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5.05.2013

a (non) announcement.

I am almost 30, and I am not a mother. Philip and I have been married for almost 4 years, and we are NOT PREGNANT.

And I'm okay with that.

I kinda wish the rest of the world would get over it.

In the past year, I've been asked several times whether or not I have kids, how old I am, when I'm going to have kids...but the most troublesome question is Are you pregnant?

Yesterday, I got together with a few friends who I hadn't seen in awhile, and one of them thought I might be pregnant based on what people had said to her at church. Apparently there's a rumor going around. This friend was not trying to be hurtful, she was just curious. Which made me wonder, Why are people asking if I'm pregnant?

My mind raced on the way home from that visit. Did I look pregnant? I acknowledge that I don't have the metabolism I used to, and Wally (yep, I named my gut--and Philip's is named Bernie, if you're curious--) has become a little more noticeable and a little more prominent. Did people look at me and think I looked pregnant? Should I stop wearing that really cute (maternity-esque?) shirt I found at the Missoula Goodwill last month that has an empire waist and covers up my slightly-larger-than-I'd-like belly?

Maybe that was it, maybe it wasn't. If I didn't look pregnant, why would people be talking about me that way? Did they confuse me with someone else? Or is there some rule that states that people can only be married for a year or two, and then they have to have kids? Maybe the rule is that a young teacher who is married and under thirty should be trying to have babies, because isn't that the stereotype for women who become teachers? We love children, so naturally we should want to have our own as soon as possible? (By the way, I already have 104 kids. I don't feel the need to have any more right now. And while I love my students dearly, I also really really appreciate their parents who take them back at 3:15. Thank you, parents!)

Maybe I'm a little touchy about the subject. Many of my friends and relatives have had babies within the last couple of years. It didn't really bother me until people who had been married for a shorter time than we have started having kids. Why should that bother me? Not sure. Maybe I feel defensive and am creating the need to validate my own life decisions. I do feel at times like everyone in the entire world is pregnant and there must be something wrong with me because I am not.

Gossip has always really bothered me. Not that I haven't engaged in any of it myself. But there came a point where I was incredibly sensitive to the way people talked about others in their absence. I didn't find it fun, healthy, or loving at all. I guess I figured that people grew out of that after a certain age. Apparently not. And I don't think these people (whose names I don't know, by the way--I had no desire to know where my friend heard this rumor from) meant to be unkind or insensitive. But what they did was insensitive. Because honestly, it's none of their business. This is between me, Philip, and God. Sorry, people.

What if I was really happy with my career and wasn't ready to set it aside for motherhood?
What if my husband and I disagreed about the timing of having kids?
What if we're wisely waiting until I'm not the sole breadwinner in the family? 
What if we desperately wanted a baby and couldn't get pregnant?
What if we just didn't want to be parents because we felt God had called us to a different life?

And you know what? It's not really your right to know which of the above (if any) apply to my specific situation. There may be a small circle of trusted people I share that with, or maybe I'll choose to keep that between me and Philip. There are so many more constructive things you could be doing to build God's kingdom than to be idly wondering when that young English teacher at LC is going to have a baby.

Maybe you are someone who has innocently asked another person about the state of another woman's womb. Maybe you're just curious. Maybe you like sharing exciting news with other people. Or maybe you just need to mind your own business. And I mean that in the gentle reproving sort of way, not the angry-judgmental way (although that's how I felt yesterday, if I'm being honest).

So until I announce to you personally (or let's be honest, through Facebook) that I'm pregnant, don't assume. Don't speculate.
Don't question.
Just wait.

And then be joyful with me if and when I share the news. 


4 comments:

  1. Well stated.

    I know it's certainly not the same, but some people do a similar thing when your first or second kid turns 1 (start asking about the next one). And before the second was born I kept getting asked "and will this one be the last?". How should I know?!? It also is pretty awkward to be asked "are you pregnant?" when you are but you're not ready to share.

    I love a kid-loving-and-valuing culture and church, but that doesn't make nosy questions or gossip OK.

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  2. Agreed! I'm neither married nor wanting kids for a while, but I find it almost offensive when people ask married couples when/if they are pregnant. It's no one else's business unless you're willing to share or know the couple really well.
    Well stated.

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  3. Really great post! I know the church puts a lot of pressure on folks who are married but don't have kids. People can hurt, even if they have good intentions. And you are spot on when you expose that sometimes church folk talk about pregnancy in a more "gossip like" way, than just good, healthy conversation.

    Like you, Andrea, I believe the decision to have or not have kids is one that a mother, father, and God ultimately make. However, my understanding of church is that in Christ, my church becomes my extended family. My commitment to them is equally as deep as their commitment to me.

    In healthy local congregation, then, my decision to have or not have kids should be the business of the church. I should be able to have authentic and open dialogue with people about why I want to or do not want to have kids, and should get all the support I need in those conversations.

    I know people who have made a deeply personal decision to have a baby after a few seasons of equally deeply personal decisions not to have one. But in their journey, their decisions were always deeply personal, not secretively private, and sincerely communal, but not disingenuously public.

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