What is it about a pregnant woman that gives other people the feeling that they can just say whatever they’d like? Do they think that the woman has lost her mind and will not remember the comments? I know that most days I felt I had some pregnancy brain, but that did not decrease the sting from some of responses I got when announcing I was pregnant.
“I told you NFP doesn’t work.”
“I thought you were going to wait before you had another.”
“Do you know how this happens?”
“Will this be your last?”
Well, gee. I wasn’t looking for anyone to throw me a party, but a little support would be nice. Many of these comments came from “well meaning”, pro life people. Some of them were family members. I brushed these comments off but after a recent encounter, I realized this issue needs to be addressed.
Recently, I was at a small store in my town. My friend, who owns the store, announced to one of the customers that she was expecting her fourth child. The customer’s immediate response “Don’t you know about birth control?” It was said with a smile and a laugh, so I guess it was meant to be funny. My friend looked horrified and gave a fake laugh and a half smile. But I sat there cringing. The woman left the store and my friend sighed. I told her that the woman was rude to say that and she mentioned that she’s been getting similar comments from others. I left the store and I was so upset that even my passive-aggressive, non confrontational-Midwestern self couldn’t keep it to myself. (I guess living on the East Coast for the last 10 years has finally gotten to me). I walked up to the woman and (very nicely I might add) told her never to say something like that to a woman who announces that she is pregnant. She looked surprised. She became defensive and told me that it was a joke and that she meant no harm by it. I told her that I realized it was meant to be a joke, but it wasn’t funny, especially if you follow it through to it’s intended meaning. She just told a woman—a woman who was obviously happy about being pregnant—that the child she is carrying could have been prevented. That is rude and in the future, she should keep those thoughts to herself. I didn’t win her over, but I said what needed to be said and went on my way.
So what’s the solution? It really is quite easy. When someone announces they are pregnant—it doesn’t matter what their situation is—it doesn’t matter if you are shocked—there is one acceptable response. “Congratulations” or some other form of happiness is the proper response. It doesn’t matter if it is your sister, your best friend, or a stranger. Say “Congratulations!” This will suffice. If you’d like to offer assistance in any way, that’s fine. But it’s not the time to get snarky or nosy. Show the woman that you support her. Show her that the idea of new life is something to be cherished and celebrated. Save your jokes and negativity for something else.
Have you ever received a less than acceptable response when announcing your pregnancy?
photo credit: Lauren via photopin (license)
Do you remember your middle school or high school reproductive health class? When I think back to my education about periods and “How babies are made” my memories are brief. I can remember short parts of videos or awkward condom demonstrations and disgusting pictures of STDs. Does this sound familiar to you?