have babies. She never got over not finishing college like my dad did. She never talked about, processed or fixed her childhood that involved violence and secrets. Secrets she said she’d tell my sister and me about one day. That day never arrived. She had a father and a brother I never met. I finally saw some glimmers of true happiness in her late 60s and 70s. My sister’s boys—her grandsons—brought her happiness. My dad, retired, brought her happiness. Then she got cancer. She didn’t want to die. Death took her anyway.
Sometimes now I wish I knew—as a child—how to change things for her, even if it wasn’t my job. Back then I was only consumed with navigating my own survival in the crazy chaos that went on inside our postcard-looking home. It’s hard to console yourself with your mom’s death when you can’t tell yourself that your mom had a great life.
I watched my mom cry more times than I can count. I watched her take naps during the day. I listened to her rants. I heard her crying upstairs in her bedroom. I watched her quit numerous jobs. I watched her argue with my dad. I told myself early that it was bullshit and the cycle would stop with me.
I knew as a kid that there was no way I’d come out of that childhood intact so I sought counseling in my early twenties. I was in talk therapy weekly to dig myself out of depression’s grip and to end the pattern of craziness and sadness. I told myself I’d do it without medicating. I watched my mom medicate with alcohol and I wanted to fix myself without any type of pill or substance. Plus, I learned the difference between feeling better and getting better, and I wanted to get better. I did it with talk therapy, writing and processing. And it worked.
Now that I am a mom, I think my number one job to create a happy home and lead by example. I think it’s my job to be a happy person so I can be a healthy mom. I think it’s my job to have a happy relationship with my husband so we can be healthy parents. I think it’s my job to be happy, create happy moments, smile, laugh and exude positivity that fills up our house. It’s my job to live authentically happy—no matter what it takes.
I think it’s my job because I know my girls will be watching.
You can learn something from everyone who crosses your path. Some people provide those what-not-to do lessons, and others will offer you little gems of wisdom. I love soaking up thought-provoking insights and bits of wisdom from other people. Not too long ago, I was at the art studio of painter Jonas Gerard who told me you have to silence your inner critic to create. Too much thought will mess up what you are creating, he said. So true for artists and non-artists alike! Back in college, my favorite journalism professor and National Geographic photographer, Yva Momatiuk, taught me never to regret painful experiences because it means you are truly alive. She said it’s where I will find my best writing. She also believed travel is where your real education occurs. I couldn’t agree more.
I guess you could say I am a pearl of wisdom collector. There are some books that offer great life lessons in small bites: What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self and another book titled Dear Me: A Letter to My Sixteen-Year-Old Self, that has lots of letters from famous people … What a great concept to think of what we would tell our 16 year-old selves now … as adults. The late movie critic Gene Siskel used to ask celebrities: What do you know for sure? in interviews. Oprah loved the idea and started her own list of what she knows for sure.
I put together my list of 48 things. Some I learned from the school of hard knocks, some I collected from wise souls, others are quotes I memorized because they resonated with me. If we all shared our life lessons we could use wisdom to zoom through the tough parts of life a little easier and a little faster and arrive where all the joy happens sooner. Not everything has to be learned by getting beat up in the arena. If you are open to it, you can learn from others. Here’s my list of 48 things I know for sure . . .
1. Fix yourself first.
2. Wisely choose who you spend your time with because they will influence you.
3. When people show you who they are, believe them.
4. If the person you are in a relationship with is really into you, it won’t be a mystery.
5. There’s a difference between feeling better and getting better.
6. Always be reading a book you don’t want to put down.
7. Continually work to reduce the things that irritate you. Scale down that irritation list.
8. If you have a job you dread, find another job and quit the one you dread. You should wake up with joy, not a knot in your stomach.
9. Every decision you make shapes how you feel about yourself.
10. Don’t do tension. Just don’t do it.
11. Life only stays the same if you do.
12. Live with the awareness that a single decision can change everything.
13. Your strengths are your guideposts to your purpose.
14. If you were taught that life is difficult and has to be endured, reject the notion.
15. Don’t date someone you also want to fix.
16. Don’t get in a relationship with someone who doesn’t show signs of empathy.
17. Ask yourself if you are in denial about anything. Then do what most won’t do: Run toward it. Expose it to light. Fix it.
