Welcome to Ask Ada, Folks’ bi-weekly advice column for people impacted by health issues or disability. Want Ada to help you with a problem? Email Ada at email@example.com or tag @folksstories on Twitter with the #askada hashtag.
My Husband Is Scaring Me About My Pregnancy
I’m currently on complete bed rest as I experienced a placental abruption at about the mid-way point through my first pregnancy. In the beginning of my pregnancy when nothing appeared to be wrong, I’d whine and complain to my husband about being pregnant during a pandemic. I thought it was horrible. Yet, now I’m beating myself up over my naivety.
Here’s my real problem: My husband’s anxiety is making him keep researching my condition and sharing every detail he finds — and trust me, he never finds any positive news. I’m terrified and stressed to the max. I don’t want to hear anything else about stillbirths or the chance of survival for babies born at a specific week of pregnancy. I know he’s dealing with this in his own way, but how do I get him to stop?
Oh, goodness. Your poor husband must be so worried for you and the baby, but he certainly is not making any of this easier for you.
There’s two ways to handle this: gently or directly.
Let’s start with the first option. If he gives you reprieve from his “research,” see if you can bring up the subject without addressing it head on. Tell him that you’re feeling overwhelmed and you simply cannot consume any news or hear any stories that aren’t positive. Be firm here, but inviting. Ask him for help finding positive media, like books to read, shows to watch, or podcasts to listen to. Tell him you need to take your mind off your pregnancy complications so you can calm your body and allow it to do its job of growing your child as best as it can.
If he doesn’t quite understand what you mean, you’re going to need to be direct. Tell him that while you understand that he is anxious, it is actively harmful for you and your child for him to externalize that anxiety in the form of constant worrying and doomsaying. The stress he is causing you is making it more likely for you to experience further complications, and he needs to stop.
The stress he is causing you is making it more likely for you to experience further complications, and he needs to stop.
I appreciate that you’re trying to take his own anxieties into account here, but you really do need to focus on your mental and physical health at this point. You can’t allow his anxiety to be your burden. If researching so that he feels prepared is a tool he uses to manage his anxiety, then he can still do that, so long as he dumps that on someone besides you—maybe another (out of house) family member, or a friend. So don’t be afraid to call them in as backup.
And, that’s not it. It seems like maybe your husband’s been leading the conversation, but are you taking the time to talk about your fears, worries, or concerns with anyone? Is there a friend you can call or a counselor you’re comfortable with? You might be on bedrest, but the stagnancy of your situation gives your mind a lot of time to wander and worry. Your fears don’t have to be the only thing you talk about, but they shouldn’t be kept in, either.
A Friend Accused Me Of Having An Eating Disorder Because I Lost Weight During The Pandemic
I just saw a friend for the first time in a long time in the grocery store, and it was a really uncomfortable situation for me. You see, I’ve struggled with my weight my entire life, and being stuck at home during the pandemic actually helped me focus on my physical and mental health. I read a lot of books on nutrition, meditation, yoga, and more and I worked hard every day to change my habits and rewire my addiction to food. In doing so, I lost a lot of weight, which I haven’t really come to terms with yet.
Anyway, my friend made such a big deal about the changes in my body and I felt super uncomfortable. He even went so far as to ask me if I had an eating disorder! I didn’t know what to say to him to get him to stop, and I’d like to be better prepared next time. I know the change in my body might come as a surprise to some people, but I’m just trying to live a healthier lifestyle. Help!
Regardless of their intentions, it is totally unacceptable for someone to be talking about your body this way. It is not just rude, it’s harassment for a man to comment on a woman’s body this way in any context, and you are well in your rights to say that to your friend next time he tries this. Then, if he doesn’t immediately stop and apologize, leave.
You are not a spectacle. Why or how you lost weight is no one’s business, unless you choose to confide in them. Even if you did have an eating disorder that this friend was worried about, how would publicly harassing you about it in a supermarket checkout line be a good way for a friend to try to help you?
It isn’t, which is why the person who put you in this uncomfortable position isn’t acting like a friend at all. He’s just a person externalizing all of his own body image issues and toxic preconceptions on you.
You don’t owe anyone any explanations for the positive changes you’re making in your life.
You don’t owe anyone any explanations for the positive changes you’re making in your life. From what you mentioned, it sounds like you’re on a good path: your weight loss is a result of you forging a better connection with your physical and emotional health. There’s a lot of mental energy that goes into weight loss and weight gain, and a lot of unlearning, forgiveness, and acceptance that goes into embracing a new you.
So be proud of yourself. And don’t waste time on people who don’t support you in the way you want to be supported. Instead, as you work to come to terms with the new you, look to forge a support network of friends and family members who can help you embrace your new lifestyle with positivity and empathy.
Are you facing a problem that is being complicated by a health condition or disability? Folks’ advice columnist Erin Ollila wants to help. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us your problem.