What an OB Nurse Wishes She Could Tell Someone About Being Pregnant

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  • Stop complaining.  The older I get, the more friends, family, and coworkers I see having fertility issues.  Pregnancy really is a gift—yes, the nausea, the back pain, the pressure—it’s all a gift that not everyone gets to experience. Imagine if you spent years of your life unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant, watching time and money dwindle away from you with still no child to show for it? If you heard someone complaining about “the baby kicking so hard” you’d want to punch them in the face. Yes, sometimes being pregnant is not all rainbows and epiphanies.  Some days you might be miserable, but other days you may feel like you can conquer the world! No one ever said pregnancy is a walk in the park. That’s why men can’t do it :/ I’m not saying don’t complain about anything. I’m just saying have some perspective.  You have round ligament pain? Shocking! You shoved a rapidly growing baby into the tightest imaginable space…
  • You will not be pregnant forever.  It may seem like you will never go into active labor, but keep reminding yourself that regardless of what it may feel like, pregnancy doesn’t last forever.  Don’t get desperate at the end and beg for an elective induction or allow anyone to convince you it’s simple or easy.  Your baby will cook and come. Talk to your baby, talk to your body, and pray for a healthy delivery!
  • You will not care about the stretch marks 10 years from now.  There will come a point in your life where it just wont matter. They’re not “tiger stripes” or “baby blessings.” They are red and they may itch and they may be your body’s way of retaliating for being invaded by a little human being…but it’s your little human being. You are growing that baby and you are doing a damn good job. Will you want to wear a bikini if yours are as bad as mine? Probably not. It is what it is.
  • The time your baby is growing inside of you is the only time your child has to listen to you.  Every day I try harder and harder to reason with my tween daughter, who I’m obviously raising to be a lawyer. She doesn’t seem to listen to a single thing I’m saying, even when I’m standing right in front of her.  My voice just doesn’t seem to register on her radar. I miss the talks we use to have while I was pregnant, every night in the bathtub. I’d talk to her and rub my tummy and she’d kick to let me know she was listening ❤ So say sweet things to your baby while you have the chance and while they have to listen to everything that comes out of your mouth.

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  • Your tummy may not go completely back to normal, but that also wont matter.  My body has never been the same again since having my 10-pound daughter 10 years ago. My stomach muscles have been MIA ever since. But I did that. I gave birth to her. I’ve come to a point in my life where I don’t mind looking like a mother, because I am a mother. And that’s kind of awesome 😃
  • You might be anxious about going into labor, but the day will come and go and you wont remember much of it.  It’s weird, but it’s almost as if someone wipes it from our memory…
  • Put your baby skin-to-skin after delivery.  If your baby is born and is vigorous (not like a rag doll and not silent), your baby should be placed skin-to-skin immediately after delivery and skin-to-skin should be uninterrupted, for at least the first hour or until the first breastfeed. Everyone else can wait to hold the baby. In fact, tell them to hold the baby when you’re at home and need a nap.

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  • Your vagina does eventually goes back to normal.  You bladder may not be so lucky.  Despite what it might feel like the day after you deliver, your vagina bounces right back to normal. Your bladder, on the other hand, will despise you for the rest of your life. You might pee a little when you cough, or sneeze, or even laugh too hard. Forget jumping on a trampoline. Those days are over, Kegels or no Kegels. But remember, I had the big fat baby :/
  • Look at your partner. I hope you’re still together 50 years from now, but your child will definitely be yours forever.  It sounds cheesy, but we all know that not a day on this earth is guaranteed. Cherish the time your baby is inside of you, this is the only time you can control sooo many things that affect your baby. Studies show that what we eat, what we drink, our preconception health, stress levels (the list is endless)—it all affects the baby growing inside of us.
  • It is unrealistic to go through your entire pregnancy with absolutely no discomfort.  It sucks. Move on.  Again, think about men and their “man-flu.”  They totally couldn’t do what we do.
  • Breastfeed.  At least breastfeed the first feeding.  But do it for a day, or for a week, or for years. Do it for any amount of time, because it should be common knowledge by now that any amount of breast milk benefits your baby in ways we still don’t fully understand.  I’m all about a woman’s right to choose, but for the love of God, suck it up and do something selfless for your child.  Sorry 😞
  • Rest when you can. There are two types of pregnant sleepers: insomniacs and comas. I hope you’re the latter. Be good to yourself and rest when you can. The house and your career will not fall apart while you close your eyes for a minute and put your feet up.
  • If it were all unexpectedly over tomorrow, you would want to hold onto this day forever. We can’t control everything. No matter how hard we try, or how good we are at taking care of ourselves while we’re pregnant, we could all be blindsided with unexpected news. I’ve seen so many women come and deliver a stillborn. I’ve seen babies die from complications of pregnancy and delivery.  I’ve seen so many women find out during their pregnancy that their baby has a problem that would change everyone’s lives forever. I hope that no one out there is ever blindsided by the unexpected, but when you are, you would give anything you had if you could just hold on to your pregnancy forever.