18. Decide what kind of life you want and then construct your life according to that vision.
19. Learn from the success of others so you don’t waste time.
20. If you are in the right relationship, life improves.
21. Be more interested in what other people have to say than what you have to say.
22. Marry your best friend.
23. Face the darkness, stare it down and own it.
24. You can learn something from everyone.
25. Don’t be a victim.
26. Design your own day and fill it with tiny things that make you happy.
27. Set boundaries with the people in your life.
28. Shatter your external mirrors. Don’t let other people determine how you should feel about you.
29. Don’t neglect your needs for the sake of other people.
30. Share your imperfections, it connects us to each other on a real level.
31. Don’t try and fix your parents for what they did or didn’t do. Just claim responsibility for fixing yourself.
32. You teach people how to treat you.
33. Do at least one thing every day you love.
34. Always be honest, it lightens your load.
35. If you are broken, you will choose someone who is broken.
36. Never emotionally react to something right after it happens. Think first.
37. Leave something unsaid every day.
38. What people say and do has a lot more to do with them than it does you.
39. If it has to be a secret, don’t do it.
40. You are stronger than you think you are.
41. Smile and say Hello to strangers.
42. Never hold your fork with a fist. Proper manners tell a lot about you.
43. Learn how to comfort yourself.
44. Lots of problems could be solved if people just talked openly about things.
45. Anticipation is a big part of happiness. Plan things you can look forward to that will make you happy.
46. Living with gratitude is the pathway to joy.
47. Nothing works until you do.
48. You already know the answer.
So … what would you tell your 16-year-old self? What gems of wisdom have you collected from others? And what do you know for sure?
Posted on November 7, 2012 in Relationships by Sandra Bienkowski
If you asked me to rattle off a few of my flaws, my big mouth would probably make the top of the list. I am not great at keeping my opinions to myself. I sometimes offer advice when it was never asked for, and I reveal more on Facebook than my husband would probably prefer. I think my lack of restraint is one part personality and one part having parents who were only comfortable discussing weather and food. Tip-toeing through topics isn’t how I want to live.
While my verbal blather could use a little reining in, there’s a difference between being open, and blowing through personal boundaries. Being pregnant and in my early 40s has taught me this lesson well. There are some things you just shouldn’t say to a pregnant woman. Like …
Do twins run in your family? Okay, I’m 40ish and I am pregnant. Let’s think for a minute. It’s probably not a mystery that we had fertility help. Inquiring about our genetic lineage is like asking if we had fertility help in disguise. We know it. You know it. We aren’t secretive about having IVF, but we think the news to share is our joy of being pregnant with twins, not how we got there.
Do you have to have a C-section or are you going to give birth naturally? I can understand the curiosity, especially with twins, but let me just say you know about as much about how my labor is going to go as I do. A lot depends on the position of the babies when it’s time, and lots of other unknowns. This is sort of like asking someone to predict the future to satisfy your curiosity. It’s probably not necessary to ask.
Did you try for twins? While no one has asked me this question (yet) it has been asked to other future moms of multiples I know and they weren’t happy about it. Keep in mind that you are asking this question to people who most likely had a difficult journey becoming pregnant and you are making it sound like they ordered up a couple of babies off a menu. It lacks empathy. Moms who need reproductive help typically have many emotional ups and downs, difficult drug protocols and lots of waiting and hoping before they end up pregnant. All they want is to be blessed with an infant and the opportunity to be parents; they don’t need an insensitive inquisition too.
Some of my other favorites …
“Have you started looking for a new place to live yet?” Not an offensive question, but is this really the first question you want to ask after I tell you I am pregnant? Can we take a moment and celebrate the joy of our pregnancy news before you pepper me with moving questions?
“You want to go through all that again, the diapers, everything?” File this under things that should just be left unsaid. People actually say this to my husband because he already has three grown children. What do people expect him to say? “Oh, I hadn’t thought of that, maybe we shouldn’t have these babies.” Of course he wants to go through it all over again, otherwise we wouldn’t be pregnant. We aren’t 15. We know how this happened. We actually planned it.
“Your body will never be the same again.” Thanks. That’s helpful. Anything else depressing you want to tell me? I’d rather not fill my head with negative thoughts about my future body when I am preoccupied about the health and well-being of my babies.
“You will never have time for anything again.” Cheerful! Do they have a book for these depressing sentiments? I know real life examples of parents who do more than parent. Those are the people I will emulate. Not the mommy victims who always talk about how they have no time for themselves.
“You know, finding a good ob-gyn is really important.” Oh, really? The thought never occurred to me.
“All those trips you take, all of that is over.” Thank God I’m not married to you. Nice attitude. Babies and children do travel, just obviously not with you. Please don’t make blanket statements about our lifestyle; you don’t know us. We can make choices different from you.
Which leads me to another sentence that bugs me and I know some of you might be thinking right now, “Wait until you have kids, you will see.” That’s a smug sentence uttered by the “I already have kids” club, and I hope it never leaves my lips.
Here’s what you could say to a pregnant woman instead …
I am so happy for you.
When are you due?
Being a parent is such a gift.
Or even a simple, “Congratulations” will suffice. Any sentence that has some sensitivity and kindness will do. Skip the prying and negativity. Babies are supposed to be happy news after all. Add to the happiness or do pregnant women a favor and leave it unsaid.