‘I’m going to stop you there’ and other conversational comebacks to protect your pregnant soul – blog at The Spinoff

At some point during pregnancy, it’s inevitable that you will receive advice you didn’t ask for, a horror story you wish you could unhear, or a reminder that things aren’t going to get any easier once your baby arrives. I spoke with a pregnant woman who recently tried to buy a beverage at a local farmer’s market and was refused service because the vendor felt that strongly that she shouldn’t be drinking caffeine, and he let her know allllllllll about it.

So what do you do when the unwelcome advice starts rolling in? Columnist Thalia Kehoe Rowden shared some advice in a recent blog at The Spinoff.

“When the advice that flies towards you is not welcome, for whatever reason, here are some things you can say:

  • ‘That’s something to think about [+ change the subject].’
  • ‘We’re still figuring that stuff out [+ subject change].’
  • ‘Thanks.’
  • ‘Good tip! Now tell me, what was your favourite thing about being pregnant?’
  • ‘Hmm.’
  • ‘Actually, I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed with advice at the moment, let’s talk about something else.’

This is important: you don’t need to engage with every person who wants to influence your parenting, either to take their advice on board or to tell them that you’re not going to. You can just say ‘Hmm,’ and move on, if you want.”

Pregnant people are also often subject to scary stories about birth or parenting. Kehoe Rowden offers some quick and easy responses when a conversation is going in this direction:

  • “Does this story have a happy ending? Because I’m finding I don’t want to hear sad stories at the moment.”

  • “I’m going to stop you there. I’m trying to focus on positive birth stories.”

  • “Please only tell me encouraging things at the moment.”

  • “I need your support to reassure me. Tell me what went really well.”

If someone in your life feels the need to issue the “just wait” warning when you issue a complaint regarding pregnancy, Kehow Rowden has suggested responses for this situation as well:

  • “So you’re saying that insomnia in pregnancy might be bad, but it’s only going to be worse when the baby arrives? That’s actually not very helpful to hear.”

  • “Yes, I’m sure each stage will have its own challenges. My challenge at the moment is [repeat what’s on your mind now].”

  • “Yes, I know there will be challenges. Please let me enjoy this stage while I can!”

Did you receive unsolicited advice or hear unwelcome stories or comments during your pregnancy? How did you respond?

About the author