This week, at 23 weeks, my bump has definitely blossomed! I'm now wearing the full on maternity jeans, leggings and larger tops; aren't able to zip my (non-maternity) coat up and I'm generally feeling a bit tired with a four year old in tow also.
It's at this stage, that the comments start though...about the size of the bump, the position of the bump, the size of me, how the labour might go, where I'm going to have the baby, who is having my son when I go into labour, what happened to them during labour (usually all graphic and negative stories).
Here are a few classics I've heard recently;
"Oooo, it's going to be a big one"
"Haven't you grown..."
"Well, some second labours take longer than the first, you just never know..."
"Make sure (my son) isn't there when you're screaming in pain"
Why is it that people feel the need to comment, and why comment with negative or scaremongering suggestions?
Ironically, all of these comments have come from other women. It's as if they want you to suffer, as perhaps they did. It seems to be some sort of right of passage that once you've had your own kids, you have the entitlement to comment on other mums-to-be. Frankly, I find it both annoying and unnecessary.
Just because, at 23 weeks, (which is over half way!) I have a bump, doesn't mean the baby will be huge (why would it, my son was 8lb 1oz, so a pretty average weight for a boy).
Yes, I have grown, funny that...because I've got a baby growing inside me, which is now the size of an aubergine at 1lb and almost 30cm.
Yes, possibly labour may take longer than the first time around, but equally it could be quicker or the same length - perhaps knowing what I know this time, it'll even be more comfortable, fancy that?!
Who says I'll be screaming in pain? I didn't the last time. And who says my son isn't allowed to be part of my birth journey and experience? What is wrong with instilling pregnancy and labour to be a natural part of life and not something to over medicalize or fear? If he is happier staying with me (depending where baby is born) then so be it. I do think he would make a better birth partner than my actual partner sometimes!
Every time I've had comments such as these swung my way, I've swung it right back at them, with replies as those above. Childbirth really can be either a positive or negative experience, depending on your own expectations.
If you have a strong and positive mindset; know how to remain calm, focused and in control, why would your expectations be anything less than for a positive and comfortable outcome? However, if you're constantly being drip fed these negative connotations and believe your birth will be just how people will lead you to believe, your expectations will take a nose dive and only help reinforce a negative and painful experience.
I can wholeheartedly say, that even if things don't quite go to plan, I will be moving into the final weeks of pregnancy with a positive mindset and expectations, knowing this will aid the overall birth experience for both me and baby girl who is entering the world and our family.
Top tip: Tune out other people's negative comments, stories and opinions. It's your journey, to write yourself!