Until my next delivery ❤


48 thoughts on “What an OB Nurse Wishes She Could Tell Someone About Being Pregnant

  • April 2, 2015 at 11:21 pm
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    Yes.yes . A thousand times yes. I LOVE and more importantly appreciate being pregnant and i make it a point not to complain. The good most of the time outweighs the bad.

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  • April 3, 2015 at 12:21 am
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    Exactly…it’s not like we spit 13 kids out like they did in the old days…nice blog post.

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  • April 3, 2015 at 1:11 am
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    Yes, yes, yes. There is no third trimester as uncomfortable as the one that doesn’t happen.

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  • April 3, 2015 at 2:03 am
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    As a labor nurse, and as a mom of 6 kids, I agree with everything said here. Waiting is so hard. Growing a healthy baby is hard. Worrying that your baby may be sick, or suffering a loss is even harder. I know, because I have experienced it personally myself. I will never grow another baby, but I will assist with many deliveries, most healthy, some ill, and some quiet forever. I pray that this reaches many parents to be. Enjoy that little life inside you, practice patience with the discomfort pregnancy brings, because I would love to feel that magical moment again, when I have that baby tucked up under my heart, and I don’t have to share him/her just yet.

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    • April 3, 2015 at 2:17 am
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      I look at my son all the time and am so thankful that he is okay after his horrible diagnosis. I don’t know what I would have done if anything would have happened to him.

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  • April 3, 2015 at 2:08 am
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    Looove this, perfectly stated!

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  • April 3, 2015 at 2:32 am
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    Yes! Especially the first one! A friend and I were preggo at the same time I had a misscarriage, later in her pregnancy she would complain to me about how she couldn’t wait to not be pregnant anymore. Meanwhile I was seeing specialist after specialist to deal with major problems following my miscarriage.

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  • April 3, 2015 at 2:41 am
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    This is a fantastic post! I loved being pregnant. I honestly miss my daughter inside of me some days. I finally got my miracle after 4 years of infertility and a successful IVF cycle. To this day I don’t like to see anyone complaining about it. There are so many wonderful women out there who will never have this joy unfortunately. Sometimes it takes experiencing something difficult to appreciate what you have.

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    • April 6, 2015 at 3:52 am
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      Agree. I’m an iVF mom and women who hate being pregnant make me very upset. I know it’s not personal but I still can’t understand it.

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      • April 6, 2015 at 11:54 am
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        I don’t think anyone, female or not, has any right to tell a pregnant women that she “shouldn’t” complain or that it is awful that she is complaining. Every pregnancy is different, and every person’s pregnancy is different. Pregnancy is super hard on my body. I end up with HG, HBP, terrible and horrific edema. My youngest- I also experienced the tearing/separation of my abdominal muscles, which caused intense burning/pain. She was planned and I wanted her more than life itself, but damn she really put a hurting on me and yes, I definitely complained the last couple of months.

