How To Answer the Question ‘Are You Pregnant Yet?’
Dear Bintel Brief:
Six months ago, my husband and I began trying to conceive our first child. Since we’re both young and healthy, and had no reason to think we’d encounter any problems getting pregnant, we told close friends and family that we were “trying.”
But making a baby has proved harder than expected, and I’m still not pregnant. Not only am I facing disappointment and frustration month after month, those feelings are compounded by frequent questions from loved ones who want to know if I’m “pregnant yet” — and if not, why not, and if I want to talk about it. When I say that I don’t, the conversation often becomes uncomfortable.
I wish my husband and I had kept quiet about our plans to start a family. But now that the cat is out of the bag: How should I tell inquiring minds to cease and desist, as far as pregnancy questions are concerned, without alienating cherished friends and family members?
TRYING TO CONCEIVE
Mayim Bialik replies:
Dear Trying to Conceive:
First of all, mazel tov on entering this stage of your life. It’s the only time of your life that it’s okay for strangers to congratulate you on having sex. So: congratulations!
Second, I feel your frustration and disappointment, and I know the discomfort of which you speak of when every “Yetta the Yenta” wants in on your fertility cycle. It is truly cringe-inducing.
If you are the raucous, bold type, you can feel free to make people think twice about asking you about it ever again by smiling broadly and declaring: “The sex is great; thanks for asking!” or “We’re workin’ hard at it; how’d you do last night?” or “Boy, all this attention on my ovaries has them very self-conscious! Give it a rest, will ya!? Even a rabbit couldn’t get pregnant under all of this pressure!”
For most of us, though, this is not easy to do with a straight face. So what I would suggest is this: Take a deep breath, and be honest. Find a simple, polite, and concise way to say what you need to say. Your comfort is what matters here — not your inquisitor’s.
An example for when people ask how it’s going: “We’ve decided that the next time we talk about it, it will be to announce our due date!” or “We’ve decided to keep this part of the journey private. We can’t wait until we have good news to share!”
If people insist on hakn this tshaynik some more (and I know plenty of yentas who will), smile kindly and excuse yourself to go use the bathroom or to get more food from the buffet — both of which may make the said yenta think you are indeed pregnant. Oh well, my bubbe always said you can’t please everyone all of the time.
The absence of stress of people checking in on you will no doubt make you feel better, and it may even move things along. We all know that watched tshaynik do not boil.
It should be bsha’ah tovah, in a good hour!
*Mayim Bialik, who starred in 1990s sitcom “Blossom,” is an actress and a neuroscientist. *
If you have a question for the Bintel Brief, email [email protected]. Selected letters will be published anonymously. New installments of the Bintel Brief, featuring Mayim Bialik, will be published Mondays in September at www.forward.com.