The other day when I was perusing a certain celebrity magazine site’s section dedicated to pregnant celebs and their children a fight broke out in the comments section regarding the phrase “We’re pregnant!” because as many a commenter pointed out, literally, only women can be physically pregnant. I felt like slapping the side of my head and exclaiming “Well DUH-HUH!” (I’m sorry this site brings out the sarcastic in me like no other it seems.)
But this more recent reading brought to the forefront of my mind something I read a few weeks ago in the comments at the NC Register blog. Now, as many of you know, Jen Fulwiler is both pregnant with baby #5 and a new blogger over at the Register. In the comments of one of her first posts , a commenter wondered why in Jen’s bio it stated she had “one on the way” in reference to her unborn son or daughter. This person felt it was counter-intuitive that anyone claiming to be pro-life would not state their child was already there vs “on the way.” While I certainly understand the point this person was trying to make that it may possibly dilute a person’s pro-life creds by saying the child is “on they way” because it could possibly insinuate that this person does not believe that their unborn child is in fact a child, I’m not sure how important it is to argue this point. After all, for many, many years pro-life men and women have referred to their unborn children as being “on the way.” I have never once heard a pro-choice advocate throw this in the face of a pro-lifer as if to say, “Look, you don’t even consider that mass of cells growing in your uterus a child, so why should I?” I’m not saying it’s never happened, but I’ve spent a LOT of my time around extremely liberal pro-choicers and it’s never come up, it’s part of pregnancy lexicon in the majority of the country and making a statement like, “my son or daughter is here already” when they are just not born yet, doesn’t have the effect of branding you pro-life either.
More and more since becoming a parent and my first pregnancy, I have wondered if some of these arguments regarding use of phrasing are just one more way for people to ignore the real issues or create new ones where they are not necessarily needed. The whole “we’re pregnant” debate I find to be petty. Petty because I would wager something around 99% of people are aware that only women become pregnant and give birth physically. The 1% are those confused by the “pregnant man” fiasco, who in fact, is biologically a woman. More over, I would use the phrase in my own personal situations because when I am pregnant, Jeff goes through his own emotional roller coasters and physical changes. A pregnancy changes people and I would hate to think that I don’t share the experience as fully as I can with my husband. Now, others may not choose to use that phrasing which is fine. The point is, why are we fighting about how I choose to express my feelings about my pregnancy (and I hope I haven’t confused anyone, I am NOT currently pregnant). You say po-tay-to, I say po-tah-to. You think I’m weird, I get it and frankly, I don’t care and I don’t care how you choose to describe your pregnancy, that’s the beauty of it.
As for the “on the way” argument, the only reason I could even think we would bring this up on a Catholic publication;s website is to try and be “more Catholic than the Pope.” I mean, really, anyone familiar with Jen and her amazing story of conversion from atheism to Orthodox Catholicism and her radical change in beliefs regarding abortion knows already she knows this baby is her son or daughter. And even someone not familiar would most likely infer from the content of her blog posts and the fact that she is publishing on the NC Register’s blogs that she is probably going to be pro-life. Is someone from NARAL, NOW or Planned Parenthood going to be picking apart her short bio for any evidence that a-ha! she might have a secret-pro-choice bias based on the phrase “on the way?” I think right now, they are more interested in keeping Congress from defunding PP than paying that close attention to a blog. And even so, I doubt they would consider that some kind of influential leverage. I also think that Jen’s difficult pregnancy is a much more a testament to being pro-life than any written bio could ever state. (Please continue to keep Jen in your prayers, this blood clot thing is extremely dangerous, scary and painful. )
I think, perhaps, instead of getting all hot under the collar about a celebrity’s choice of words in a pregnancy announcement or other pregnancy semantics we need to take a deep breath and a step back and just celebrate that new life is being brought into this world. That God still has faith that mankind is good.