Two Years and Counting

Those Unavoidable Awkward Questions
December 14, 2007, 11:55 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Last night was M’s office Christmas party. It’s typically a fun, low-key affair with food and drinks and a Dirty Santa gift exchange at the end. Last night was no different, except that I felt like eyes were on me, with everyone (or at least everyone who knows us well) wondering if I was pregnant. Now granted, I’m sure it was mostly in my head, but that’s just what I felt like. I’ve felt that way on more than one occasion—that people are looking at me to see what I’m wearing (if it’s hiding a bump), what I’m drinking (water or wine?), or how I’m acting.

This vague paranoia began with the first conversation of the evening. M and I started talking to the wife of one of M’s co-workers. She was bubbly and talkative, and the three of us were talking about all sorts of things, including her children. I couldn’t help notice she seemed to be talking fairly negatively about her four year old daughter who is just “crazy.” I’ve become more sensitive lately to parents to complain about their children. Not that she was truly complaining, but she did mention several times in the course of the conversation how crazy this child is, how she’s driving her up the wall, and how she’d slit her wrists (sarcasm noted) if she found out she was pregnant again.

I then noticed her eyeballing my empty hands. Great, I knew someone would point out the fact that I wasn’t drinking anything. “I see you’re not drinking—are you pregnant?” she asks with a twinkle in her eye. Under most circumstances (even with our particular IF issues), this wouldn’t have really bothered me. Yes it’s a little pushy and insensitive, but still, don’t get your feathers ruffled over every little thing. It’s just that I could tell that, although very nice and great in all other areas I’m sure, I could tell she was one of those girls who just asks blatant questions, even if they’re too personal to be asking of someone you’ve only met once, and that was two and a half years ago. That, and after I said I wasn’t pregnant, she said, “Are you suuuuurrre?” And when I said no again, she said, “I’m going to ask you again later in the night.” I mean, are you kidding me? Let it lie, woman!

But instead of making me sad or upset, I found myself feeling kind of ticked off. I know it’s natural curiosity to want to know if someone is pregnant. It’s just that it’s a very personal thing, and there are so many factors to consider when you’re dealing with a possible pregnancy. If you don’t know the person’s background, tread lightly into the waters of potential motherhood.

Maybe you only get this if you’ve dealt with not being able to get pregnant when you want to, but it seems fairly common sense to me. Even before I started trying to conceive, I know for a fact that I never pointed someone out and asked, “So, are you pregnant?” That’s just so invasive and brash. If I’ve learned anything through this past year, it’s to never utter the words, “So, when are you going to have kids?” to someone whose background I don’t know. If it’s a very close friend who’s gotten married and who I know is comfortable with me, then that’s one thing. But if it’s someone I don’t know well, or someone who has been married for two whole years and conspicuously hasn’t gotten pregnant yet, I will not ask because chances are, there may be issues and a question like that will make them feel uncomfortable. (The caveat would be if I have a strong feeling they might be dealing with IF and I’m divulging my own struggles in an effort to make a connection or to offer encouragement. And even that needs to be done carefully.)

Sorry for the rant. I just wish more people were sensitive to issues surrounding trying to get pregnant. Maybe it’s the people who can blink and get pregnant who don’t understand that it can be awkward for certain people to be asked questions like that. Most of the time, I can cut them some slack for being in the dark because it’s gone so smoothly for them. But last night, instead of cutting her some slack and letting those words roll off my back, I silently died a death or two of embarrassment and got a little mad (but a healthy mad, I think—because it’s better than getting upset and ruining a perfectly good Christmas party!)


2 Comments so far
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Ah – you are a better woman than me. I would have for sure said something brash right back about her insensitive comments and then would stated plainly “Getting pregnant isn’t quite so easy for every person” and given her a do-you-get-the-hint-woman look. Then I would have drank too much. But that’s just me, and a whole slew of the mess in my heart that still needs righting.

Comment by Heather

Wow!! i had such a similar experience. An acquaintance of mine asked me this same question, in the same vein.. about 1.5 years ago. I was shocked, since we’re really not all that close and it was so brash and unlike her . I just don’t know why she even asked me. Anyways, I actually held a grudge against her until a few months ago.. when I finally asked her for forgiveness and tried to explain to her how it can be a sensitive topic. Now she understands a bit more and was very apologetic.
anyways, i’m reading thru your archives. you have no idea how much it helps to have a Christian perspective and bloggers out there, in this crazy and confusing thing called infertility. I am so grateful. check me out anytime, just started up my blog a while ago! 🙂

Comment by Just Me

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