I think one of the most shocking things I learned after finding out I was pregnant was that every woman in my life who has children had a well kept secret. I know many women and none of them (except maybe one or two) had ever told me that they were experts.
Mom. Sister. Cousin. Aunt. Friend. Friend of a Friend. Co-worker. Neighbor. Old lady at church. Stranger in the store.
Yep. Every last one of them.
We’re surrounded by experts. They know everything about pregnancy, nursing, pumping, formula, bottles, baby bonding, vaccinations, skin-to-skin, swaddling, co-sleeping, sleep training, epidurals, non-medicated births, c-sections, cloth diapering, disposable diapering, baby carriers… and the list goes on.
Surrounded, I say!
But apparently these experts have taken a vow of secrecy. Their identities must not be revealed until the moment you post your super creative prego announcement on social media (which, by the way, at least one expert will share her own story of how she so cleverly told the world she was expecting). Just as quickly as you hit “post” these experts will emerge from every direction.
So, how do you handle these experts? I’m glad you asked! For me, it’s helpful to remember these three things:
1) In most cases they mean well. While there is the occasional “expert” who just likes the sound of her own voice or (sadly) who feels inadequate as a mommy and picking on your decisions makes her feel better, the majority of these “experts” are well-meaning people. New life is exciting and the impending arrival of a new baby takes many people back to a nostalgic place – a life-changing moment for them that they just can’t help but talk about.
2) There’s (almost) always at least one gold nugget. I’ve heard some pretty crazy stories and advice but, usually, there’s something good to be drawn from the expert, if you listen closely enough. Even if it’s “I’m never going to be like that” or “I’ll never do that”.
3) They’re not actually experts. It can be quite overwhelming to get advice from literally every woman you come across but it’s important to remember that they’re not actually experts. Sure, among them are some pretty awesome mamas but many of them are still trying to find their way and they just want to help a new mommy find hers, too.