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      • January 4, 2016 at 9:56 am
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        As hard as all 3 of my pregnancies were, going through 2 of them while in nursing school and having one as a labor nurse I would it again in a second. I had the high blood pressure induction from hell with the bleeding so bad I almost lost my uterus pregnancy, the kidney stones 2.5 hour blast out child with a nurse who told me “you cant deliver on just cervidil” as my doctor almost missed it, and I had the last wonderful one that taught me how to feel just how bad a 6gm bolus of mag can make you feel. they weren’t the easiest by far but they are the best accomplishment in my world. I try to make sure I educate my patients about everything they may have going on to how they are feeling through a patient education site. I feel this makes them complain or worry less since they know they are not alone

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  • April 3, 2015 at 11:51 am
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    OK- I agree with all of this EXCEPT the stop complaining and the breast feeding one. In my opinion, pregnant women have the right to complain at some point in their pregnancy. Especially that last 2-3 months and especially if they are having any sort of unpleasant complications. If I am huge and swollen to the point where flip flops create bruises on my feet, my abdominal muscles burn because they’ve been ripped and so on…yes, I deserve an occasional moment to complain.

    As for breastfeeding, while we all know it is wonderful for baby, I feel like there is SO much pressure for women to do it, that those that cannot or will not, feel shamed. I never tried with my oldest but I desperately tried with my youngest. Only to be told 2 weeks later that I would never breastfeed because I have tubular hypoplasia and simply have no milk ducts. It was beyond devastating. Not all women can physically produce milk, and so it becomes uncomfortable when others ask if you are nursing and you say no and then you either have to a) explain your medical/physical condition to someone or b) prepare for the comments of why you should. I shouldn’t have to deal with either.

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    • April 3, 2015 at 1:19 pm
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      I will agree with the breastfeeding thing… maybe it’s just my demographic (middle-class married stay-home moms) but I’ve found a lot of unnecessary pressure about nursing. I’ve had people awkwardly praising me for nursing my daughter in front of someone whose milk dried up at 4 months, or told me it was “so much better” for my baby that I was still nursing, that I was “giving her just what she needed.” Well, at 7 months we’re 100% formula now… does that mean I’m not giving my baby what she needs? Of course not! She’s growing and much happier than she was during the last six weeks of nursing when my supply was dropping. I’m feeding her, which is exactly what she needs. I would rather see babies fed formula from day 1 than to be a little hungry all the time if mom is reluctant to supplement, which I’ve seen happen too often.

      People ask me why I stopped breastfeeding… I give a snarky reply, like, “Well, breastfed babies are supposed to be significantly smarter and since she was showing so much potential we decided it was time to cut that off so her intelligence would come down a notch and we wouldn’t have to search out special schooling options when she gets older.” It’s not anyone else’s business! The only person outside our immediate family who NEEDS to know this? Our pediatrician.

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      • April 3, 2015 at 1:30 pm
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        Absolutely! There is so much hype around breast feeding that I immediately felt like I needed to defend myself when I said I wasn’t nursing. Why is that a question people feel like they can ask? It is personal and none of your business. Instead, I get defensive and immediately start explaining my condition, which is private and personal, just to defend myself. As long as a baby is being fed and well taken care of, who cares if it is formula or breast milk?

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      • April 3, 2015 at 1:56 pm
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        If people are educated in their decisions, then that’s there decision. I feel like there’s too much tolerance for NO breast milk. There is a mountain of evidence that shows even ONE feed is beneficial. I don’t like getting up with my kids at the crack of dawn, but I do it. But if I didn’t, it wouldn’t impact their future physical health. No breast milk does. So God, just do it one time. Just try one time. If that alone would be beneficial to your baby, then why do we have do much tolerance?? Lol I’ve always wanted to say that!

