Adding to the list of the ever-growing things to never say to a pregnant person, “just be grateful”. We’ve all heard it. I won’t argue that practicing gratitude is a useful exercise, but it’s not a damn switch. Why don’t people understand that we are almost always already grateful. If I could have yelled at the top of my lungs, aided by a megaphone, with all six pregnancies, “stop telling me to just be grateful!”, I would have. Alas, I would have been dubbed an overly emotional witch who was on the verge of a breakdown and was definitely undeserving of the title “mother”.
But here’s the thing. Pregnancy is hard at some point, for almost everyone. There will be at least one minute in the entire 9 months that sucks. There are 40 weeks, 6570 hours, and 394200 minutes in a pregnancy. That’s ample opportunity for your very favorite uterine inhabitant to cause some chaos. Our bodies are growing another f%*&ing person! How is it possible that we *wouldn’t* need to say “ouch”? Not only are there enough changes happening to make a butterfly swoon, you might have to contend with nosy people who somehow left the house without their “this is inappropriate” filter. So then, that leaves you in the grocery line just trying to buy something that doesn’t induce your best Exorcist reenactment when someone decides to impart their all-applicable wisdom.
What they don’t understand is that complaining about the craptastic moments doesn’t negate one’s thankfulness. It doesn’t mean you aren’t already infatuated with the growing bub whom you’ve dubbed with affectionate (and oddly tasty) names such as butternut squash or peanut brittle. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t fascinated and appreciative of your body and of the process. Sharing your struggles doesn’t mean you “hate life” or don’t care about your’s or your baby’s health. It doesn’t mean that you are delighting in misery! Contrary to Facebook life coaches’ advice, you can vent for your health. Air it all out like that impressive stack of laundry on your table. And then, you can delve right back into however you practice gratitude.
Practice some key phrases
The next time you hear someone tell you to “just be grateful”, tell them, “I am”. Simple as that. You don’t have to explain if you don’t want to and you certainly aren’t required to entertain their nonsense. But if you’re feeling cheeky, here are some others you could try:
- “Oh, I hadn’t considered that at all”
- “Wow, you must be psychic since you are so adept at reading my mind”
- “Grateful-what does that mean?”
- Just nod with an exaggerated wink
- Whatever creative way you have had success with
Most people are well-meaning and they simply don’t know what to say, but that doesn’t make this phrase any less invalidating or irritating. Just know that you can tell them that it’s more grating than hearing Matthew Mcconaughey talk. And that you’d appreciate if they either supported you (“hey, bring me tacos”) or that they GTFO.
In gratitude of support and real talk,