Friday, March 28, 2008

I'm No Yenta, But...

You should TELL us when you're pregnant.

No, I don't mean you should call me the day you find out and announce it to me.

But once you're conspicuously pregnant, assume it's common knowledge, and feel free to share it with friends.

I just mean that if you live in-- where else--Lakewood, so I certainly won't be seeing you in person and chances are the next time I hear from you it will be announcing the birth of your child, the least you can do is warn me.

Not like, "by the way, I'm pregnant," but something a little more subtle like if I ask how you've been, reply, "well, I've been busy with my doctor's appointments," to which I'd probably respond, "Is everything okay?" and they'd reply (hopefully) "Baruch Hashem, I'm due in ____."

Is that so hard?

Nor will I be the type to announce to anyone I meet, "Hey, guess what, ____ is pregnant!" However, if someone asks me how someone's doing (unless they told me not to tell) I might throw in that she's due in X number of months. Why? A little head's up never hurt anyone.

My close friend (A)who attends a graduate program with a friend who moved to Lakewood, with whom I've spoken maybe 6 times since she got married. I talk to my friend (A) at least a few times per week, but she never mentioned a word about it to me. About a week or two prior, "I thought I could let you know, since her relative told me, but ______ is due any day."
"Haven't you been seeing her the whole time?" I asked, looking puzzled.
"Yes," my friend (A) answered. "But I didn't feel it was my place to tell you until her relative told me." Don't get me wrong. I respect this girl (A) a lot for not being a gossip and respecting someone's privacy. After all, did I ask ONCE knowing that she sees every week whether this girl was pregnant? NO.
Now, I wasn't expecting a phone call, "OMG you know who I saw is pregnant?!" or "Someone told me ____ is pregnant!" Those are obnoxious, gossipy, and yentish.

But people know how to weave things into conversation.

Don't mind the fact that last I spoke with this girl, I would imagine she was "showing" already and could have easily let me know.

Girl D (I know I skipped some letters) is still close with one of my close friends (F). She explained that this girl (D) didn't do her usual Mishloach Manot because she "just couldn't." I figured the kid was pregnant, but I wasn't about to ask, "Oh, why, is she pregnant?"
But a few minutes later, in my house, we went on Only Simchas and found this kid's birth on there. "Ohh! She had a boy!" My friend exclaimed.

Same deal with this girl. Perhaps this is one of the many reasons I'm friends with them ( A & F). They're trustworthy, non-yentish girls.

But here she was, "ready to pop" as the yeshivish would say, yet my friend wouldn't tell me, "Well, she didn't make this Mishloach Manot since she's due any day and it's hard for her now."

One young woman called another friend of mine before Purim. They hadn't seen each other in a while, so this girl (E) called Girl J and said something to the effect of "I plan to come to you on Purim. I know you haven't seen me in a while, and I wasn't able to let you know last we spoke since I wasn't showing then, but I didn't want to show up at your door 6 months pregnant and shock you."

Now, I think it took courage for girl E to do what she did, but she is 100% right. I don't think she was trying to shove it into girl J's face. She just didn't want to shock her, and I think that's the right (albeit a bit harder) thing to do.


At 3/28/2008 5:27 AM, Blogger Jessica said...

While I agree that its a bit startling to be surprised by a friend who out of nowhere gives birth, you never know a person's reasons for not telling. Let's say they're having complications or have had previous complications (aka miscarriages) they may not want to go around announcing that their pregnant just in case the next time you see them they're not...

At 3/28/2008 7:34 AM, Blogger MS said...

