Is there a way to brush off these comments... - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-15-2006, 08:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My SIL gave birth last July. She is really into sports and usually only wears sweats, shorts, and over-sized shirts, reagardless of whether or not she is pregnant. She also doesn't want to breast feed (she thinks its weird and gross to "have my child sucking my breast").

I am not one to listen to others, I usually let comments roll off my back. But she has made many comments about how its weird that I will want to breast feed for up to two years. She also makes comments on how I think its so great that there are maternity clothes that are form fitting, fashionable, and aren't afraid to hide a pg woman's belly. She'll kind of smirk and say that its so wrong for pregnant women to show off their body that way and "when you're pregnant, you'll feel the same way.".

Now, I'm only 4 weeks and granted, my body hasn't changed at all yet, but I don't anticipate feeling that I won't want to show off a cute pregnant belly. Nor would I ever ever change my mind on breast feeding based on someone else's comments, but she is starting to make me feel uncomfortable. She has somewhat convinced the rest of her family that it's weird to wear fashionable maternity wear and to breast feed.

So, here are my questions...

1. Do you experience comments like this from family or friends?
2. What do you do about it?

Thanks, sorry this was so long!
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Old 02-15-2006, 09:03 PM
 
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Lucky you! You get the opportunity to become the family spokesperson for healthy body image and natural mothering. Surely just by seeing how beautiful and happy you are, not to mention how happy and healthy your baby will be, all the negative images she created will melt away. Clearly she has some warped ideas about her body. How sad for her and her child.

Know that you are representing healthy ideas and just be yourself. Maybe in time she'll learn a little something from you.

By the way, I loved to show off my beautiful swelling belly! And I'm still blissfully nursing my healthy, happy 2 1/2 year-old boy.
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Old 02-15-2006, 09:35 PM
 
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I agree with Heffernhyphen that you have an opportunity to share the joy of pregnancy and the pregnant figure with your family. The pregnant woman's body is THE most natural and BEAUTIFUL of God's creations! Why would you want to hide it?? Sounds like your SIL is WAY more old fashioned than even I... and I though I tended toward pretty conservative. Also sounds like she doesn't want to show her body in general, not just preggie, so she's not the best place from which to listen to advice!

I still get comments about nursing my DD (23 months now) from my brothers. This is a passionate subject for me and since I'm very verbally open (to the point of shock in may subject areas, but not intentionally so), I let loose on them about how completely ignorant they are... and how I hope they find a woman who is like me and willing to do THE best for their children regardless of their husband's personal squeemishness. I'm amazed that they have the gall to say anything about it anymore because I will not hold back and they know this. Every time I start talking they tell me to calm down and I tell them I won't and that if they really didn't want to upset me, they wouldn't be such dolts! Of course, these are my brothers... It is different with others. The main difference is my composure. The information and my perspective that the insulting party is pretty stupid is pretty much the same. The stupid thing only comes up if I know that they KNOW BFing is best and still say that a mama should stop at ___ years old.

I aggre with Heffernhyphen also in that if you simply let yourself rejoice, then maybe your SIL will learn some valuable lessons about motherhood. And if not... well, you can still feel joy and happiness in your new role!

good luck mama!

IntactaLactavist, HomeBirthin' Baby Wearin' Co-sleepin' Homeschoolin', City girl gone Country Livin' SAH(HSing)M

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Old 02-16-2006, 02:10 PM
 
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Last time around, I didn't wear maternity shirts until about 8 months along - we just didn't have the money for them, and I had plenty of large shirts that covered me adequately. When I got real maternity shirts, I was so happy, because I actually looked pregnant and not just fat and dumpy!

