I want to tell them

This piece is about my current pregnancy. If you're feeling sensitive to others' pregnancies, you might want to skip this one.

photo by a.m.b.

My pre-natal yoga teacher says again on Thursday

that baby knows when to be born

            trust that baby

            it’ll come when it’s ready

            trust your body

            it’ll go into labor when it’s time

            when you starting messing around with nature, you run the risk of…

Yadda yadda yadda.

I shrink inside. And say nothing, as usual.

As they talk, I wash my hands of the outcomes of the other women’s pregnancies. I am not in charge, I tell myself. I am not their pregnancy and birth guru.

But the running commentary in my head continues through the whole class. Into my evening. Into my night wakings and the next day.

No, don’t have that home birth! I know a woman whose baby died that way!

No, don’t go past your due date. I know a woman whose baby died that way!

On and on.

I know too many stories.

I want to tell these women the statistics.

I want to tell them not to be afraid of doctors and hospitals. Not to turn down the non-stress tests and ultrasounds that could save their baby’s life.

I want to tell them not to be afraid of induction. That a cesarean birth is not their worst nightmare.

I want to tell them that nature is harsh, and random, and kills babies all the time.

And I want to tell my yoga teacher to shut up about what’s natural, and to stop talking about medical interventions as if they’re all bad. But I forgive her over and over again, each week, because she’s the one who first told me to honor Joseph’s place in my life.

Before she said that, a few days after he died, I had assumed I was supposed to forget him, never speak of him, and have another baby as quickly as possible to replace him. She has been kind to me, supportive, and available. Through M’s pregnancy, knowing we would induce early, all she said was, “Well…” and held her tongue, and was happy for us when M was born safe and healthy. I haven’t said a word about induction for this baby.

She used to be a labor and delivery nurse. She is not naïve. So I find I can’t fault her, personally, for her philosophy.

So I sit with my discomfort, this feeling of being silenced, and I look forward to the day this baby is born, and I can leave behind my own pregnancy and others’ pregnancies, and I don’t have to pretend, or equivocate, or hold my tongue.

How do you deal with other people's talk of pregnancy and birth?