At about 2pm on a Saturday, I was standing at the counter of a mattress shop, making small talk. We were upsizing our mattress – our bed-hogging two year old and my growing pregnant belly were making things decidedly crowded in our Queen. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em; that’s our philosophy with sleep training. (Probably also why we’ve been so terrible at it).
While we waited for the payment to process, the sales assistant asked my least favourite pregnancy question – other than “are you sure it’s not twins?!”
“So, was the pregnancy planned?”
To be fair, we had just spent a solid 45 minutes with her analysing the way my partner and I sleep next to each other, so maybe she felt we were on intimate terms. (If you haven’t been mattress shopping lately, things are very high tech these days). Still, I didn’t think we were at the ‘discussing-contraception’ level of friendship just yet.
“Yes”, I answered tersely.
It was only a little bit of a lie – we had been planning to try for baby number two over Summer, and October’s close enough, right?
During my first pregnancy, I was asked this question a lot. Most often, it was the first thing people asked after saying ‘congratulations’. On a surface level, I get it: the first time around, my partner and I hadn’t been together that long, we weren’t married, and we lived in a barely-one-bedroom apartment in the city with approximately 624 steps and no garden. Precisely no one was expecting an announcement from us. But while I understand the surprise, I still think it’s rude to ask.
Now, I may be a touch sensitive here – but I’m pregnant, so I’m allowed. And here’s the thing. When you ask the question, what I hear is “was your child an accident?” And my answer is always “No. She was a surprise.”
In my first pregnancy at least, every time I was asked this question I felt a little undertone of judgement. If this is the first question that comes to mind, is it because you’re not sure if I was ready for a baby, or wanted a baby? Do I not strike you as the mothering type? Because I guarantee you, no one is asking this question of the couple who’ve been married for 5 years and know where their superannuation is. They’re probably sick of being asked when they’re having kids. And while what you think of me is really none of my business, it doesn’t do wonders for a newly pregnant woman’s confidence to have the ‘legitimacy’ of her pregnancy constantly questioned.
So, here’s a rule of thumb. If you’re not the kind of friends who compose each others’ text messages and have inside jokes, then don’t ask if they got knocked up on purpose. Ask how they’re feeling, what they’re craving, if you can Uber Eats something for them (always yes). They’ll volunteer the information if they want to, and if they don’t, it’s none of your business anyway.
And if you just sold them a mattress? Stick to the weather, please.
Image: Bed Threads