Not a native Texan, I learned about the beloved state flower of Texas, the bluebonnet, when I moved here. I fell in love with the bluebonnets once I had children – and learned about the Texas tradition of taking photos in bluebonnets. Loving photography as I do, this was an easy tradition to adopt and I eagerly await the three weeks each year when bluebonnets are in bloom.
Our bluebonnet pictures over the years
As I was driving through the Texas countryside a few weeks ago I found myself ‘oohing’ and ‘aaahing’ at all the little patches of bluebonnets springing up along the side of the road. My parents (who were visiting from out of state) were driving behind me and when we reached our destination the first thing I asked them was, “Did you see all the bluebonnets along the road?” They have seen my bluebonnet photos and are aware of the tradition and I was excited they could actually seem them in bloom in person.
“No, we didn’t. But we did see the cactus,” was my mom’s reply.
Huh. I didn’t see any cactus. How could two people driving along the same road see different things? Continue reading
As you may have heard in the media recently, Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, wants to ban the word “bossy”, saying we should instead say those girls are leaders (as she specifically speaks of). Without getting into the debate on that topic specifically, I do think she has a point on a larger scale – we need to be more mindful of the words we use and their possible effect on those to whom we speak.
I believe being mindful about our speech is important in all aspects of life. When communicating, sometimes the better option is more mindful words or no words at all (remain silent).
I’ve noticed some common insensitive words or phrases that may be subtly sabotaging women at vulnerable times of their lives (pregnancy, childbirth, newborns, and babies). You probably use most of these words and don’t think twice about it. I’d love for you to read the list with an open mind.
I’ve also included a list of better, more mindful alternatives. As you read these words, try to visualize how it feels to hear each set of words.
1. Overdue vs. Post Date
During pregnancy an estimated delivery date, or “due date”, for the baby is calculated. While only four percent of women will deliver on their due date, it is quite common for people to consider the due date some sort of absolute, final day. There seems to be much fear and anxiety about approaching the due date and even more so about going past it. If a pregnant woman goes past her estimated due date many people, including health care practitioners, use the term “overdue” to refer to either the woman or the pregnancy.
The problem: When used to describe a woman’s pregnancy, “overdue” can seem judgmental and can infer that something is “wrong” or not as it should be, that “something should have happened by now” – and that some action must be taken. When used to describe a pregnant woman (i.e. she’s overdue, I’m overdue) it can cause undue stress to the mother, with her possibly thinking she is doing something wrong.