the painfully playful Question.

“You’re pregnant?!”
“You know you’ll be pregnant soon!”
“Don’t lie to me, you’re already pregnant and you know it!”

Perhaps I brought these on myself. Before we got married I {jokingly} played into everyone talking about how soon we’d have kids. I even laughed when different groups of people wanted to start pools betting on how long it would take us to get pregnant. At the time it was fun, but in time it became something else entirely.

We came back from our honeymoon fairly convinced we were pregnant. Anxious and excited, we tested the night before I went back to work. We waited the three minutes, prayed more Hail Marys than I can remember and went to peer at the test. Negative. Not even a little tiny bit inconclusive. I won’t try to put into words what Anthony felt, but I was hurt and disappointed. Sure, I’d gone back and forth throughout the honeymoon as to whether or not I wanted to be pregnant right away, but I was still excited and very hopeful. Then came the glaring negative and a long night of not much sleep.

I returned to work the next day only to find out that we were all moving offices. Then the jokes came in about how I couldn’t move this thing or that thing because I was pregnant. I simply told my coworkers that I wasn’t pregnant, but they insisted that I was and just didn’t know it yet. Did they know any better? Of course not, but it hurt nonetheless. I fought back the tears and the desire to snap at them and say, “I’m not pregnant, we tested last night and we are so sad and disappointed. Now drop it!”

The jokes and the comments continued, whether from friends, parishioners or coworkers. I know they all meant well, but they didn’t know how much their comments or jokes stung. The thing is that I wanted to be pregnant. In a way, I felt like my body betrayed me because I’d felt a number of pregnancy symptoms. Never in my life had I thought I’d want a honeymoon baby, but as the wedding got closer, I desired it more and more. Not only was there a painfully clear negative pregnancy test staring me in the face, there were countless comments about how I just had to be pregnant or how I just didn’t know yet. The thing was that I did know, and the knowledge that I wasn’t pregnant was already breaking my heart. The comments and jokes were like jumping up and down on an already broken heart.

I have no doubt that before I got married I teased my married friends about having kids, but no more. One negative test is all it took to know, in an admittedly small way, how painful those jokes can actually be. In a moment the pain of not being pregnant, seeing the sadness in my husband’s face, and my own disappointment were all magnified by the seemingly never ending comments from well-meaning friends.

It takes the ‘just don’t say it’ notion to an entirely different level. You never really know the secret and often silent pains of another. Besides, do you really want the honest answer to your question? Even if it is awkward and may or may not lead to tears? Because if you aren’t there in the midst of the most intimate moment in marriage – that of creating the child and finding out you are, in fact, pregnant – then just don’t ask if we are, we’ll tell you when we’re ready. Chances are you’d much rather me excitedly tell you in my own way that we are pregnant rather than have me tell you with much sadness that we aren’t. I’ll be sad and reminded of the hurt, you’ll feel awkward and it just won’t be fun.

I can tell you that when we got engaged there was a huge and noticeable difference in the ways I told my friends. I loved being able to call my friends and tell them how it happened, what the ring looked like, and all of the fun details. But the friends who didn’t answer or who text and guessed weren’t as fun, as though they somehow stole my thunder or joy. The same is true for pregnancies: when the time comes (and not before), let us tell you in our own way because you never know the struggle that comes between today and a positive pregnancy test.

I know my friends wants us to have kids and are excited to share in our joy with us when the time comes, but how often do we unknowingly add to the sufferings of others by our words alone? Share in the joy when the time comes, but until that time, share in the joy of the present moment – the newly married couple and the smiles on their faces. Each time will have its joy when it is supposed to come, so don’t wish away the joy of the present moment for something that has yet to come.

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