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        • April 3, 2015 at 4:47 pm
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          Oh, I totally believe it’s always worth trying, for sure! And yes, those initial nursing sessions (esp with colostrum) are so helpful for babies. I just think it’s important to be careful how it gets talked about, because the rhetoric I hear often ends up shaming good moms (and convincing some of them to half-starve their babies for a while!!!!) who gave it their all and still ended up using formula. Does that make sense? Even if “breast is always best,” there’s no reason to even unintentionally shame someone who tried and ended up switching. I know a lot more women who need to be reassured that using formula is not a sign of maternal failing than I do women who need some encouragement to try breastfeeding or to stick with it. So much of this depends on social and economic demographics as well, which aren’t always easily communicated online.

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      • April 3, 2015 at 2:19 pm
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        Yes- breast milk is wonderful. But is it the “end all, be all”? No. Not even close. The only “real” truth to the benefits of breastfeeding is that it provides antibodies, something formula cannot do. The rest of the constantly mentioned benefits are simply possibilities. There is no proven fact that breast milk with make your baby smarter. Enough with all of this mommy guilt already. I think it is wonderful that there is SO much breastfeeding information out there now, because it wasn’t 11 yrs ago when I had my first. The downside to this, is now women are shamed for formula feeding. Did I want to nurse my 2nd? Absolutely, and I put myself through 2 weeks of absolute hell, desperately trying to nurse and not understanding why my body wasn’t doing what every single nurse and doctor INSISTED it would do. Do you know how frustrating and emotionally devastating it is to be in the hospital after delivery, with your 10lbs baby SCREAMING because she is hungry and you are desperately trying to nurse her and she keeps latching just to stop and scream- and have nurses completely disregard your comments when you insist to them nothing is coming out? Instead, you get told you aren’t doing it right. TWO WEEKS. It took healthcare professionals 2 weeks to finally realize there was something wrong.

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      • January 3, 2017 at 11:33 pm
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        “lol?” to ChristineH’s comment about her breastfeeding experience? What a total bitch you are. I don’t even believe you’re an ob nurse. You can barely spell and you’re judgey as hell. Mind your own tits and stop shaming mothers. Cheers love.

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  • April 3, 2015 at 12:31 pm
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    Beautifully stated. I have 2 children and have been and L&D nurse for 30-something years (gulp!). My first was born at 36 weeks and spent almost 2 weeks in the NICU. My second child was born at 25 weeks (19 years ago!). To this day, when I hear pregnancy complaints and wanting to “unload” at 36 or 37 weeks, I know they don’t realize how lucky they are. My postpartum visit should have been a 31-32 week visit. can you imagine?! I STILL feel like I missed out on the last wild and exhausting weeks of pregnancy. Yes, my 19 year old son is alive and…multiply disabled. (and I tell my patients the TRUTH about it when they ask).

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  • April 3, 2015 at 2:42 pm
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    I realize every second of every day how lucky I am to be 34w pregnant right now. We tried for YEARS and went through 6 IUI’s before a fresh IVF cycle worked. My sister in law lost her baby to HLHS and Trisomy 18 and my sister had a stillbirth (both this year, during my pregnancy) due to a placenta abruption. However, pregnancy IS HARD sometimes and although my audience is usually my husband when I’m frustrated due to sciatica and carpel tunnel pains, I still think all women carrying a child have a small right to vent here and there. It doesn’t mean you’d change a thing, it just hard to be strong and feel fabulous 24/7 near the end ;) I know people are aware at how thankful I am for this blessing and what all we put into this pregnancy financially, physically, mentally/emotionally….but this is a great blog and reminder to try to appreciate every single pain and jab because at the end of the day you’d GLADLY take them all over nothing. Thanks for the post!

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    • April 3, 2015 at 4:52 pm
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      Pregnancy can be rough. It’s okay to vent sometimes, it’s just not okay to vent to someone who has had miscarriages or struggles with conception. Know your audience. :-)

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      • April 4, 2015 at 12:54 am
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        I sort of disagree. Many people are private about losses and infertility, and your complaints can be hurtful. I think it’s best to complain to those closest to you- siblings, Mom, husband.

