Monday, June 16, 2014

Did you know that people translate you differently when you get married?

There are always things you are not prepared for when you get married. Living with another person is always an adventure, from sharing a bathroom to regulating sleep cycles to picking whether you're going to watch the World Cup or a Rom-Com.

But I think you are less prepared for how the outside world reacts. Case in point: the ability of everyone on Facebook to interpret pretty much anything I say as a hint at a pregnancy announcement (even straight out saying that I am not pregnant.). For the first time in my life I am actually feeling like I don't want to post on Facebook for fear of being misconstrued - and I love Facebook!

Guys. I promise. When baby Hajek comes along, there will be NO hints (as fun as that could be). When it's time to announce, we'll say it straight up, clearly, no doubt about it. 

For those of you who are friends of mine on Facebook - I am not saying this to make anyone feel bad. I'm being clear so that you don't have to wonder. Curiosity doesn't need to kill any cats here! I know you all love me and Nathan. I know you think we'll be awesome parents someday (I hope so!) and want to coo over baby photos and spoil our future little ones. God willing, that time will come, and we are looking forwards to having your love and support.

This may come across as a bit of a rant, but I'm really just trying to share how I feel because it's not a position I was prepared for. I had no idea how much the wondering "are you guys pregnant?!?" to things I could have posted a year ago with no raised eyebrows would bug me. And I'm afraid that if I don't make how I feel clear, it'll end up coming out in a short temper someday, and I don't want that because I know, I really truly know that every query comes out of deep affection.

Why does it bug me? I'm not fully sure, but thinking about pregnancy is kind of a big deal to any woman, and even bigger when you've always wanted to be a mother, and even bigger when you get married and realize that it's becoming a more likely thing in your very real future. And then to, when you get asked the question or the hint and you have to face again the fact that that much desired time is not yet here - it hurts. As much as it is a relief that the responsibility is not yet here, it is also painful to realize that the joy is not here either.

There's another reason, too, why such inquiries in general make me uncomfortable. I know couples who, after suffering a miscarriage during the first trimester, have wanted to keep future pregnancies under the radar until past the critical 12-week-mark. If faced with a blatant hint or outright question, either online or in person, a couple in that position is faced with three options a) telling the truth (which they obviously don't want to), b) lying (which hopefully they don't want to do either), or c) saying nothing (which is easiest but almost as bad as telling the truth in terms of how it affects what people thing, since they are likely to assume the obvious).

Another reason I can think of is not so much the subject matter, but the misunderstanding. Being a writer, communicating clearly is pretty darn important to me. The fact that I'm not writing anything differently than I did before I was married, but am suddenly seeing these reactions, is bewildering and frustrating from a purely communicative position. Especially since, even when I think I'm being careful to say exactly what I'm trying to say, it still gets another motive applied to it. Which of course is a hazard of the trade, but this is an extreme reaction - although a very natural one, I must admit. As much as it annoys me, I understand where it comes from.

These are things I had some understanding of before I married, but the force of my reactions has taken me by surprise. I've written this post to explain what I'm feeling, both for personal understanding, and perhaps to raise awareness among those who have no way to personally experience such a situation yet.

I'm also very curious to know how other newlyweds have found these situations. Are you frustrated? Do you laugh? Do you brush them off or do they bug you? Are you amused or perplexed? A mixture? How do you cope?


CreativeCarlson said...

Elizabeth! Reading this post has brought so much joy to me!! I kept wanting to chant yes, yes! I would have to say that I too not only get a little annoyed by peoples constant verbal wondering but also hurt.
One thing you touched on but is very true for me is the fact that I do want to be a mother someday, and I hope that someday is close! But for somepeople making a family is not easy and when people ask or make comments about how long we've been married without starting a family it can sting.

You are not alone! I will pray for you and Nathan and your family!!

Abigail said...

I have definitely had people assume from comments I made, or a picture I posted, that I was pregnant... and they never bothered to read the whole post, or the comments after the photo (I had one woman ask how I was feeling at church one day and had no clue what was going on until she mentioned having seen an ultrasound photo on my wall a couple months before... the ultrasound was of a horse, and if she'd read any of the comments she would have known that).
I think more stress for me might come from people wondering and asking when/if we ARE going to get pregnant. And that's awkward because neither of us are anywhere near wanting kids, and when we do, we both really want to adopt, which most people see as only a "plan B" for babymaking. So that's what I deal with--not being near wanting to have any kids yet, and even then, probably just wanting to adopt, and people making comments that lay on the pressure.
I hear ya, lady.

CKFV said...

I just got married 3 weeks ago, and my husband's dad and brother offered a "Maybe happy Father's Day?" on Sunday. We had to laugh it off, but we were in a position a couple weeks into marriage with the slightest of slightest idea that we might be pregnant (we weren't). So I totally get this. The idea that it *could* happen is there, but you don't want people constantly questioning because we just haven't faced pregnancy yet and don't yet know what our bodies will do...

Mary(Aliceoutofwonderland) said...

My hubby and I just celebrated our first anniversary in May and have experienced that question more than once this past year :P We both don't post much on facebook (I'm no facebook lover!) so nothing has been misinterpreted that way. On the other hand, family gatherings, parties, church, etc. is where it usually gets asked.
Now, the women in my family have been known to have trouble conceiving and/or have miscarriages, so when I get pregnant I would prefer to wait and see how everything progresses before I announce it to the world. I guess we laughed it off when we were first asked that question...but as the months go by it's not that funny anymore. Most of the people who really know us know that we want children now instead of later and that we will tell EVERYONE once we know for sure! I know people are just excited for us, but it does get frustrating when you both want children so badly and you've been open to life the whole time but... it just hasn't happened yet. The question kind of hurts at that point :/

Shannon said...

So I saw this post through one of our mutual friends (I think we have a few from YEAH, although I'm not sure we've ever actually met?) a few days ago and just wanted to stop and say thank you for writing this! My husband and I have our fifth anniversary next month, and I'm 23 weeks pregnant with our yeah, not-quite-five years of this. (Although it does cool down after awhile - I think people give up, ha.)

I had such a hard time with this, particularly during the first few years. We weren't originally planning on waiting this long, but grad school happened, and while I really honestly feel like it's better this way, it's much easier to say that on this side! Every time I got a well-intentioned "oooh, does this mean...?" response, it twisted me up with all of those feelings - longing for something I knew was a long way off, a baseless but lurking fear of infertility when we DID decide to try, etc.

Anyway - I think the most important reason not to do this is that you really probably don't know what this couple's situation is. A well-meaning lady at a close friend's church commented that my friend's daughter was so good with the younger babies in the nursery and "maybe it's time to think about having another!" ...two weeks after she'd had a miscarriage. Obviously this nice nursery lady was oblivious and meant it only kindly, but intentions aside, it was a horrible moment for my friend.

Of course, there ARE appropriate ways to ask about it if you're curious! In private, and if it's someone you're reasonably close enough to actually share that kind of thing!

Anyway...this is ridiculously long and rambling and contributes pretty much nothing, but I just wanted to say thanks and YES ME TOO. ;)

Elenatintil said...

To everyone who has posted - thank you so much. It has been a huge blessing to me to know that my post - which I wrote with trepidation! - has been encouraging to others and that we are not alone. I am so grateful that you all have taken the time to share your story.