Alex Vance with her daughter during pregnancy

What My Second Pregnancy Taught Me About Unsolicited Advice

To tell or not to tell? It was one of the first questions that crossed my mind during both of my pregnancies. The first time around, I barely waited for the test stick to dry before I was shouting the news to my parents and closest friends—and by closest, I mean those who heard way too much about my menstrual cycle while trying to conceive. Everyone else, however, had to wait.

As societal pressure reminds us, there's a highly-recommended 12-week wait before the big reveal since most miscarriages occur during that time frame. Because the risk decreases in the second trimester, my instinct told me to wait until after the 12-week mark to inform the social media world.

That said, the wait was agonizing. My insides felt like Mentos dropped in a Coca-Cola bottle—about to explode at any moment. So, when I found out we were expecting for a second time, I decided not to let the 12-week wait eat me alive. My husband and I were a little more lenient when it came to telling friends and family, and it was such a relief. We still waited to make the big reveal online, but if we wanted to tell someone in person, we would! The risk of miscarriage was still there, but I knew no matter what happened, we had their unwavering support.

When it came to sharing the news with our 2-year-old daughter, we approached it delicately. I searched her favorite shows and found a particularly sweet "Bubble Guppies" episode about having a new sibling. I bought books about being a big sister and taught her how to take care of her baby doll. She learned to rock the baby to sleep, give her a bottle, and feed her in a highchair. I showed her how to be quiet while her baby doll napped, which, to be honest, may have been one of my best moves. I explained to her that as the baby grew, Mommy's tummy would grow, too.

We were rolling through the first 12 weeks of my second pregnancy with ease until our big social media announcement at 13 weeks. Once we did, I was hit with one aspect of pregnancy that I had forgotten about, and it resurfaced with a vengeance: unsolicited advice.

I didn't understand the need to inject particularly unhelpful advice at every turn. Why was there such a desire to rain on my motherhood parade?

While it's typically well-intentioned, pregnancy and parenting advice you don't ask for can be overwhelming and frustrating. When my daughter was finally sleeping through the night, I was hit with, "Wait until she has a sleep regression!" When she was in the throes of her terrible 2's, I heard a chorus of, "Just wait until she's 3!" If I posted a maternity picture, I had to hear, "You look so small!" I didn't understand the need to inject particularly unhelpful advice at every turn. Why was there such a desire to rain on my motherhood parade?

During my second pregnancy, I realized it doesn't matter how many kids you have or how seasoned of a parent you are—someone will always have an opinion. The "advice" was unending, whether it was about the food I ate during pregnancy or the amount of screen time I allowed my daughter. Someone will always think differently than I do, which creates endless opportunities to share it during any kid-related conversation.

I decided then that it was time to let it all go. I reduced my social media posts about anything pregnancy or parenting-related, especially when it came to raising my first daughter. There was no escaping the unnecessary comments, and I was tired of hearing, "Wait until you have two kids!" or "Get ready for even more sleep deprivation!" If I wasn't in the mood for comments, I didn't post anything. It was that simple.

Most importantly, I was more proactive in seeking out the advice I did want. I read every "What to Expect" book from the series could find (I love the author's blunt yet humorous tone). Instead of posting a pregnancy question online, I reached out to close, trusted friends. They gave me tips I actually needed, like how to deal with sibling rivalry, when to move them to the same room, and how to tune out the sound of two tiny velociraptors at the same time.

At the end of the day, the only valuable advice I received came from two people: my OB/GYN and my daughter's pediatrician. It didn't matter if Jane from high school reemerged online to exclaim that she would never let her baby cry at night; our pediatrician and I had a plan. I didn't care if a distant cousin sent me links for a "better" swaddle; I knew my doctor had approved the ones I had.

As ready as I felt for our second baby, I still wasn't fully prepared for all of the forced conversations about my pregnancy and parenting choices. It didn't matter that I had been pregnant before. In the eyes of others, I still had a lot to learn, and I'll admit, they did teach me one thing—albeit probably not the lesson they aimed for.

The overbearing advice-givers taught me patience. They encouraged me to look for the good intent behind opinions I didn't ask for.

The overbearing advice-givers taught me patience. They encouraged me to look for the good intent behind opinions I didn't ask for. They helped me realize that I had people around me who just wanted to help (even when it was the last thing I wanted), and for that, I was grateful.

When I learned how to avoid negative comments online and gently dismiss them in person, I felt the stress of the situation start to subside. It became like white noise or muffled background music, easily drowned out by the excitement I had over baby number two. I was in charge of my children's happiness and well-being, which I was fully capable of providing—no matter what anyone else had to say about it.

1 Source
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  1. March of Dimes. Miscarriage.

By Alex Vance
Alex Vance is a freelance writer covering topics ranging from pregnancy and parenting to health and wellness. She is a former news and features writer for and Blog Writer for The HOTH. Her motherhood-related pieces have been published on Scary Mommy, Motherhood Understood, and Thought Catalog.