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Anita Hassanandani’s pregnancy announcement is proof that ‘well-wishers’ see late pregnancy as an opening to give unsolicited advice!
TV actor Anita Hassanandani recently announced her first child with her husband. At 39 years, her pregnancy was not looked upon favourably by her well-wishers and many of them went on to advice her against it. A lot of her apprehensions stemmed from the advice from these people.
Anita’s case sheds light on a largely unacknowledged fact about our society. Late pregnancies, are often seen as a license for well-wishers to give advice, even when such advice is not asked for. They are often used as a ticket for well-intentioned relatives and friends to make caustic remarks.
“But, are you sure about going through with this pregnancy, Avni?” Avni’s wrinkly old neighbour asked her. “Don’t mind my saying, but you are well in your thirties. Late pregnancies are no joke. More often than not, they are accompanied by numerous health risks for both the mother and the baby. I care about you, my dear. And I do not want to see you put yourself in grave danger this way. For all you know, this could turn out to be a harrowing experience for you.” Crestfallen, Avni’s eyes turned moist.
Avni and Kunal were married for years before finally conceiving. So, when the news of their pregnancy was confirmed, they couldn’t believe it themselves. Although initially ecstatic, they had their apprehensions. After all, Avni had just turned 39. Conceiving in the late 30s brings with it its own set of challenges.
Their news marked the onset of multiple sessions with their doctor. The doctors educated them about the potential health risks, how best they could be averted and the necessary safety measures to undertake. After several such consultations, their faith was finally restored and confidence reinstated. They were prepared for any eventuality.
Avni’s neighbour was one of the many ‘well-meaning’ people who had tried to dissuade her from going through with this pregnancy. From health risks to them being old and wrinkly when their kids started school, the reasons cited were endless.
Kunal had asked her to take people’s advice with a pinch of salt. But, despite her best attempts, each time a person offered her pregnancy related advice, her heart filled with dread. She would start second-guessing her decision and her mind would start working in overdrive. To the extent that she would drive herself into a mad frenzy.
Just like Avni, there are millions of women the world over who conceive later than the accepted societal age range for conception. Some are not left with much choice in the matter. But, for others, it is a well thought out, carefully planned decision.
A lot of women today choose to have stable careers and a good financial standing before planning for a family. Thus they choose to conceive in their late thirties or early forties.
This is sustained through women becoming more health conscious and medical science making monumental progress in recent years. Therefore, a woman choosing to become a mother in the autumn of her life is no longer considered an anomaly.
But, all said and done, naysayers still exist, ones who continue to demoralise to-be parents.
But, why do these so-called well-wishers feel the need to offer advice? Especially unsolicited one? Although, it sounds counterintuitive, most people do mean well. They offer advice based on their own personal experiences or those of close ones. Sometimes crossing personal boundaries while doing so.
They do this with the intent to help. What they however fail to see is the pressure they exert on the already worried expectant parents. Most expectant parents take the decision after weighing all the pros and cons and in consultation with their doctors.
So, when someone attacks them with rude comments in the guise of ‘well-intentioned’ advice, it could have far-reaching effects. These parents already have their own misgivings, which are heightened by such comments. A direct consequence of this could be them attempting something that goes against the advice of their doctors.
Furthermore, motherhood is a different experience for different people. No two people will experience it the same way. The old adage goes – If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. And this is what every person should swear by especially when offering advice to soon-to-be parents.
Expectant parents should learn to selectively filter out conversations which threaten their peace of mind. Only you and your doctors know what is best for your family. As long as you are going for routine health check-ups, following protocol, taking adequate safety precautions, the world be damned!
Picture credits: Stills from the actor’s Instagram
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HR by profession, but a writer by choice, I find creative respite through writing.
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