Updated: Dec 14, 2019
There appears to be an unwritten eleventh commandment. It allows people (under the guise of "well meaning") to comment and advise on other people's pregnancy and parenting choices in a way they wouldn't dream of doing in other aspects of their life.
How many of us have been with our partner for x number of years, reached a certain age (the "Big 3 0" tends to be a popular one), or just tied the knot, before people start asking all sorts of impertinent questions about when you plan to have children. To presume that someone wants children, isn't already trying and isn't struggling with fertility issues and the myriad of emotional and physical shit that comes with that, is, while perhaps well meaning, rather thoughtless. Not to mention those people that have lost a baby and are asked this question.
Once you are pregnant, it's as if you have transformed into public property and people seem entirely unable to hold their opinions back. From your choice to "waste money" choosing a private hospital to give birth in, or "risk it" on the NHS; to have a "brave" home birth or a "horribly medicalised" hospital birth; to "ruining the only real surprise in life" by discovering the gender of your baby or to be "unable to plan" by waiting to find out; to sharing your name ideas only for them to be commented on and judged or to be "no fun" and keep them a secret. Your choice of pain relief, size of your bump and hospital of choice will bring out more opinions than the Daily Fail's comment box.
And don't think you've escaped once your baby has made an appearance. Oh no the fun has just begun. Are you rocking them to sleep? Goodness you're making a rod for your own back. Let them cry it out. But be prepared for them to be horribly traumatised as you increase their stress hormones from all those tears. You are co-sleeping and attachment parenting? You'd never forgive yourself if you squished them in your sleep. Put them in their own room or they'll never learn independence. But not too early or they'll struggle to bond/ settle/ feed. Don't feed them to sleep, put them down awake but drowsy or they'll never soothe themselves. But milk will help settle them. Remember it's best to feed on demand. But make sure you have a ROUTINE. Read Gina Ford. Burn Gina Ford. You're using a DUMMY?! Your child will have deformed teeth and won't be able to talk. But wait, aren't all dummy's orthodontically approved?!! It is quite simply never ending and enough to turn any mama-to-be and new mama truly batty.
When people get annoyed at you for not taking their advice, remember they are not giving you advice but giving you orders. You do not need to obey them. My only advice (and I appreciate the irony in that statement): smile politely and follow your instinct.