I know, I know, this should go without saying. There are so many reasons why it is not appropriate to ask a woman if she is expecting. They have been outlined in numerous blogs, recurring points including:
1) It’s none of your business
2) If she isn’t pregnant you are basically saying that she has put on some weight. Which is rude!
3) For women who are struggling to conceive it’s an emotional and sensitive topic
4) We know that pregnancies are at such risk in the first 12 weeks that many couples choose to keep it quiet, because having to explain to lots of excited friends that you have had a miscarriage is painful.
5) Even when there are no complications, deciding to have a child is a private matter. (See point 1)
6) All of these points still apply even if you pre-face the question with ‘I hope you don’t mind me asking but…’
A friend shared this blog post on the subject last week. And I thought it was fantastic and it got me thinking.
Since I got married eighteen months ago I have been surprised at how many times I have had to declare, ‘I am not pregnant.’
It’s amazing how many people are comfortable with hinting, making jokes and downright asking questions about mine and my husband’s reproduction schedule!
What is even more amazing is that a few times when I have been asked directly if I am pregnant, I have responded with, ‘no, I’m not. Sorry.’
Why do I say sorry? Why is it that, when people ask me this extremely rude question, I am the one who apologises for disappointing them and causing this awkward situation when they have to explain why they thought I might be pregnant which doesn’t include the words ‘weight’ or ‘tummy’?
Anyhow, I have another reason why I don’t want people to keep on asking me if I am pregnant, that isn’t mentioned in other blogs, and it goes something like this…
Rob and I aren’t trying to have children right now. But when we do, and if God-willing we are successful, I am really looking forward to the moment when I get to tell Rob that he is going to be a Father.
I don’t want us to sit together in Doctors waiting room or to stare together at pee soaked stick; if circumstances allow, I would love to wait and quietly get confirmation myself. I want to be able to hug that knowledge to myself for a couple of hours, maybe a day if I could last that long.
Then I would like to prepare a special moment to tell Rob that he is going to be a Dad. I want him to have that moment, and I want it to be uncomplicated, happy and just ours.
Now I don’t know if, when the time comes, conceiving will come easily to us or whether it will be a long drawn out process. I just don’t know, so I am careful with my expectations, but all the same, I think it is OK to dream of these things.
How important is it to me that I get to give Rob that moment?
Not very, compared to what it will mean to start a family or how important it is that the child is healthy. No, it’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it could be an amazing day!
It’s like an engagement. You see, what really mattered when we got engaged was that Rob and I love one another, and that we both wanted in equal measure to be married, to be a family, to be a unit.
That is what mattered, but Rob made the proposal magical by giving me a beautiful ring, by proposing in one of our favourite walking spots, under the stars, and for extra measure included a Chinese lantern and champagne. (I will tell the full story another day)
My point is, we could have gotten engaged without the ring, location, and extras and still been happy, but Rob made that moment beautiful for my pleasure, because he loves me.
And when, and if, we are able to start a family, I would like to make that new beginning beautiful and magical for him too, because I love him. And I want his life as a dad to start with me telling him he is going to be a father and all the reasons why I know he is going to be a great one.
The problem is I have a terrible poker face, and if people continue to ask me if I am pregnant at the same frequency as they do now, there is a good chance that when I am actually pregnant or think I might be, I may give the game away with my reaction and I would hate for anyone to know a child was on its way before Rob did.
So look, if you are in the habit of asking women if they are pregnant, stop it. Because one of the things I do look forward to (and there are plenty of things I am dreading) is the joy of telling people; starting with Rob and then my family and friends.
Sharing happy news is a wonderful thing to do, don’t steal a woman’s joy by guessing beforehand, or worse, by proclaiming ‘I knew all along.’ (Rude!)
So please stop asking me if I am pregnant because firstly, I’m really not, and it is inconsiderate.
But secondly, don’t ask because, when the time is right, and if it happens at all, I want to tell you! I want to see your reaction to the news, and I want you to share in the happiness and squeal and hug and celebrate with me.
But until then, until I tell you, stop asking and let me enjoy my lie-ins, freedom, extra cash and all the other joys of being a child-free adult in peace.