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        • April 4, 2015 at 2:29 am
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          I think we do agree, actually… By “know your audience” I would say, only vent to someone you know for a fact is going to be only sympathetic. Like your husband or your mom! I’ve been fairly open about my miscarriages and I have the personality to tell *anyone* they are out of line if I think they are, but not everyone is like that, and no one should ever feel pressured to disclose their struggles. (I mean, pregnant or not… Sciatic nerve pain makes life a living hell. A living hell that results in a live baby, yes, but it’s ok to say, “wow this is awful,” to your husband or BFF. On fb for the whole world to hear you whine? No.)

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    • April 4, 2015 at 1:24 am
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      I’m so sorry for the losses in your family. But yes, I agree-pregnant women have the right to complain. Hard is hard! I do think that sensitivity is appropriate, though, and I think that complaining to your husband is A-OK, but not your sister or sister-in-law. But then I am sure you don’t. Congratulations on your upcoming delivery! How very sweet that will be :).

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  • April 3, 2015 at 10:45 pm
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    Yes on the body thing! I gave birth to two reasonably-sized babies after pregnancies in which I gained the “ideal” amount of weight, and after the first one I didn’t even have any stretch marks. But guess what? I’ve looked like I was about 5 months pregnant since I was, well, 5 months pregnant. The first time. Kid-Round-2 is now 15 months old, so that’s 2.5 years of looking pregnant, and I’m not just being hard on myself. Just today, a coworker asked me “delicately” (ha) if I was pregnant. I mean, who asks a woman if she’s pregnant? Who doesn’t know that that’s not a thing you do? Especially when you’re a mom yourself. Of course, I guess because she’s in perfect, thin shape in her 50s after having six kids, I guess she figured there’s no reason I should have a big stomach other than pregnancy… ;.) I understand; the women in my family carry a significant portion of our weight in our bellies. But yeah, I’ve got a belly even though I’m getting very close to my ideal weight, and I’ve got stretch marks, and while we’re at it, I’ve got more hair in general than you’re “supposed” to have. I love my body. I don’t need it to be perfect, and I don’t need to be totally happy with it just the way it is, but I also don’t have to hate it, especially when I look at my beautiful kids and think about the fact that they used to be a part of me!

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  • April 6, 2015 at 10:36 am
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    I have to disagree with the complaining bit- as pregnancy can be a difficult struggle for some who experience miserable complications, such as 9 months of extreme vomiting and nausea, severe pre-eclampsia or gestational diabetes. If we were to say no complaining, then why not say that those undergoing IVF treatments also cannot complain because at least they are able to afford said treatments and have access to such medical care- versus other women worldwide who suffer from infertility and have no opportunity to address the underlying causes or to experience IVF therapies. I agree that knowing your audience and being sensitive to whom you complain is reasonable, but to just say quit whining is a bit harsh.

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    • January 4, 2016 at 10:07 am
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      during the pregnancy of my 3rd child I delivered at least 10 demises as a labor nurse. I clung and worried every minute of that pregnancy. I was miserable at 26 weeks and on magnesium to stop my preterm labor and miserable trying to keep up with my job being huge and pregnant, I even clung to every minute I couldn’t breastfeed my baby and to try and get at least a second to myself to pump for him but complaining doesn’t really get anyone anywhere and doesn’t change anything. I never taught my children to grow up and complain about something in their life because someone always has it worse than you. Most of the things you complain about could probably be fixed with some education anyway. My kids all are great problem solvers and take what God gives them everyday.

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  • April 14, 2015 at 5:38 pm
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    I don’t agree with the complaining thing at all. Pregnancy is extremely hard (I had twins born at 32 weeks because of pre-eclampsia). Are people so wrapped up in their own lives and so selfish that you can’t be empathetic towards someone else just because you’re going through something yourself? I understand how hard it is to have fertility issues, I do, but I find it extremely selfish to think that everyone out there has to revolve around you and your feelings because of it. If I’m pregnant should I not even BE around a person with fertility issues because seeing me pregnant may “hurt” their feelings? c’mon. and i do know people who’ve done that – refused to be around anybody pregnant. People need to grow up and stop being so selfish and realize the world still goes round even though they are struggling. In general, not just with this issue, and it’s probably because of social media, people are WAY too sensitive and think that every silly comment made or opinion stated is a personal assault on themselves. Grow up.