I did have issues that time with being pregnant (DH and I were unmarried at that point), but by about 6 or 7 months I was really tired of not being identifiably pregnant. This time I almost bought some good maternity clothes I found at a thrift store before I even took the test! Though I'll probably just go up to the next size larger in pants since I really don't need the whole belly panel thing at six weeks

DS born 6/03, DD1 born 9/06, DD2 born 10/10, DD3 born 4/14.
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Old 02-16-2006, 02:31 PM
 
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I'm sure you already KNOW that you can do whatever you feel comfortable with, but I know it can be frustrating having to face negative comments on a regular basis. That said, I think its pretty obvious that your SIL is not really comfortable with her body. If you think of her in that light (and I'm not trying to be mean about it) then you can just feel sorry for her and not get upset about the comments. The pregnant body is a beautiful thing and I can't wait to show off mine this summer. And those breasts were made to feed your baby!!
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Old 02-16-2006, 05:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jule924
I'm sure you already KNOW that you can do whatever you feel comfortable with, but I know it can be frustrating having to face negative comments on a regular basis. That said, I think its pretty obvious that your SIL is not really comfortable with her body. If you think of her in that light (and I'm not trying to be mean about it) then you can just feel sorry for her and not get upset about the comments. The pregnant body is a beautiful thing and I can't wait to show off mine this summer. And those breasts were made to feed your baby!!
Jule is absolutely right - chalk this up to one more time that doing the right thing is harder and doesn't give much reward : I can completely empathize though, with being unwilling to endure this type of abuse. I've found that there are times when stating the obvious makes a simple and enduring impression: something along the lines of "I"m really sorry that this is such a source of discomfort for you, but you really need to knock off being rude". The important part is to call her behavior what it is, rude, but maybe the extra-value part being that you hold her accountable to her over-compensating. She can think whatever she wants, but she may not SAY whatever she wants. We probably shouldn't take comfort in this, but she most undoubtedly is and will be envious of how you do things - lack of confidence always envies confidence. I point this out only because it will help your goodwill towards her. Good luck mama - you're going to be gorgeous!
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Old 02-16-2006, 06:18 PM
 
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My in-laws have similar feelings about our parenting style, but aren't as vocal as your SIL, so I've never had to come up with a specific defense. But, I can say that I have had plenty of uncomfortable moments (particularly around breastfeeding and co-sleeping, two things I absolutely would not change and am sooooo glad we do). Everyone who has posted is exactly right, just doing what comes naturally to you and makes your family happy and healthy will win everyone over, maybe even your SIL. In our case it has taken a couple years, but its obvious to both our families that our daughter is happy, healthy, and bright - she obviously has benefitted from our choices.

Mama to Sophia (2/25/04) , Oliver (10/24/06) , and Norah (3/2/10).
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Old 02-16-2006, 08:39 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Media Mama
. . . just doing what comes naturally to you and makes your family happy and healthy will win everyone over, maybe even your SIL. In our case it has taken a couple years, but its obvious to both our families that our daughter is happy, healthy, and bright - she obviously has benefitted from our choices.
This is exactly the case with my mother. She has questioned our methods from day one, but just recently she said, "Well, I may not agree with everything you do, but I sure can't deny he's the sweetest baby I've ever seen."

Funny how having your needs met makes you that way.
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Old 02-16-2006, 10:41 PM
 
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i try to educate people in these situations.

i might say to her "i want to nurse my baby because that's what breasta are for. nursing is every babies birthright and i want to give her the very best start in life i can. nursing not only meets every nutritional need my baby will have for at least the first 6 months, if not longer, but it will meet my babies need for physical contact, emotional contact, and stimulation of her brain."

sounds like your SIL may have some disturbed body image issues and/or eating disorder (just guessing from the little info you have given)... so she might be very surprised that there are other more healthy ways to physically relate to your baby.

if she kept up the "weird" comments i might say to her, "listen sis, there are plenty of women in this world who would think you are really weird for not wanting to nurse your baby, so just lay off the comments becuase i find them pretty negative."

my brother gave me hell about nursing my baby in public or in the living room when company was over. he wasn't interested in listening to a word i said to him about it and kept up his rhetoric until one day i just told him i thought he was a pretty f*&ked person for believing breasts are only for sex and that i was surprised that a 40 year old man with 4 stepchildren could be so shallow. and we have had a total of 2 phone conversations since then. (we were never ever close though) you do have to draw the line somewhere.

but i most certainly try to educate first, before i make a person a big fat zero in my life!

"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift." -- Mary Olivercoolshine.gif

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