Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Irony and Pregnancy

I don't remember when I learned it, but I seem to have known for quite some time now that asking about pregnancy is a faux pas. Now, most people know that you're only going to get yourself into trouble if you walk up to a woman and say, "So, when are you due?" Like, duh. However, it seems that far fewer people understand that questions about future pregnancy is also asking for trouble.

Now, I can only speak for the people with whom I come in contact. As you probably know, I'm highly integrated into Mormon culture and, truthfully, still live much of my life in BYU culture, despite having graduated 17 months ago. I see neither of these things as a disadvantage. I love both of those idiosyncratic cultures with all of my heart and am glad to be a part of them. However, they both seem to put an awful lot of emphasis on deciding when other people should be dating, getting engaged, getting married, having children, having grandchildren, etc., etc. Hopefully people know deep down that it's none of their business whether or not Johnny and Suzie should or should not start dating, or whether Helen and Walter's children should be having children by now, but they seem to have rather a lot of difficulty keeping their mouths shut on a topic that is really only the business of Johnny, Suzie, Helen and Walter's children and God. (obviously occasionally advice is warranted, but it seems that you should actually know someone fairly well before butting into their love life)

The advice and interrogation seems to be unending no matter in what section of life you find yourself. Hate to burst your bubble, BYU singles, but people feel they know what you should be doing entirely through the dating, engagement, and marriage processes, and then into the child-bearing years. It doesn't end. I remember that before Kevin and I had even brought up the topic of marriage directly, I was being asked more than daily if I was engaged yet. I started holding up my left hand, pointing to my ring finger and saying, "Naked," as a greeting to people, just so I wouldn't have to answer the question. I was tempted to hold up my naked hand at all times when with Kevin in order to avoid embarrassing situations.

Anyway, I dreamed of the day when people would stop with the, "you've been single for how long? (or short)", "you've been dating for how long? (or short)", "you're going to be engaged for how long? (or short)" Sadly, I found that in order to be done with those, I had to start enduring, "So, when are the little ones coming?", "When are you planning on little ones?", and "You're not ready yet. You shouldn't be thinking of children." Thankfully I didn't wait long enough to get "What is taking you so long?"

First of all, it's none of their business! At all! And I mean even a tiny bit! That would be between Kevin and me and our Creator. Secondly, there is a whole lot that can go wrong in this area, and it tends to be a pretty emotional business. Sometimes I wished I could burst into sobs, and share some made-up story about how we'd been trying for 7 years. Thank you very much for bringing up that subject! While you're at it why don't you give my a paper cut and pour lemon juice on it... Or how I happen to be in the middle of my 4th miscarriage, and if they have any ideas feel free to share, *slap*. I just wanted to teach them a lesson, so they didn't do it to someone who would have a different internal reaction than mine. (Mine being, "None of your business!" )

At any rate, I got pretty used to dancing around the subject, and not actually answering any questions. I say I got pretty good, but the truth is that nobody is actually ever good at that. Not because of their own lack of skill, but because when you refuse to answer a question people make up their own answers and assume that you said them. They don't remember your actual words, they remember what they decided you meant. I found this out recently when people started saying, "But, Talyn, you told me that you weren't planning on children for quite a few years!" No, I never told you that. I told you a silly story about something I learned in my Marriage and Family class at BYU that had very little to do with the subject. I never actually answered your question, because it was none of your business.

Well then, back to the point. When I got pregnant the questions seemed to multiply, and it became harder to dance around the subject. But still, I hadn't even told my mother yet so why on Earth should I tell you, acquaintance from 4th grade? I played the Pollyanna game and found a good thing in the situation. People asking would make it mighty easy to tell people when I was ready. No dice. As soon as I got to the point that I was ready to tell the general public, people stopped asking. (It's probably just the 'watched pot never boils' syndrome, but still mighty frustrating.) I would look for every opportunity to slide gracefully into the subject, and all opportunities seemed to have vanished. Oh, the irony!

In the end, I had to resort to this blog entry to break the news. Kevin and I are having a baby in July! As my cousins said, "Go Mr. Wong!" Any questions? Bring 'em on. I've had lots of practice fielding personal questions, but don't you dare come touch my belly without express written consent from its owner.