Unbearable: You Bet I’ll Be Saying ‘We’re Pregnant!’ After We Conceive

Having a child is usually a happy time in a woman’s life. Unfortunately, as we wait longer to have children, infertility and trouble conceiving can become a part of the family making process. Unbearable addresses these difficulties.

For those of you just joining, my husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for over two years now. It’s been a long and emotional struggle, but it’s one that I’ve always considered to be a shared struggle. Even if I do take a perverse pleasure out of watching my husband suffer through nauseating natural fertility treatments. I can admit, it’s nice to see him be physically affected by the process like I am.

But even if  my husband weren’t choking down horse pills everyday, I would still consider this a joint effort to have a baby. After all, as Marvin Gaye would say, “It takes two, baby.”

When people ask whether our not my husband and I are planning on having another child, something we get asked with surprising regularity, the question is always directed at both of us. When we answer, we normally say that, “We’re trying.” And should the day ever come when we are finally blessed with good news at the end of the month, I’ll probably announce the miracle by that we are pregnant. Not, “I’m pregnant,” but we.

Honestly, I had never considered that anyone would have a problem with a man and woman sharing the title of pregnancy, even if only one of them was carrying the little one around all day. I assumed that two people are going to be parents, which means that two people are expecting a baby, two people are pregnant.

Then, suddenly, my naivety was shattered. On yesterday’s amazing STFU, Parents post about the truly ridiculous ways some people decide to share their news on Facebook, one commenter came out against that whole, “We’re Pregnant,” business. They said, “When I hear ‘we’re pregnant!’, I automatically assume you are assholes. One of you is pregnant, one of you is going to be posting statuses about your wife ‘glorious womb’.” A pregnant woman concurred, pointing out all of the pregnancy joys that her husband wasn’t exactly dealing with, “Lord. *I* am pregnant right now. And if my darling husband dared to use the phrase ‘we’ are pregnant, there would be trouble. ‘We’ are not suffering from edema. ‘We’ are not getting stretch marks. ‘We’ are not dealing with rib kicks and bladder punches. And ‘we’ sure as hell are not going through childbirth. It’s also such a lovey-dovey dithery limp phrase to me.”

Wow. That’s a whole lot of “we” hatred.

Honestly, it never occurred to me that something as silly as a pronoun would infuriate people. As a couple that’s been trying to conceive for quite a while, I think that pregnancy will be another joint venture. In fact, I think for lots of couples, no matter how long it takes to have a baby, they look at pregnancy as a two-person experience.

I realize that men aren’t physically carrying children around in their abdomens. But don’t we want men to take a little bit of ownership in the process? Don’t we want them to be involved from the start, and feel connected to the process as it happens?

Yes, pregnancy only occurs in one womb. But it takes two people to make it happen. And once the baby is born, two people are going to be parents. Personally, I can’t imagine cutting my husband out after finally get there. With all the work and time we’ve put in to having another child, you better bet that we will be pregnant.

(Photo: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock)

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    • http://www.facebook.com/houde.veronique Véronique Houde

      I prefer “we’re expecting” instead of “we’re pregnant” personally. It means the same thing, but it doesn’t imply that your husband is the one doing the carrying ;).

      • NotThumper

        I agree with this, “we’re expecting” is a better way of saying it. When people use “we”re pregnant” it annoys me, it’s not a “we” thing. You both might be expecting the baby but only one of you is pregnant. If “we” really could be pregnant then I choose it to be my husband the next time around. ;)

    • Silly

      What a pointless article. So what if your choice of words irritates some people? Welcome to planet earth, dear. Sometimes, some people are going to be annoyed by some of the things you do. It’s going to be okay, really. Just do what you do and stop caring so much what other people think.

      • kate

        @silly, i say this because ive been following Lindsey’s Unbearable column for some time, if she is going to continue a weekly column about infertility and the persuit of pregnancy, she has to have SOMETHING to write about. this week, its the use of the phrase “we”. i dont think it is because she is so concerned about what other people think, but because this column is like reading a weekly blog entry in a trying to concieve journal. She has to have something more than “still not pregnant” to write each week (and i mean that with no offense to you Lindsey). Thats just my take on it :)

      • LindsayCross

        Kate, your comment made me chuckle quite a bit! I really do have days when I ask my editor, “Am I allowed to write ‘Uterus Is Still Empty’ and call it a day?”

      • kate

        lol Lindsay! shows you have a good sense of humor ;)

    • Ipsedixit

      I don’t have a problem with the phrase, but its too twee for me when “we’re going to be parents” or “we’re expecting” convey the same sentiments without being factually incorrect.

