I’ve realised that there are so many things that I censor/defend myself about in my daily life, in case someone incorrectly thinks that I am knocked up. I am so good at it now that I hardly notice I’m doing it anymore. Because on those rare occasions I let my guard down, the questions start.
ARE YOU PREGNANT?
Actually, you could say just about anything to someone who really really really wants you to be pregnant (bless ’em) and all they’ll hear is “I’M PREGNANT!”
So I am standing up today and saying – NO MORE. From here on out, I will say whatever I want, whatever I’m feeling, without worrying about what people think. I have been through enough to know that even the opposite of pregnancy (i.e. that bloody hell that occurs each month or so) can produce symptoms similar to pregnancy symptoms – isn’t that evidence enough that we just do not know jack about someone else’s fertility status, based on a few reportings of out of context symptoms??
So where was I…from now on, I will let myself be bloated without trying to hide it (it’s real life y’all – I eat and I get PMS – what can ya do). I will laugh about the lengths I will go to in order to satisfy an obscure food craving because that’s who I am. A ridiculous lover of food. I will turn down that glass of wine because sometimes (haha probably rarely but still…) I really don’t feel like it and I’m sick of drinking just to avoid questions (I think my liver and overall health will thank me for it). I will go into a shop and buy gorgeous little baby clothes without looking over my shoulder for people who know me and might get the wrong idea – THEY’RE FOR MY RELATIVES’ OR FRIENDS’ KIDS FFS. I will nest because it brings me comfort when the whole secondary infertility thing is getting me down. AND I WILL TALK ABOUT IT IF I WANT TO. I will reminisce on my first pregnancy (in real life or on my blog) all I like, because it brings me comfort and life changing memories and has no bearing on my current situation.
If some pharmacy/supermarket check out operator I’ve never met before comments out loud on my purchase of ovulation tests (or other such items), I will not politely answer them like I always do (seriously – my lady balls shrink up and fail me every time). I will give the coldest look I can muster and I will say, “That. Is none of your business.”
I will then complain to management. And probably shop online – BUT I shouldn’t have to. Which is my point.
I will stop using disclaimers constantly of the “before you get excited, I am NOT pregnant…” variety on my blog. I shouldn’t have to explain myself. Just take my writing for what it is.
Because the thing is, if I was lucky enough to be pregnant I would not be revealing it just because someone is the first nosy person to ask. I would reveal it to my husband, my doctor, my beautiful firstborn son (but not until I knew the pregnancy was pretty safe), the grandparents, the great grandparents, the people in my extended family, my closest friends, the rest of the damn world, in that order! Nobody else gets to decide they’re above the order of things!
There are several compelling reasons not to ask someone if they’re pregnant:
- They may have just experienced a loss, which they’re not ready to share with anyone. It can be hard for people to talk about.
- It may not be the time or place and it isn’t up to you to decide if it is.
- They may be feeling self conscious about their weight and you’ve just basically told them you’ve noticed they’re ‘fat’ (even if that’s not why you asked).
- They may be dealing with infertility and congrats – you’ve just reminded them of the one thing they’d love the most but can’t have for now.
- Don’t you think that if they wanted you to know, they would have told you already? See above for the ‘order of things’ – everyone has their own way they want it to go down.
- A lot of people do not like to reveal they’re pregnant until they’re in the ‘safer’ zone of the second trimester. It would be really unfair to disrespect their wishes.
- Some people choose to be child free and are sick of being made to feel like they are somehow lesser people because they don’t want to be pregnant or have children.
- Other people might have decided that they’ve had enough children (yes sometimes ‘just the one’) and are sick of people implying that it’s not ‘normal’ of them to not want another, or assuming that every person wants more than one (or however many they have at that point). Or that everyone can even in fact have more than one.
- They may not have even discussed the idea of children (or how many) with their partner yet (or may be dealing with some issues in their relationship which prevent them from trying), so why would they want to discuss it with a tipsy person at some dude’s birthday party (because those are the kinds of places that people tend to ask – are they not)?
- Someone might be struggling with some other difficult, personal, physical condition, completely unrelated to fertility.
I know this ‘asking everyone if they’re pregnant’ thing has been around since forever, and despite all the funny Facebook memes and blog rants, no-one seems to pay attention, BUT…
I urge you to consider these two things moving forward – the part where I call on you to help me with this revolutionary new way of thinking/behaving:
- Let’s not ask anyone if they’re pregnant (or speculate about them out loud behind their backs so it gets back to them). Let’s wait for them to tell us (or not tell us because we could be SO wrong and they might not even be pregnant or want to get pregnant). Repeat after me: It’s none of my business until they make it my business.
- Let’s talk about our NON pregnancy ‘symptoms’ openly (if we want to) and stop censoring ourselves or adding disclaimers. It’s someone else’s problem if they assume we’re pregnant. Let’s be rebels and let people make their assumptions (if they’re silly enough to). We know the truth and we’re allowed to share our truth. It shouldn’t be our problem if people are insensitive. We can call them on it, by saying simply “I am not pregnant.” and let them feel uncomfortable – not us. Repeat after me: It’s none of their business unless I want to make it their business.
I hope that by doing these two things, we can let women just get on with living their lives without being scrutinised. Non pregnant women should have nothing to feel embarrassed about and pregnant women who haven’t told you yet – that’s their choice. Respect it! Also, let’s not steal anyone’s thunder! It’s not our moment to take.
Are you in?!!
We all have moments where we suspect someone might be ‘with child’, but it’s how we deal with that curiosity (and excitement) that matters. I personally like to keep it inside my head, put it aside and wait. I’ve been wrong before and have never been more relieved that I did the right thing and kept it to myself!! I’d love if more people could do the same.
This post hasn’t been designed to shame anyone and I am certainly not passive-aggressively singling anyone out (so you can breathe out now haha). This is just something I know is an issue, not just for me but a lot of women deemed to be in their child bearing years. I just hope it inspires us to all move forward, looking out for one another 🙂
Have you ever been wrongly accused? Pressured like crazy to start/grow a family by well meaning people? Outed before you were ready to make an announcement? Have you ever accidentally accused someone and it was super awkward? I’d love to hear your stories – comment below or share this post! x