People say lots of silly things to you when they know you’re pregnant, that’s a fact, get used to it. “You’re not showing at all”, “you’re very big for how far along you are”, “my labour and delivery took 200 years and I almost died” and so on and so on. But there is one thing that was said to me a couple times when we announced our pregnancy, that really boiled my blood. Prepare yourself, this is my first official mama rant.
“Were you shocked?”
Seriously? This is a stupid and irrelevant question for so many reasons, I hardly know where to start. Firstly and most importantly, that is none of your business and why do you care? Call me crazy but I genuinely can’t ever remember a time, when someone announced to me that they were pregnant, that my immediate thought was “I wonder if it was planned?”. What I tend to think is how lucky that person is, how wonderful babies are and what incredible news that is for them and their family. Seriously, I don’t care if it was planned or not. This person is far enough along to feel that they can share this news with the world, they’ve come to terms with the fact that they’re pregnant (expected or not) and they’re telling you they’ve created and are growing a beautiful little person. Don’t worry if they were shocked or not, they’re probably not now or they wouldn’t be telling you about it.
Secondly, what if it was a shock? What does that matter now? If the person is keeping their baby, does the fact that maybe it’s conception was a surprise mean that they will love it any less? Are you actually concerned for their well being? Do you think the lack of planning will have a long lasting effect on their mental health? What is the real motive behind a question like this?
I was asked this by one person in particular who I know doesn’t respect me very much (if at all). It was the day after we had made our announcement and all day everyone had been so lovely and congratulatory. Later that day this person said, “Congratulations, were you shocked?” with a disingenuous “concerned” frown. I immediately said no and that the only thing that shocked me was how quick it happened for us and I regretted my response. I felt like I had explained myself to someone who had inadvertently or not, insulted me and it annoyed me. What she said bothered me instantly so why didn’t I say something? I know why, she completely intimidates me and I hate confrontation but I really let it get to me. I even started worrying if that was what other people were wondering and why? My baby was planned and we were so happy, did people think this was a mistake? It really threw me and the happiness I had felt all that day was replaced by negativity, which bothered me even more.
My boyfriend, ever the pragmatist, listened to my story that evening. He nodded and let me finish with, “Why? Why would she say that to me? I don’t understand.” His response was brilliant. He said, “Because maybe she’s not happy for you, maybe she wanted you to feel bad, maybe she’s a bitch but you’re the one who is letting one person’s ignorant question ruin one of the happiest days of your life babe”. He was of course, perfectly right (I love that guy) but I needed to hear those words to put things back in perspective, hormones are a bitch man!
The moral of the story is just don’t ask someone this. There really is no need and life is so much easier when you’re nice. Words can make or break a person’s day, we can’t always get it right but for this particular question, you have been warned!