Pregnancy. It either happens when you want it, don’t want it, were not expecting it, or couldn’t wait soon enough for. It’s usually pretty great news to hear, right? Whether the news is for yourself or for someone else, it is really exciting to see one of God’s greatest miracles happening to someone you know, and someone you care about. One of my friends and past roommates recently found out she is pregnant :) I’m so happy for her to be a mom because I know without a doubt, that is her mission in life. She just fits the mom role so well :) While most people are happy for her, there was one person who wasn’t so happy. With Rebekah’s permission, I feel that is important to share her story as well as this person’s comment with you. I will be pulling excerpts from when she shared this on her blog. The blog post title is called, “Defending My Joy.”
“In other news…I’m pregnant! I know, not what we expected either…precautions were taken and we had a family plan…
You know what has bothered me more than feeling nervous about being a Mother? Some comments. One in particular from a woman who, although she doesn’t know me well, should know better than to be so harsh when handling a woman’s joy. Let me explain. Her comment upon hearing I was pregnant, “That was fast. Are you sure you want to start a family so quickly? Sometimes it’s best to wait so soon after marriage.” Yes, it was fast. No, we hadn’t wanted to start a family so quickly and maybe it would have been nice to wait a bit longer. However, this pregnancy is a miracle. To the unnamed woman who tried to steal my joy and make my heart heavy with worry: did you know I have DDD (Degenerative Disc Disease)? Did you know it’s a struggle for most patients to carry a child? Did you know I might not be able to have another biological child after this?”
A few months ago, and not long after they were married, Rebekah found out she had Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD). This means that the discs in her back are unfortunately degenerating at a rapid rate, that will continue to cause severe arthritis and pain to her for the rest of her life. In regards to the news of her pregnancy, her doctor explained to her that it was actually good news, saying: “the severity of your DDD is so high that most patients are encouraged to have one pregnancy soon, as your spine will most likely only allow your body to carry one child.”
Rebekah put it this way, “In other words, although this one pregnancy will be difficult, it will more than likely be my only one… I’ve attended the temple a couple times a week for the past month and that has helped me find peace in everything. I feel confident that this pregnancy is a miracle. Zachary and I are embracing it now and are hopeful for the future!”
None of my business
(Amy back here now) I think this story is something that many couples can relate to on a general level, of how people tend to analyze each other’s pregnancies. In the LDS culture, it seems like many married couples start having families more quickly than the rest of the world. And even though it’s common, sometimes we are surprised to hear a newlywed couple is already expecting a child. I have to be honest here, I have thought to myself a few times, “Oh wow, that’s surprising, but I’m happy for them.” Yes I’ve been guilty of pondering the reasonings they had for starting a family earlier on, but I would never say anything like this woman did.
You know why I don’t say anything? Because first, I realize that it’s absolutely none of my business when someone decides to start a family! Who am I to tell someone when to do that, or to judge them for how or when it happens for them?! I think we do this because statistically, having a child can significantly change marital satisfaction. But we shouldn’t concern ourselves with wondering how a couple will raise a child with whatever their (fill in the blank) situation may be.
The second thing I realize is that pregnancy is never something you have full control over if you are having sexual relations. After every episode of the TV show, “16 and Pregnant,” is aired on MTV, they say, “Teen pregnancy is 100% preventable.” Of course it is 100% when you are abstinent but usually marriages don’t work that way, haha. So even if your birth control is supposedly 99% effective, anything can happen because God is involved in it. God might have a different plan, and I believe he has the power to change that.
So to the women who said that comment to Rebekah, yes people can control that to an extent. The thing that urks me the most about this woman is how she is saying this after the fact! For most people, abortion is not an option, so for her to say, “Are you sure…?” as if she can take it back at this point is so stupid, in my opinion. Comments like hers to pregnant women do nothing when you think about it. It’s not giving advice to them because it’s already occurred. It’s only making the pregnant woman feel like her privileged opportunity for motherhood is devalued, and it makes the commenter look rude, insensitive, and ignorant.
Just like her
The part about what this woman said that bugs me the most, however, is that I did something just like her not long after I was married. I was in Church catching up with a Sister in my ward (a church community) about her pregnancy. A few minutes later, a girl I went to school with came in and sat behind me, and we started talking after not seeing each other in a few years. We congratulated each other on being married and then she said, “Girl, are you pregnant yet?” I stupidly said, “No, thankfully!” She said, “Good girl!” When I turned around and remembered I was sitting next to that Sister who was full-blown pregnant, I regretted what I had just said, and how boastfully I had said it. I knew she overheard our conversation and I realized she may have felt put down by my comments, and may have felt irritated with how ignorant and insensitive we were being. This Sister is so sweet, and kind and in a way, I downgraded her honorable status with my newlywed immaturity. To her who may be reading this and may remember this situation, please forgive me and know that I have changed.
I don’t think Rebekah, or the sweet Sister in my ward, or any other married pregnant woman should ever have to feel the need to defend their pending motherhood. For goodness sake, let’s just welcome the divinity of motherhood, and express a congratulations. Be happy for someone else, whether you agree or disagree with their timing! As I wrote in a previous post, “The Pressure To Have Babies,” I mentioned that everyone has their own timeline, and we need to just respect that. Though it’s natural for our curiosity to take over, we should try to refrain from passing judgements. I’ve obviously been guilty of this in the past, but again, I’ve been working on it. I thought about it this way, if I were to wake up tomorrow and find out I was pregnant, though it’s not the timing I would prefer, the last thing I would want to feel is embarrassed. Why should we feel embarrassed over an honorable responsibility; of the sacred chance to bring life into the world?
As Rebekah said, “Sometimes our Heavenly Father has a plan completely opposite than what we had in mind. And whether or not we realize it at the time, that plan makes us better in the end. This is a blessing and a miracle and I am so excited to begin this new life as ‘Mama’.”
To all you expecting mothers out there, I hope you are too!