Pregnancies and Culturally Driven Comments

Pregnancy is one of those things about which EVERYBODY seems to feel they have right to make comments.  I don’t happen to agree.  I think pregnancy is a wonderful thing between the parents and everyone else needs to mind their own business.

Over at A Woman’s Place Depends on Her Vocation, there is a good posting on comments made to her during her pregnancies: Appropriate Responses to Joyful Baby News.

I’ve had some interesting comments over the years and I’ve a rather small family.  My young motherhood was spent in a college town and sometimes young college kids can be truly rude and have no clue.  I recall two incidents with college co-eds during my second pregnancy.

First incident was on Earth day.
I was pregnant with my second child and carrying my first on my hip when I attended my first Earth Day at the university where my husband and later myself attended graduate school. Several co-eds were joyfully manning the booth on over-population.  One of them made a comment,  I don’t recall what, and I happily said, “Oh no, we are planning on at least eight children!” They gasped in horror, were rendered unable to speak, mouths open, jaws moving but no sound, eyes bugging out,  and I waddled away with a huge grin on my face.

Second incident was at one of the University Bookstores

I was working on a fun project in preparation for attending the Renn-Fair in Plantersville. The first thing I did was visit the university bookstore to seek out a book or two on costuming and historical clothing.  While I was browsing old textbooks for interesting options, the clerk, perhaps 19 years old, came up and offered to help.  I accepted because it is rather awkward to squat at 7 months while carrying a two year old.  The girl helped me locate the books I needed and then she opened her mouth and asked, “Do you read these or just use the pictures?”  I found the question odd and responded that of course I read the books.  It wasn’t until later I put her tone, words and body language together in my mind and realized she thought I had to be an uneducated person to have a toddler and a pregnancy at the same time!

More recent incidents

I am much older now, the first two children are in college and my youngest is almost 2 and again, I am pregnant.  Being gray haired, there are fewer questions and more outright criticism. It is somehow a bad thing for a child to have older parents!  I disagree, studies show that more educated parents tend to have smarter better educated kids and as an older parent I bring one complete and one incomplete masters degrees to the parenting task. Hubby brings a doctorate.  Yet there are people for whom older parents are somehow irresponsible.

Yesterday as the radio played, a song came on and the line was something like, “a woman cannot have too many of these….” and I instantly thought, “Children!” because no woman in her right mind wants more than one man and there is simply nothing else that has so much value that a woman could not have too many of them… and it turned out the song was about SHOES.  And I laughed because it showed that I am light years away from the general materialistic culture in my values.

Truth is, you cannot win approving comments for being pregnant in a world where people consider children a curse rather than a blessing. If you have them young, you are too young and thus irresponsible, if you wait and have them older, you are too old and again irresponsible.  If you have more than one child, no matter your age, people begin to act outraged by your decision to bless the world with more people.  The truth is these critical people are misogynists who hate motherhood, children and women who embrace those vocations.  I don’t presume to know all the reasons why– but they need to mind their own business!


Pregnancies and Culturally Driven Comments — 2 Comments

  1. KAS- I noticed on Fr Z’s site that you seemed worried about ‘keeping’ the present pregnancy- have you gotten your progesterone levels checked? I have to supplement the entire time the last 2 pregnancies in order to stay pregnant— just my 2 cents- I’m praying for you!