On Christmas Day, 2009, my partner and I gave my parents and in-laws the best gift ever: the announcement that they would be grandparents (again). That was one of the happiest holidays of all our lives, I think. But then came the pregnancy questions your family will ask you at Christmas. Luckily, I was spared the most painful iteration of the pregnancy inquisition, since our holiday celebrations were low-key affairs. It was just my parents at our apartment, and my in-laws on the computer screen from Buffalo via Skype. Still, they had questions.
Even though I've already experienced it twice, pregnancy is still a miracle to me, so I totally understand why people become overpowered by the need to ask a pregnant lady a million questions. Unfortunately, a lot of those questions touch upon fairly intimate categories. It will never stop being weird, at least to me, how being pregnant turns you into a magnet for inappropriate questions; questions that would never be directed to a man, or even a non-pregnant woman. I guess the sight of a pregnant woman strikes wonder and amazement in everyone around her. I mean, gestating a human is no small act.
But if you find yourself the center of attention on Christmas, with friends and family flocking around your pregnant aura, expect to hear them ask some of these well-intended, but borderline incredulous, questions:
"How Are You Feeling?"
It was sweet of friends and family members to ask, but I had to answer this question carefully. If I would've told them the truth — that I was in my first trimester and feeling pretty miserable — I probably would've made them uncomfortable. If I lied and replied that I felt fine, they might have assumed I would've been up for activities that, in reality, would've sidelined me for days. Sometimes, with family, you can’t win.
"Did I Ever Tell You What I Went Through With My Pregnancy?"
No, but why do I get the sneaking suspicion you’re going to talk my ear off for the next hour about it.
Thank goodness I can use the “I have to pee” excuse freely, and eject myself from the conversation without appearing rude.
"Are You Sure You Can Eat That?"
One thing about being pregnant that I never got used to was everyone’s constant scrutiny. They were suddenly very concerned with what I ate, how much I exerted myself, and if I was limiting my caffeine intake. It’s wonderful to feel cared for, but it was a little much at holiday gatherings.
"You Didn’t Have Any Eggnog, Did You?"
This is judgment thinly veiled as concern for your wellbeing. Don’t be fooled.
"You’re Really Eating For Two, Aren’t You?"
Well, since I couldn’t have any booze, I decided to double down on the food. Also, I spent the first three months barely eating anything thanks to morning sickness, so for as much as you see me put on my plate, it’s barely making up for the calories I lost in the first trimester.
But, um, thanks for asking!
"When Are You Due?"
You probably told them already, they just don’t realize they can ask you things about yourself that have nothing to do with your pregnancy.
"Can You Believe Next Christmas That Baby Will Be Here?"
Hey, hey, hey, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. A major reason why we weren’t finding out the sex of the baby before it was born was because I was afraid of getting too attached. If something went wrong, and the pregnancy didn’t culminate with the birth of a child, I didn’t want to actually picture “him” or “her.” I realize this sounds cold, and even morbid, but pregnancy can really mess with your head.
"When Will We Have A New Baby In This Family?"
Sometimes pregnancy questions before anyone even announces a pregnancy. Whether you’re pregnant or not, if you are a woman of a certain age, with family members who mean well but have no sense of boundaries, you should expect to get grilled about your procreation timeline. I remember, as a kid, continually asking my aunt if she was going to have a baby soon. Yes, I was an annoying niece.
So be kind to the young kids prying into your sex life, dear reader. In the end, they just want a little playmate. But for the adult family members getting personal with their line of questioning, I would just smile and gesture towards one of the wrapped presents under the tree. “Who knows,” you can say. “Maybe there’s a baby in there.”
Then go drink all the eggnog.
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