      • Tinyfaeri

        This. You can tell people whatever you want, no one’s going to physically restrain you from doing so, but saying something blatantly false when there are true phrases that have the same intended meaning seems silly to me. “We’re expecting” or “we’re gonna have a baby” don’t even take that much longer to say than “we’re pregnant” and as lpsedixit said they’re actually true while “we’re pregnant” is not. If the man needs to be included in the who’s pregnant to feel involved, that’s kind of another issue…

    • Andrea

      YOU (both) are/will be expecting a child. YOU (both) are/will be parents. YOU (both) participated/are participating in the baby-making process. But for sure, HE will NOT be pregnant. He will be holding your head while you puke, he will be handing you your prenatal vitamins, he will be massaging your feet. But dear Lord, HE will NOT be pregnant.

      And I agree with the poster that people that say “we” are pregnant inspire irritation to say the least.

      But I wish you (both) the best of luck in your journey.

      • Amanda

        Exactly. It just sounds so trite when couples say, “We are pregnant.” Actually, you’re not both pregnant. You are both “expecting” a child, but that’s not the same thing as being pregnant.

    • Kelly

      Some folks just need something to pick on others over. Good grief. Who cares if you say “we”? I can’t believe people actually get bent over something so dumb.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=12131339 Carmen Martin

        Amen! I can think of better (worse?) things to get pissy about than using the term “we/we’re” when referring to pregnancy.

    • sickandpregnant

      Well, I’M the one who hasn’t held food in a week, lost 7lbs in 7 days, have IV fluids running into my body & am so weak I haven’t gotten out of bed, or barely work in two days. ( Luckily, I work from home)Yet somehow, I have to drag myself to the Dr today to get weighed, again, b/c they will determine if I need hospitalization. My husband, on the other hand, is proceeding with life as normal. He is going to work, eating, sleeping, and not vomiting six times a day. So WE are definitely not pregnant, I am.

    • Liz

      Makes me chuckle to see people get so pissy over something so ridiculous as “we.” I wish my life were so boring that someone saying “we are pregnant” was all I had to worry about. You can say whatever the hell you want; screw the rest of them who get butthurt.

    • STFUParents

      Lindsay, I think you can and should say whatever you want. I was surprised like you to see so much vitriol over “we” in the comments, but some people just have their pet peeves I guess. Personally, it’s not one of mine!

    • http://www.facebook.com/juliestthomas Julie St Thomas

      I’ll never be able to get pregnant so this is something that I don’t need to worry about. Since I know that my husband never wanted them anyways, I would assume that if I did get pregnant he’d never use the phrase “we’re pregnant”.

    • Eileen

      I’m with the people who say, “We’re expecting” or “We’re going to have a baby.” You wouldn’t say, “We’re pregnant” if you were expecting a child through surrogacy/planned adoption, although that baby would be just as much your child. And the surrogate would still be telling people she was pregnant, even though the baby was not going to be hers. “Pregnant” is what a (biological) woman is when there’s a fetus in her uterus. It’s not the worst thing to say by a catastrophically long shot, but it’s still a little weird. Kind of like saying, “We have the flu,” when you feel fine but are taking care of your sick husband.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      This is a major pet peeve of mine. It’s grammatically incorrect AND factually incorrect, and therefore should never be said. “We” are not pregnant — SHE is pregnant.

    • Sandi

      Mostly I just think its a little sissy-ish for a man to say (sorry). I love my husband and he is there every step of the way for me when I am pregnant (oh, and incidentally, we are suffering from secondary infertility now too-it BLOWS and i LOVE your blog) but I don’t know about “us” being pregnant. I think it would annoy me. My husband is just one of those ultra manly dudes (he is LITERALLY chopping wood outside in our yard right now) and I just don’t see him (or me) ever referring to himself as being pregnant. Would be too weird to me. But that said, please use whatever term you want! There is def a lot of hate out there, about something so surprisingly trivial. I would say though “we” are expecting a baby. I would use the “we” for that. I just think pregnancy is something that a woman is or is not. Not a man. As I said, I consider this a VERY small deal. Good luck, I love your posts, I don’t know how I’d go through this hell without it.

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    • wehavecancer

      The “we’re pregnant” phrase and this whole post assumes that all couples are straight. If a couple who are both female bodied said “we’re pregnant”, wouldn’t it be confusing unless they were actually both pregnant? Do parents using a surogate, gay or straight say “we’re pregnant?” I sure hope not.

      If “we’re pregnant” sticks around, which I hope it doesn’t, then shouldn’t we start saying, “we have cancer”, or “they have MS.”

      Couples share all kinds of things. Do we really need to “we” them all.