“I’m proud of you, Mama.”

A few seconds after my positive pregnancy test I had my first discussion about vaccines. Nope, it wasn’t with the father of my baby…that would make sense. This person came out of left field. It didn’t matter that they didn’t have children of their own, any personal experience to share, or have anything resembling actual research, they just wanted to make their opinion heard. I quickly found out that this would continue to happen throughout my pregnancy, and no topic was off limits.

Oh, it also doesn’t matter if you asked them for their advice. You’re going to get it anyway.

After dealing with almost two full trimesters of inquiries and clap-backs, I found myself not wanting to share any of my experience, and if I did, I’d immediately brace for impact.

“Ah! I feel the baby moving!”

“Do you really, though? It could be gas. When I was that far along my little one was already qualified for Olympic preliminaries. I’d start a kick count if I were you.”

Oh, ok. I was falling more in love with every tiny movement, but thanks…I’ll go call my OB now.

Birth plan? HA! Whether you’re stripped of all clothes and toxins in a natural spring or opting to be induced to leave the guess work behind you, childbirth should be celebrated in every way. Our bodies may be designed to do this, but no one says we all have to do it the same way. No matter what your personal preference, someone will always be there to tell you you’re wrong.

“You don’t want an epidural? Are you insane?”

I may be a rookie in this league, but I’m fully aware that labor doesn’t mimic the feeling of butterflies fluttering out from your undercarriage. No, I didn’t know that your college bestie’s sister’s sister-in-law had to push for three days in the snow barefoot. I also didn’t ask. What I DO know, and am accepting of, is the fact that every mother is wildly different.

First time mamas, 7x MVP Allstars, no one does this exactly the same. There is enough pressure on us without strangers worrying about how many Tylenols or Tic-Tacs you’ve ingested since your last doctor’s appointment. We’re all in this game together, and we’re fortunate to get the chance to play at all. Let’s celebrate the wins, and learn and lift each other up after the losses…whatever that means to you.

If we could swap unsolicited, and at-times aggressive, advice for a simple “I’m proud of you…” or “you got this,” we’d be an even more unstoppable group of women and mamas.

Hey, I’m proud of you.

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