Let's Change Our Default in How We Speak to "Expecting" Parents
Here we are almost 22 weeks expecting with a baby due in January. I can still fit into my skinny jeans, I'm currently sipping a glass a wine and I don't need to watch my caffeine intake. I'm not losing sleep, peeing every 5 minutes or having weird cravings (although I use it as an excuse to get ice-cream at 10:00 PM). But, we're expecting.
No I'm not pregnant, but we're expecting.
It's happen twice in public now. Twice since we just announced we finally got "the call" for adoption just a few weeks ago.
Either someone is congratulating me for our new baby or I'm eyeballing those annoyingly cute moccasins wondering what the heck a size 2 would fit. Then it comes. The stranger who doesn't know.
You're right. You can't even tell. That's the issue here.
Is it not 2016 where families are made families in a bajillion and two ways? Is it that difficult to think outside the box about how on earth this lady might be "with child"? Can we not make our "default" phrase something that's a bit more inclusive?
Here are phrases that would've gone over 80x better:
- "Oh, my God! Are you expecting?! Congratulations!"
- "Wow, are you about to be a parent?! I'm so happy for you!"
- "Holly guacamole, did you say something about a baby?! Would you mind sharing the news?"
See? Easy, peasy.
This isn't about, "Oh, she didn't know, if she knew she wouldn't have said that." That's not the point. The point is she didn't know, but she still assumed. No bueno.
Because here's where my infertile mind went after both of these instances. It went to the 17 negative pregnancy tests I've taken. To the blood work that's been drawn. To the conversations about me not being pregnant. To the finances of adopting. To the weird feeling of being an invisible expectant mother. To wondering if it still counts. To all those icky things that I've done pretty good at shoving in a corner under that yoga mat in my trunk.
So, I'm not asking you to "know". I'm not asking you to know better, do better. I'm just asking you to do better. Think about what your default response is to things like these. How can you shift them to not make that person feel so shitty later?