Friday, April 29, 2011

Planned Pregnancies

As I am beginning to announce my pregnancy to more and more people outside our close circle of family and friends I have to admit that I've been taken aback by one common, recurring question:

"So, was this planned?"

Does this strike anyone else as just a tad impolite?  Or am I being too sensitive?

I thought three kids was still in the realm of socially normal but perhaps because we already have been blessed with one child from each gender they assume we've reached our quota?

For the record, all three of our pregnancies have been planned.  And yet, I feel guilty even just writing that out.  Because what if they weren't?  Does it matter?  Does the unplanned child matter less?  Is the unplanned child loved less?  Is the unplanned child a throw-away?  An excuse for us to walk away and say, "I'm so glad I'm not in their shoes!"?  A way to catch the parents in some "embarrassing mistake" that surly has a drastic, catastrophic consequences?

Unless the mother is a blithering mess of uncertainty about what this new pregnancy might mean for the future, what does the answer to this question matter?

While I, myself, have never experienced the emotions that come into play when a mother is surprised with a positive pregnancy test, I have experienced phone calls from family and friends in this situation.

Some conversations have started out with tears of exasperation.  Some have been delighted to be put in a situation they never knew they wanted.  Some of these situations have ended with the devastating discovery of a miscarriage.  But most have ended with a pink-skinned, squirmy, glorious new baby.  A new baby who is loved without end.  A new baby whose parents, by now, have long forgotten was not in their plan.  A new baby whose parents, by now, have realized this new life was in the bigger plan.

You should know that by the time any mother announces her pregnancy to you, chances are she's already known she's been pregnant for several weeks.  In these several weeks there's a good chance she's overcome any anxious emotions that can get the best of newly pregnant mothers, whether planned or not.  And most of the time that anxiety is eventually replaced by pure bliss. [I'm going to write about my own initial mixed feelings on my current pregnancy later.]

So the next time you feel the curiosity bug getting the best of you, do yourself a favor and bite your tongue and smile and be happy.

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