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    • January 4, 2016 at 10:09 am
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      I agree Heather, you are right on! God throws you what you have and you have to live through it. You never know who or why something happens, it just happens for some reason

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  • April 14, 2015 at 5:55 pm
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    Also, I’ve loved your blog for awhile now but will be unfollowing after this extremely judgmental “list”. I don’t find it funny at all, like your other posts aim towards I think, just judgy and rude. Especially the breastfeeding part. Some people CAN NOT BREASTFEED. they simply CAN’T. and I would think as a ob nurse you would know that. I also don’t think that just “trying” if it makes the mom miserable which will then make the baby miserable is worth all of these “benefits” you claim (which are all not proven by medical research as well). I think you tried to backpedal with your “just try it once” stance but the original list was so judgmental and harsh on it that it didn’t really help.

    I would also think that you of all people know how hard pregnancy/delivery is as well being in your profession so to tell people not to complain, I just don’t understand. So the mothers you see that lose a baby, they don’t get to complain either? because at least they were able to get pregnant, while others cannot? really? that’s where this “list” is heading and it’s not very cool at all.

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    • September 22, 2015 at 2:22 am
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      I feel like the people making these comments, especially you, are ranting too much. I think you are being too defensive on a subject that is to be taken with a grain of salt. She is not saying every woman, especially women going through extremely difficult health problems during pregnancy, are complaining or anything negative. This article to me was refreshing for the fact that you have to admit there are women out there that are having a relatively healthy pregnancy, but are taking it for granted and complaining. And the breastfeeding, yes some women just cannot do it. She is just saying to try. If you cannot, she is in no way shaming you. It’s just your perspective. But there are some women that get psyched out or there may be family history of breast feeding issues, so they just don’t try or some women think they do not have time. She is just saying try. Just try. If it doesn’t work, there is always a back up plan! People are being too sensitive about this post. It’s a beautiful post. We should never take for granted the miracle of life.

      Thank you for the article xx

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      • September 22, 2015 at 2:27 am
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        Ooo ! Also my friend/coworker just had a baby! She turned out not to be able to breastfeed. Her doctor told her she needed to stop because the baby just couldn’t latch properly and “vampire feeding” (blood dribbling from the sides as he sucked) BUT she pumps all her milk successfully and feeds him. Though she is missing out on the skin to skin, she is still breastfeeding him in a way. Which is beautiful. She didn’t want to give up and she supplements and her supply is great. She found away around the problem. It’s just encouragement :)

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  • July 20, 2015 at 1:27 pm
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    Hi this is the first time I’ve come across your site and so far I really like your blogs. The only thing I do not like about this particular post is the bit about breastfeeding. Personally I would love to breastfeed but because of the fact that I could possibly put my baby’s life at risk, I can’t. When I had my first baby seven years ago, that was the one thing I was looking forward to the most but was told not to. I was devastated and used to cry about what was stolen from me. I’m pregnant with my second baby and again I have to follow the same advice. Yes it bothers me but women shouldn’t feel pressured about it or made to feel as if they are a bad mother for not doing so. I do envy women who can breastfeed freely and yes I also get annoyed by those who choose not to for vanity reasons but those of us who have been medically advised that we should not in order to protect our babies should not be made to feel like less of a mother because we can’t.

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  • December 5, 2016 at 4:53 pm
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    Please stop telling women to “stop complaining”. In so many areas of life, women are told to “be quiet”, and it’s not okay. Would you tell any other person with any other condition to stop complaining because they are lucky to just be alive? No, you wouldn’t. Just because a women is in extreme discomfort and pain, does not mean they aren’t thankful for being pregnant. We must support each-other.
    Empathy is very important. As a nurse myself, I believe it is one of the most important qualities a nurse must have. Empathy drives our compassion to keep working, learning, and engages our curiosity. Please remember to be kind to one another. You never know what other battles a person is fighting.

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