Hello Polite Readers!
Today's column is one half advice, one half ranting. You see, as you may have noticed, I am a woman. And for some reason, when you are a woman, people tend to jump to the conclusion that you might be pregnant, no matter your relationship status or stated reproduction choices. Examples of situations where people immediately assume you have a "little bundle of joy" on the way.
-You Vaguebook with something like "I have a surprise!" or "OMG, good news but I can't tell you yet!"
-As a bellydancer, someone captures a picture of you at the bottom of an undulation down. Even the flattest belly suddenly looks like it has a "baby bump" (goodness, I hate that term) and your midriff-baring costume makes it all that much more obvious.
-You turn down drinks at a party.
-You mention that you've been sick to your stomach lately.
Men don't have to worry about this. While the first one MAY illicit some comments about impending fatherhood, it's more likely that your friends will assume that it's good news about your job or some such (although I've also noticed that my male friends Vaguebook less than my female friends, but that may also have more to do with the male/female ratio of my friends list).
I think it's the last one that annoys me the most. If a guy posts that he just threw up, his friends are either going to tease him about drinking too much, ask what he ate for dinner last night, or mention the stomach bug that is going around town. But as soon as a woman barfs, the assumption is that there's a bun in the oven! And as soon as you say "Nope, I'm not pregnant" there's the smug "Are you SURE?" response.
This is so insulting. I feel like most adult woman are pretty aware of whether or not they've recently engaged in the sort of behavior that would result in pregnancy. Sure, there's the occasional surprise birth control failure, but in general, we have a good idea of whether or not there's a chance we've conceived.
It can also be painful. It either serves as a reminder that no, actually, there's no chance that there's a baby because you've been single for so long, or even worse, no, there's no chance of having a baby because you can't conceive. Why would you want to do that to your friends and family, jokesters? It's not funny, it's insulting, it hurts. Stop it.
There's also the possibility that the lady in question is pregnant but isn't making an announcement yet because it's a high-risk pregnancy. Even in a "normal" pregnancy the couple might wait until the end of the third trimester to announce, just in case. Don't put them in the awkward position of lying and then having to come out later!
So ladies, what do you do when these oh-so-hilarious comments are directed at you? Honestly, if they're on Facebook or some sort of other social media, I'd completely ignore them. Respond to the appropriate comments while leaving the stupid ones unaddressed. In person, say something like "Of course not!" with a slightly surprised look on your face, as if you can't believe they're prying into your reproductive matters.
In the case of your parents who are desperate for grandbabies, you may need to be a little gentler. Assuming that you are, someday, planning on having children, in this case you smile and say, "Oh Mom, you know if that was the case we would have told you already. Not yet, but when it happens you'll be the first to know." Of course if you're not planning on having children and your parents know this but are in denial, you can be a little firmer. "No, we still haven't changed our mind. But look at the latest pic of your grandpuppy!"
Whatever you do, don't make the "Ha ha, only if it's an immaculate conception" joke because WOW is that one over-played. Besides, if you joke, they'll think it's OK to continue to assume that ladies must be pregnant, because that's what we do. We make babies.
Do you have your own frustrating situation that you need to rise above, looking cool and collected? Write to me at Politelyworded@gmail.com and I will try to help you find the perfect words to say.