Friday, September 16, 2011

Pregnancy PSA (not that anybody asked me)

Disclaimer...I have said and done all of the things I am about to say not to do, but I guess one thing you gain going through something like we've been through is perspective.

I've said before how hard it can be to know how to answer when someone asks if you have children, or now that I am showing (big time), if this is my first child.  What Parke and I went through is (fortunately) very, very rare...but I know or know of SO many people who either have trouble getting pregnant, have experienced a miscarriage, have used an alternative method to get pregnant etc. etc.. . asking just about anything on the subject of pregnancy can stir up some pretty serious emotion.

We all know better than to ask a woman when she is due. I still shudder in horror and bust out laughing when I think about a friend of mine, who upon running into another woman she thought was expecting, reached out and touched the acquaintance's belly and asked when she was due.  The woman responded that the baby was born about a month prior... so there my friend stood, WITH HER HAND ON THE WOMAN"S EMPTY (and apparently fairly swollen) STOMACH!!! What do you even do with that?

But sometimes even asking  "So, when are you going to start having kids?" can cause a crying jag.  Obsessing over "who does the baby look like?" can be a faux these days in case of in vitro or adoption.  What number child is this for you can be a tough question for some after a miscarriage or loss.  Or occasionally I will be a in a situation (shopping, eating out) where someone I will never see again asks if this is my first child.  Sometimes I don't want to get into it so I will just say yes (always whispering a little apology up above)...but if the person won't let it go ("oh! you have no idea what you are in for!" or "Aren't you lucky to be having a little girl first!") by the time we are finished talking I am exhausted, kicking myself for lying, and near tears.

So bottom line, if you come across someone and have no idea what their current situation on child bearing may be, probably best just not to bring it up at all.  If the person is either actively giving birth (or just mentioned that she was expecting), you can stick with the "Oh my gosh, you look fabulous...this child is so lucky to have such a beautiful, smart, fashion-savvy mother"...or something to that effect.  Once the child arrives you can rest assured that anything along the lines of "cutest baby you have ever seen" will thrill every mother in the universe.

It shouldn't be this hard, in a perfect world none of this tiptoeing around would be necessary.  But from
someone who knows what it feels like to brace yourself for a punch in the gut every time you meet somebody new...well, your kind and lighthearted comments will mean more than you know.


  1. Wow. Thank you for this. I am guilty of asking "Is this your first?" and somehow have never considered that it is actually not an ok question. I appreciate this much-needed reminder!

  2. I still have to catch myself from doing it! It is such an innocent question, but after our experience I realized how loaded it can be: )