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Good advice – unwanted opinions?

With less than two weeks to go, I am reflecting on the last nine months of pregnancy. Iíve been lucky; I didnít have the typical nausea, and I havenít gained too much weight. But the hardest part has been the emotional ups and downs.As a first-time mom, the thought of becoming a parent was often overwhelming. And I had what I call ìmommy moments:î crying for no reason and fearing that I wonít know what to do when the baby cries or is sick. Of course, Iíve been reassured by countless parents that this is normal.And those reassurances were just the beginning of a long list of advisements.I read one book of advisement on pregnancy. ìThe Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancyî by Vicki Iovine is a light and somewhat humorous twist on pregnancy. The most memorable part of the book for me was Iovineís words preparing the newly pregnant woman for an influx of advice and stories from every other woman who had ever been pregnant. She hit the nail on the head.I heard numerous stories from women, mainly friends, but also strangers, who felt the need to share the details ñ good and bad ñ of their pregnancy and labor and delivery. I could have done without the gory details, although they always ended their stories with ìevery pregnancy is different so that might not happen to you.îI welcomed some of the advice like tips on diapers and the best doctors. However, thereís advice and thereís opinion. Nothing raised the hair on the back of my neck faster than this question: ìYou know what you should do?îTake my friend, ìtext-book mom.î Every conversation entails a hereís-what-you-should-do piece of advice. What to eat; what not to eat; what video to watch; what brand of breast pump. ìAnd if I donít,î I ask? ìWell, thatís what I did, and it worked for me,î says ìtext-book mom.îAnd then there was the advice for my husband, Tom. His male friends and co-workers loved to share their war stories ñ stories that obviously had nothing to do with labor and delivery. It was all about the segment entitled ìAFTER birth.îìYouíre life will never be the same,î they echoed. If I am like ìmost wives,î they said, I will suddenly ignore my husband and focus exclusively on the baby. Things will only get ìworseî for Tom. No more attention, love or affection from Angie. And I love this one, ìTom will have to start doing things for himself.îWe might be a bit naÔve as new parents, and we expect there will be adjustments, but all this negativity ñ and bruised egos?The best piece of advice came from a resource Iíve always relied on ñ my parents. They had more than 35 years of on-the-job experience. Mom and dadís words of wisdom: For the most part, having a baby is great; yes, it will change your life forever, but parenthood is different for everyone. You have to do the things that work for you and your family.We donít want to seem ungrateful for all that advice. But our advice to the advisors: Ask if the pregnant couple would like any advice. Leave it at that.And about those opinions? I think Laurence J. Peter says it best, ìWhen I want your opinion, Iíll give it to you.î

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