Words of Life to a Pregnant Woman (part 1)

This past weekend, I had the privilege of attending a friend’s wedding, a delightful collection of amazing people from nations all around the globe. It was a beautiful, international celebration!

While there, I sat for a while and chatted with my friend, Puleng, who is currently 38 weeks pregnant. She’s gorgeous! This lovely, ebony beauty from the Dominion of Lesotho. She affectionately calls herself a Lesotho princess, and I wholeheartedly agree with her.

She started to tell me how difficult it’s been to prepare for this new baby. The waves of fear rolling over both her and husband have been suffocating. And they’re getting it from all sides―not only from doctors who are obliged to tell them what could go wrong but also from well-meaning acquaintances who share their personal horror stories.

Please, people, don’t do this! It is not ok to scare the life out of a new mommy until she’s paralyzed at the thought of the impending birth. Seriously?! How is that even helpful?

So, before I hear this from yet ONE MORE woman, here are my thoughts on “WHAT NOT TO SAY TO A PREGNANT WOMAN.”

1. Don’t tell her the WORST case scenario

This sounds kind of obvious, but you’d be surprised at what people actually share with a pregnant woman. Serious complications, nightmare experiences (both during and after), hospital failures (including terrible doctor or nurse stories), and difficult baby issues (such as colic, reflux, and ‘you’ll never sleep again’). Shocking.

Don’t do this! Whether you are innocently trying to give her a heads-up or indulging in an “I can beat that story” competition with your friends (especially if she’s in the room with you), don’t do it! Be aware of your surroundings.

These kinds of stories only serve to plant FEAR into the heart of a new mom, and that’s the last thing she needs. Fear will cause her body to be tense, uptight, and resist what it needs to do in order to deliver that baby. Fear is a bad thing!

A pregnant woman’s #1 enemy is FEAR. Fear of pain, fear of failure, fear of loss. At all costs, don’t make her more afraid than she is already.

2. Don’t tell her the BEST case scenario either

Ok, this may sound contrary to what I’ve said already, but hear me out. When I was pregnant with my first child, someone gave me a copy of a very popular book which basically taught that, because the curse of sin has been broken through the cross, we don’t have to experience the curse of having a painful birth experience. We can experience “strain, no pain” in childbirth.

Don’t get me wrong. The message isn’t false; it’s all true. The curse HAS been broken, and God’s heart for His children is to bless them way beyond their wildest expectations. It’s true, and many women have been greatly encouraged by this book.

The problem was in HOW I received that message. I loved the stories of one-hour, pain-free deliveries. Who wouldn’t want that? And I fully expected to be the exception to all of the horror stories around me. But when the ‘back labour’ hit and my contractions soared far above the “strain” level right into the “pain” level, I thought “God, why do you hate me?”

I wasn’t just disappointed; I was devastated! The presence of such pain made me feel like I wasn’t spiritual enough. “Those other women must be sooo much more spiritual than me. Something must be seriously wrong with me. Why can’t I have a supernatural childbirth? I’m obviously not worthy.”

A pregnant woman’s 2nd worst enemy is COMPARISON, especially if she’s comparing her experiences with those of other women who’ve had it much easier.

So, if you can’t tell her the worst and you can’t tell her the best, what should you say?

3. Tell her how POWERFUL she really is

♥ Tell her that the human body is amazing! Everything about childbirth is a miracle. Did you know that hormones released during pregnancy cause the cartilage holding her hips together to soften, eventually letting the baby pass? I know, because during my last two pregnancies, those hormones kicked-in earlier than usual, and I actually had to wear a brace to hold my hips together. That’s amazing!

♥ Tell her that she was MADE to do this! The more she knows about her body, the more empowered she will feel. Childbirth isn’t something that happens TO her―it is something she DOES!

♥ Tell her to aim for the Adrenalin! Yes, childbirth is physically more challenging than ANY exercise class you will ever take. Imagine doing pilates for 12 hours straight. Are you going to be tired? You betcha! But, let me tell you, the adrenalin rush that comes at the end of having that baby will beat ANY HIGH you can imagine. No drug will touch it. It’s the best! After my natural deliveries, I was super tired, but the adrenalin rush was so incredible that I just wanted to run around that hospital a couple of times, and then eat a STEAK! Don’t give me any toast and jam―I want steak!

♥ Tell her that you believe in her!

♥ Tell her that she CAN do this!

♥ Tell her that she is powerful!

♥ Tell her that she is beautiful!

♥ Tell her that she is going to be a Great Mom!

♥ Tell her that you are going to be there for her afterward (and mean it).

These are Words of Life to a Pregnant Woman!

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Part 2 of this series is going to list The Best and Worst Things to Say to a Pregnant Woman. I want to hear from YOU!

  • In the comment box below, tell us the BEST and WORST thing you heard someone said to you when you were pregnant?

Those unforgettable moments either make us laugh or cry, but sharing the experience will always bring a smile.

