Pregnancy Urban Legends
There is just something about a big, pregnant belly that attracts dramatic stories that are always about “someone’s friend who knows some lady” who suffered some bizarre pregnancy malady. It’s never a firsthand account when it’s the really weird stories, but for one reason or another there are plenty of people who seem to just be bursting at the seams, waiting to spot a pregnant belly so they can share the stories.
Why in the world do people think that pregnant women want to hear these horror stories?
During my first pregnancy, soon after my manager announced to the office that I was expecting, one of my co-workers took me aside and told me, “I had a friend who knew a lady who went blind during her pregnancy…something about the baby resting on a nerve…she stayed blind until the baby was born and then all of a sudden her sight came back.” Then, of course, she added, “…but I’m sure that won’t happen to you.”
So now I not only had to worry about the usual pregnancy stuff, but now I could also add the fear of suddenly going blind. Great.
I heard a bunch of doozies while I was pregnant, sometimes from complete strangers who initiated a conversation with me just so they could share their stories. I was about seven months pregnant when a lady I didn’t even know came up to me and told me the story about her friend’s sister who was a little further along than me when she had a dream that her baby was having trouble breathing, so she mentioned it to her doctor, who of course ordered an emergency c-section which revealed that lo and behold the cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck. “The baby survived,” she told me, “but if the mom hadn’t had that dream then who knows?”
Really, why do people feel compelled to force these stories onto pregnant women?
Personally, I didn’t believe the majority of the stories I heard. I think that some of them started with someone saying, “I wonder if the baby resting on a nerve could make the mom blind?” which then evolved into “I heard that pregnant women can go blind during pregnancy,” and then to “I know a friend who went blind during pregnancy!” and so on.
It got to the point to where I would just stop people when the stories began, telling them that I was nervous enough as it was and I certainly didn’t need fodder for my anxiety. Really, pregnancy made me emotional enough; I didn’t need more things to worry about.
You have two choices when people start telling you these stories:
1. Listen politely and then spend months trying to get the story out of your head.
2. Give the storyteller a horrified look and ask them to stop telling you the story immediately.
As for me, I opted for #2.