FOR THE LAST TIME, NOT PREGNANT
By Sharon Naylor
As a woman of ample proportions and in my childbearing
years, Ive been approached by complete strangers and asked when Im due to give
birth. Just because I have a slightly rounded belly, am blessed with C cups, wear
oversized shirts, and am in my twenties, they assume that I must be
At first, I treated it casually. I was already used to
the well-meaning questions of my family, who were eager to see our familys first
grandchild. To my family, I would respond with a smile, Youll be the first to
know when it happens: the kind and polite response I had learned from the etiquette
With strangers, at first, Id allow them to put
their hands on my stomach. I would be greatly amused when they would swear that they felt
the baby kick!
Soon, it was not so much fun to be on the receiving end
of Are you pregnant? and When are you due?"especially when I
began to have troubles with infertility and miscarriages. Can you blame me? One time, I
went over the edge, screaming, No, Im not pregnant: Im fat! to a
long-time-no-see cousin at a bridal shower, bringing her to tears. She felt awful and I
So I decided then and there to laugh it off and to have
some fun coming up with as many tactful comebacks as possible to those prying questions.
Nowadays, when I hear, So, when are you
due?the most common phrasing of the big assumption, or, rather, the assumption
of why Im bigmy response, accompanied by a shrug, is I have no
idea. Because I dont. If Im in a particularly bad mood owing to yet
another negative pregnancy test, Ill come back with, And how about you?"
(They think twice about asking next time!)
When I hear, So, whens the blessed
event?" I smile blissfully and say, Oh, my wedding was four years ago.
When the comment is, I see youre
expecting, I have a reply ready: Im expecting a lot of things, but a
baby isnt one of them.
When the question is, So how far along are
you? my answer is, Twenty-seven years.
I have two sarcastic responses when my patience wears
very thin. When the offender squeals and comes out with, I didnt know you were
pregnant!" I feign shock and say, I didnt know either! How did you
know?" Or I just look down at my body in amazement and say, I am? So
thats whats going on! I was wondering about that.
The rare but top prize winner in rudeness is
Youre so pregnant!" To this, I reply, Youre so
wrong or Youre so rude, depending on how well I know the
All of my responses leave the speaker stunned, and
Im then free to explain my lack of an interesting condition." I do so
with a good-natured smile, not a sneer.
It takes a big effort to be considerate of the feelings
of those inconsiderate of yours, even when the comment is unintentionally hurtful.
But the best antidote to a remark that causes pain is an answer that is pleasant, pointed,
and tactful. It tells people not to repeat their mistake. And its far better
than breaking down into tears and getting so upset that you hear from well-meaning
friends, Wow, thats some mood swing. Are you pregnant? I didnt
know you were pregnant. When are you due?©
is the author of 100 Reasons to Keep Him . . . 100 Reasons to Dump Him (Three
Rivers Press, 1998) and the wedding planner CD-ROM, Create the Wedding of Your Dreams (Sofsource,