7 replies
  1. Rone
    Rone says:

    I LOve this and totally agree Shauna! natural birth to me, was one of life’s MOST exciting, yet challenging times…because I never thought I had it in me!!! and there I was, in Labour, dilating…and out comes a NEW BABY AND IT IS MINE?!! I felt like a superstar, with a golden globe award!!! yeah!!!!

    if I think back now…this first thing that comes to mind, when I think about WHAT NOT to tell a pregnant woman… “geez, you’re carrying a huge baby…!!!” (what?! whyyyyy?) my goodness I never could understand why WOMEN who also had children, can say something like that to another pregnant woman?! allllll the fear and anxiety of “i will not be able to give birth naturally…” sets in and your fight against generational stuff gets even more challenging (so then the testimony is yet amazing and more juicy 😉 bahahaha
    Afrikaans people like to think they sometimes can “see” what you are carrying… boy or girl… and one of the things to say when u carry a boy is “aaaah you wear it all on your face” …meaning… YOUR FACE IS FAT AND CHUBBY…. so yeah, some of us had issues about weight when we were younger and so after getting saved and got the big revelation on what beautiful temple your body is to God and how He would love to use your body as an instrument to shine His glory… I still have to work through those thoughts popping up sometimes, sometimes every week… or everyday….especially when you are PREGNANT and have a very healthy appetite!

    WOMEN of the world… please tell me:
    “You look gooood!” (even if it is the smallest of ‘good’ you can find… even if it is just the fact that I’m glowing…or that my smile is the only thing that is stll the same – after having kids- haha)
    “you are ALREADY a good, natural mom…you will be just fine!”
    “WHEN you do get it wrong, it is OKAY…you wouldn’t be sending your child to Ancient paths #23… and even if you do, GOOD FOR THE CHILD!”
    I think all pregnant women wants to hear something positive and something interesting or even something totally different than “hiiiiiiii (and they only look at your belly………..) howr you feeling??? (and then they RUB your belly, without asking….for me that is like stroking my boob without knowing!) 🙂
    Have some interest in ME, as a human, also… not only in my humongous belly.
    please order me a cappachino, and not a rooibos latte and tell me all about how you are doing 🙂

    oh what a wonderful thing it is to bear such a miracle as a baby… it truly is one thing I get emotional about because I’m so passionate about NATURAL birth…and the PROCESS of every birth…and the stories…every pregnancy is different and so every birth too…yay for that!!!

    yours in writing…
    lotsa love
    (feels good to write this long, even if my 1 year old is strangling my leg and nagging….)

    Reply
  2. blaaklistwriters
    blaaklistwriters says:

    Haha, Rone! I love that you are so expressive and passionate! Great feedback! And I totally agree about the belly thing… it’s just good manners to ask permission first.
    (Maybe you should be a guest-writer sometime… 😉

    Reply
  3. Martha G. Brady
    Martha G. Brady says:

    the other reminder is that no matter how the baby gets here…even if a c section has to happen, they are not a failure as a mom. it will take a little longer to feel better, but they are still a successful mom, they have a live baby, they did well and will continue to do so with encouragement. the idea that just b/c they didn’t have a full on natural childbirth does not mean they didn’t have a successful labor and delivery. that is a hard burden to place on moms. especially if they needed an emergency section.

    Reply
  4. Meni
    Meni says:

    This is awesome!! I absolutely loved both my pregnancies – two boys! To answer your question though…
    What not to say: don’t tell me “get used to sleepless nights” aaaahhhhh!!! It wasn’t even that bad cuz newborns sleep a lot and your body gradually gets used to sleeplessness. God is so good to us!

    What to say: everything that you have mentioned above Shauna. I want to echo the point “tell her that she’s going to be a great mom” cuz life is hard and it throws you curve balls all the time and you may miss it as a “mom” but it’s ok. Your kids won’t hate you or leave you or die!!! So what I’ve he sent is to Be vulnerable with them and real. Be real mom!

    Cheers xx

    Reply
  5. Carien Strydom
    Carien Strydom says:

    Currently 20 weeks pregnant, and absolutely needed to hear this! I agree with Martha, PLEASE don’t give me a negative opinion on my birthing plan choice! Don’t tell me that God made my body for natural birth. Just tell me to do whatever feels right and safe for ME and MY BABY. And that counts for everything, from birth all the way to breastfeeding! Just shower us with love, encouragement and a safe place of acceptance!

    Reply
    • Shauna Blaak
      Shauna Blaak says:

      My friend, I’m so glad you visited today. It sounds like you’ve been struggling with strong opinions around you. The truth is that your body IS made to do this; you are strong and powerful. But it’s also equally true that God has given you discernment to make decisions concerning all of the other factors. Your health issues must certainly factor into your birthing plan. Thank God that we live in a day and age where we have options! I do love you and wish you a happy, healthy, and safe birth. 🙂 You can always come to me for encouragement and support.

      Reply

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