Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Who we?

Totally random note: why is it acceptable for husbands/boyfriends/fathers-to-be to say, of them and their pregnant wives/girlfriends/mothers-to-be, "we're pregnant" or "we're having a baby"?

The latter is a bit more acceptable - a man can, and should, help his wife considerably during pregnancy. But to say "we're pregnant" seems bizarre and unfair to me. The word "pregnancy" refers to a pretty specific thing, something that's off-limits to men for anatomical reasons.

But maybe I'm being an extremist for no good reason. Any fathers out there willing to offer their thoughts?


Mike said...

Well, I' with you John. I am the father of 3 kids and I have never once said "We're pregnant".

Mainly because ther is no "we" involved, except for that first night, after a few glasses of wine.

"We're having a baby" is acceptable, for me, when making an announcement, but otherwise "my wife's having a baby" is better.

I've seen all my kids being born. I would never want to have a baby myself so I won't claim it otherwise.

Halden said...

I have never said "We are Pregnant" and I am always confused by its use. "We are Pregnant" implies that both parties are pregnant which, as has been pointed out, is not possible. As Mike has said I have used "We are having a baby" but "We are pregnant" is not only nauseatingly PC but just bad grammar.

Niles said...

Some husbands have identified with the pregnant partner to the point they have a psychological 'pregnancy'. Does that count?

Rob Cottingham said...

A few words in defence of the first person plural (which isn't ungrammatical as much as it is metaphorical): It can be an expression of solidarity -- we're in this together, I'm with you all the way, I'm transforming my life completely and putting this pregnancy above all other things. I've known women who insisted that "we" be the pronoun of preference for exactly that reason.

Mind you, I'd strongly, strongly suggest that any non-pregnant mate who's using this phrase without securing the agreement of the pregnant half of the couple is acting like a presumptuous git. And flirting with disaster.

john said...

I'm going to vote no on that one.

john said...

clarification: No to Niles' comment.

Sweet merciful lord Blogger is bad today.

Adrian MacNair said...

I would never say such a thing either. I'm not pregnant and I never will be. I don't have the power to give life, and I wouldn't take credit for it.

I suppose it's kind of petty but... when someone says it I roll my eyes a bit.

Jason said...

I'm actually a little bemused when men DON'T say "we're pregnant".

I think that when a man says "we're pregnant", it re-inforces that he is acknowledging the amazing sacrifice that his partner is undertaking for the couple and that he is willing to provide all the physical & emotional support that will be required to make her experience less stressful and more comfortable.
Whenever I hear a guy say "she's pregnant" or "my wife's pregnant", it sounds like he is claiming that he's played his part (what a shot!) and that the pregnancy is now pretty much all hers until the birth. Even then, he'll turn up as a spectator only if he's available and so long as he can get good seats.

BTW, I'm about to become a Dad for the first time! (Our pregnancy so far has been relatively drama-free :)

john said...

I've got no problem with men expressing solidarity with their wives - indeed, I'd say there's something wrong with you if you aren't. But the language we use does matter.

I would suggest there's a difference between "she's pregnant" and "she's having a baby." I agree that the latter could imply a certain isolation, but the former is simply a biological reality.

I liked Rob's remark - talk to the mother to be, get an idea of whether she has a problem with the phrase or not. The whole reason I brought this up is to talk about how husbands can and cannot comfort their pregnant significant others.

(Since posting this entry, my girlfriend has informed me that she never, ever wants to hear me say "we're pregnant." She commands, I obey.)

And congratulations on the baby, Jason and (wife?)!