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March 23, 2009

I am so tired of hearing, “Congratulations.” It’s sort of like winning a contest that you not only didn’t enter, but actually had some fundamental problems with the moment you heard it was out there. I’m pregnant; I haven’t won anything. And to complicate things further, there are so many things that can go wrong between now and Bunky’s actual arrival, that I’d really rather have the good luck wishes and prayers and compassion from a world that seems to think that just because I’ve accomplished some biological imperative, that I’m somehow more worthy than I was prior to this.

It’s not that I think congratulations aren’t in order for some couples. Those that have worked hard at conception, those that have despaired at every negative pregnancy result, those who have wished and yearned for children when they have none. I think this is why my husband asked me not to announce my pregnancy early, even though I’ve couched it as ‘want to wait until the risk of miscarrage is past.’

Perhaps what makes it so bitter is that we’re being congratulated for failure. Contraception failure, to be sure, but failure nonetheless. “Hey! Your condom broke! Let’s throw a party!” Ours was more subtle than that, to be sure, but if that can help the average person understand that some women announce their pregnancy out of need (such as painfully obvious symptoms, desire to gather resources, etc), then so be it.

Because all your congratulations will feel empty if I miscarry, or if tests go badly. Congratulate me when I have a healthy baby, not before.  Congratulate me when I get my debt paid down so I can afford this child. Congratulate me when I don’t feel like I’m going to collapse in tears after trying, unsuccessfully, again, to assure my husband that we will be ok with this.

Because the abject horror that appeared on his face when I told him still hasn’t gone away.

How the hell do you congratulate that?

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 23, 2009 5:04 pm

    helen, i wish that there was something, anything, i could say or do that would help you. i was thinking about you & D over the weekend, wondering how the two of you were doing in dealing with all of this.

    i’m totally down with driving down to your neck of the woods, if you want to talk or vent or maybe none of those things, and just get tea & stuff.


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