One Question We Need to Stop Asking Pregnant Women

 

My husband and I were ecstatic to announce that I was pregnant. All of our family, friends, and acquaintances gave us very positive responses and well-wishes, but amid all of the felicitations, there was an odd question that kept cropping up, “Were you guys trying?” and it never got less awkward or surprising.

 

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The question wasn’t malicious; these people were genuinely curious if our baby was… an accident? A surprise? I’m still not entirely sure what they were trying to ask us, and I’m still left wondering why the question even mattered. I understand that in the moment people (myself included) can lack a certain finesse, but there is no correct answer to the question, “Were you trying?”. This leaves the expectant couple with two uncomfortable answers: “No, we weren’t trying.” but then feeling like they have to profusely explain that they are happy about the surprise. Or, “Yes, we were trying.” Which I found was quickly followed up with people wanting to know the time-frame of conception. Neither option is what the excited couple wants to talk about when they announce they are pregnant, so it’s unfair to ask the question in the first place.

 

My husband and I were indeed trying, and when we awkwardly nodded our heads to confirm that our baby was planned, it inevitably led to that other awkward question; “How LONG were you trying?” Short answer: My husband and I didn’t have the fastest conception story, there were a few months of waiting, and trust me, a few months with no baby was enough to make me anxious about our ability to conceive. Then it happened; I thought I was going to get my period a few days early (I was crampy, bloated, fuzzy-headed) and I peed on a stick and confirmed our greatest joy—I was pregnant. In the grand scheme of things, we didn’t have to wait long, spend a ton of money, and endure years of worry. We had it pretty darn easy, but I couldn’t help but wonder how the question, “How long were you trying? made other couples feel who had to struggle to get pregnant.

 

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Fertility stories are something that should never be dug out of a person. It’s a personal journey that someone honors you by sharing—in their own time. I couldn’t begin to imagine how painful this question might be to someone who had a much longer and complicated conception story. Sure, there are some women who love to talk about their journey and scream from the mountain tops about their pregnancy when it finally happens, but there are others who would rather not re-hash that painful time in their lives. They should not have to feel obligated to talk about it. We are all curious by nature, but sometimes we have to remember to reign in those inappropriate questions, especially around the topic of babies and fertility.

 

Then there is the other side of the binary of planned vs. unplanned pregnancy. What if my husband and I weren’t trying to get pregnant? Did these people really expect me to say, “No our pregnancy was not planned, lets clear that up right now so we know what to tell the baby when he asks.” If I don’t know a person well enough to share that our pregnancy was unexpected, then they have absolutely no right to ask that question. If a couple is announcing they are pregnant with smiles on their faces, it doesn’t really matter if the baby was planned or a total surprise. A big “Congratulations!” is probably all they are looking for. Proceed with questions about their hopes and dreams for their little bundle, rather than nit-picking the conception.

 

I learned after planning a wedding and a pregnancy that acquaintances can exhibit strange behavior during these momentous milestones in our lives. I can usually shrug off the awkward questions, or change the topic, but this particular question really stuck out as completely uncomfortable. I don’t like being stuck between a rock and a hard place. Which is why I awkwardly nodded my head when I explained that the pregnancy was planned every time I was asked that question, and I reluctantly talked about the time it took to conceive. I learned early-on in my pregnancy that people assumed I was an open book because I was growing a baby inside me, and no questions, gestures, and comments were off limits. Pregnant women are unfortunately the target of unsolicited advice, inappropriate questions, and super offensive comments. We must remember that pregnant women still deserve respect and privacy.

♥R♥

COVER IMAGE COURTESY OF MILES MCKEE PHOTOGRAPHY

Published: The Unexpected Way the Women in My Life Helped Me Through Labor

I’m excited to tell you all that I was published again on xoNecole!

This is an article about how the women in my life inspired me through my labor, even though they weren’t in the delivery room. Also, how my nurse made all the difference in my labor.

Here is the link.

Leave your Sexism at the Door: Gym Rant

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Image from madcrossfit.com

I have  been working out regularly 2-3 times a week for the past 7 years. I know this is nothing to brag about, but hey I’m also not a gym virgin either. So when men come up to me and assume I don’t know how to properly use a machine it pisses me off!

Yesterday I was at the gym, and it was one of those days where I went more to zone out between each rep and enjoy the solitude and freedom of not having a baby on my boob or my hip. It was very slow, obviously it was Valentines Day. Maybe that was my first mistake, never go to the gym on Valentines Day, it encourages people to talk to you and who wants to talk at the gym?  I was casually walking over to the lower back extension machine and I took a second to look at adjusting the height. Apparently my moment of thinking I wonder which lever I pull to lower this machine? was an open indication that:

A) I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.

B) I don’t know how to properly use the machine without hurting my little self.

C) I am open to conversation.

Just to clarify, nothing from that assumption is true.Without asking, a man leaned over in front of me and adjusted my machine to the height he though was appropriate for my frame and then instructed me on proper form. After he was done yammering, I pulled out my ear bud, and said I didn’t hear any of that, but thanks. He walked away, clearly my tone must have indicated I was less than interested in his advice or anything else he was offering. There was a second time when someone just walked up and adjusted a piece of equipment for me because I hesitated about 15 second to examine which lever to adjust.

Maybe I am being overly harsh, maybe these men had my best interests at heart. But this is the third time in a month that a  man has approached me at the gym and gave me unsolicited advice. It’s insulting to me that they assumed I needed help. Now I’m insecure that I look like an idiot at the gym. Last month I was working on my vertical jump at a huge equipment piece and I was hitting a handle high up in the air for my target and a guy came up to me and asked “Do you need me to get that handle for you?”. Oh gee, thanks Mister,  I would have been jumping here all day had you not come along. Seriously? You really think I’m jumping up and down 30 consecutive times in a row to to get that handle?  I am aware of the numerous step stools around the gym, mmmm k, thanks. Was he being a sarcastic asshole? Was he genuinely concerned that I was insane?

Maybe I cut them off before I know the truth behind their offers of help. Sometimes I wonder if I’m putting a vibe out there of helpless woman which is really the most terrifying notion. My only console is that women never make the assumption that I’m witless with weights.

For all of the men who are truly concerned about a fellow gym member, if you see a someone at the gym don’t make assumptions. If you are truly concerned about the way he/she is eyeballing a machine, know that if they can’t figure it out they will move on to another machine or ask the staff for help. For the men who are just looking to strike up a conversation, belittling a woman by swooping in to help her on a machine isn’t the way to win hearts or impress her, just be honest in your approach. Although I can tell you from multiple sources that women loath being approached at the gym.

I am not helpless, clueless, weak, or ignorant.

Sincerely,

The crabby mom at the gym.

♥R♥