Last week I found out that I'm pregnant, and three months along at that. This came as a surprise to my boyfriend and I, who were just another New York City couple whose largest concern was when to bring our big orange Persian cat to the groomer. At first it was like being hit like a ton of bricks, but after about half an hour we decided to play the hand we've been dealt and gear up for parenthood.
In an age where celebrity moms such as Angelina Jolie and Jessica Alba have children without being married, where celebrity baby photos are lucrative business opportunities, I was surprised at the somewhat antiquated reactions I got from some people once I started telling them. By and large my family and friends were excited for me, but the few blips were not only curious, but somewhat hurtful. What is there to gain by insulting a pregnant woman?
Below are some of my favorite reactions. Try to avoid them the next time a woman tells you she's pregnant.
Are You Going To Keep It? If someone pulls you aside to tell you they're pregnant, chances are they've got some long-term plans. Quite a few of my friends asked me point blank if I was going to keep it, and if this was a good thing. "I'm happy if you're happy," one person said, as if they were reluctantly picking up a check at dinner.
Let's review: I'm 31 years old, in a committed relationship, employed, educated and I have a wonderful network of family and friends. Why wouldn't I keep this baby? Fertility is a use it or lose it situation and I actually feel quite lucky that this came into my life. It's a surprise, yes, but a very nice one.
Are You Sure You Have The Money For This? Unless you're someone's CPA, you have no reason to start questioning their finances. It's tacky anytime, not just when someone's expecting. If I weren't aware of the financial commitments involved in having a baby, I wouldn't be telling you about my impending birth. Sure, you can veil such statements under the guise of "concern," but a mature, pregnant woman really doesn't need anyone else's "concern." They would just like you to be happy for them.
I Know You Want A Big Wedding After The Baby, But You're Not Going To Have The Money For It Again, unless you have intimate knowledge of someone's finances, questioning them over a coffee date isn't going to win you any popularity points, at any time. A shotgun wedding personally isn't for me, and between now and June one isn't going to happen. Yet, numerous people said I could "get a quick wedding together" this winter before I really start to show, but that's not what I want. I want to be able to drink champagne at my wedding and not worry if I'll be hit with some weird wave of hormones that'll make me cranky. In about a year and a half I can assure you that there will be a lovely wedding in Connecticut, preceded by an equally wonderful bridal shower. Just the way I want it.
Tell Her Loudly, And In Public, What She Can And Can't Eat I've started every morning since freshman year in college with a cup of coffee. I had coffee almost every morning during the three months that I was pregnant before I found out. That said, my coffee habit is probably not going to stop. True, most days I don't feel like having coffee, (oranges have been my craving lately) but I like to loaf around Starbucks with a latte, just like anyone else. No, I'm not going give my baby spina bifida. Anyone who's ever actually read about caffeine and pregnancy knows that the issue is that caffeine restricts blood vessels, and in turn possible blood flow to the fetus. But like everything else, as long as it's done in moderation, you're perfectly fine. Any doctor would tell you the same thing. But if I start doing shots of Jack Daniels, by all means frog march me out of the room.
Refer To The Father As The 'Baby Daddy': Come on, I live on the Upper East Side, not a trailer park. Please make note of it.