I agree with you completely Michelle. I didn't call people to specifically tell them I was pregnant but the people who I spoke to from my 4th month and on knew--and I did not just blurt it out...
I could understand why people may not want to discuss their pregnancy with lots of friends and everyone has the right to keep things private but they could throw it into a conversation and then say, "I'm due in _____" and then start talking about something else.
If you (the pregnant one) is sitting in a group and may not want to tell everyone because you there's someone for whom this is a sensitive topic, (such as infertility, etc.) you could mention it to whoever you think should know privately--but also, sometimes it can be insensitive not to mention you're pregnant to someone who's experiencing fertility problems--when I was pregnant, my husband refused to tell one of his friends who has been married for 7 years and is childless, I tried to convince my husband to mention it to him in passing explaining to him that experiencing fertility problems does not mean they are bitter and envious of everyone else's kids. --he didn't and it turns out that after my son was born, his friend was insulted that he didn't know we were expecting.
So, yes, please do tell people you speak to--unless it REALLY doesn't lend itself and don't be so worried about what everyone else says about you or whose feelings you might hurt.

At 3/29/2008 7:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems like you have everything for everyone else scripted out. Maybe you should hand it out when you go places so people know what they should say and do!

At 3/29/2008 8:29 PM, Blogger Jessica said...

A bit harsh, anonymous. This is her blog. She is entitled to her opinions.

At 3/29/2008 8:31 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Thanks Jessica, :) And yes, you raise a valid point in your previous post.

At 3/31/2008 9:34 AM, Blogger halfshared said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 3/31/2008 10:46 AM, Blogger Kaila said...

sorry, michelle, but until you are pregnant you don't know how awkward it feels to share the news. especially with your single friends. especially if you're barely in touch with them. some people are just more private than you. if you're annoyed about it, that's ok. you have your own feelings. just realize that others feel differently, ESPECIALLY when pregnant.

At 4/01/2008 2:54 PM, Blogger megapixel said...

my sister moved out of town when she got married. She called me several months later and told me she was pregnant. IN her 7th month A month later she had a preemie baby. Their original plan was not to tell anyone, and just call up and say Mazel Tov, I had a baby and shock everyone.

IN the end they told everyone when she was in her seventh month.
I think it was ridiculous - if you want us to be excited for you we have to be part of your simcha, not excluded.

At 4/01/2008 6:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

kaila- i completely agree with you!
Megapixel- i could totaly understand how it is weird to not tell a sibling. I would definitely be upset if I got a phone call after 7 months that my sibling was having a baby in a couple of months. that is not the same as telling a friend, especially when it is a friend that you have obviously not spoken to in a while.
Michelle- you say that you have only spoken to your friend 6 times since she is married, it takes at least 9 months to have a baby (usually), so if you haven't spoken to your friend even once a month, why do you feel that she is obligated to call you and tell you she is pregnant? Besides for it being an awkward thing to tell people, it doesn't sound like you are such good friends anymore.

At 4/02/2008 3:21 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

anon- when she was single we spent a lot of time together. Once she moved away, and, as a teacher once warned us, "she found a new best friend," I was out of the loop.

At 4/03/2008 9:34 PM, Blogger frum single female said...

i totally understand your opinion michelle. especially when the person is noticeably pregnant anyway.

At 4/04/2008 7:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

frum single female- you think that an old friend that you don't really speak to at all and haven't seen in a long time should call you and tell you she is expecting? If you aren't friends anymore then why is she obligated? If they were good enough friends, I'm sure Michelle would have gotten a call letting her know that her friend was expecting.

At 4/06/2008 12:32 PM, Blogger Kaila said...

well, michelle, i did not call up all my friends when i was pregnant to shout with excitement. either time. BUT i have a good friend who i trust to spread the word as soon as i give the ok. i don't feel obligated to share all the details with each friend. but i feel secure knowing they know when appropriate. and yes, friends often fall by the wayside after marriage. people change with marriage, careers, exposure to the academic world...
she may have been your close friend once, but you are both different people now. there is nothing sad about that, and many people don't keep in touch because of a friendship they once had.

At 4/07/2008 12:29 AM, Anonymous Says it like it is said...

You can never truly know why someone doesn't tell. I know people who have had a few miscarriages and if they call all their friends to say their pregnant every time it makes it much more difficult when they have to explain to everyone that they miscarried. There are plenty of people who miscarry after they start showing.

At 4/07/2008 8:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kaila -- "BUT i have a good friend who i trust to spread the word as soon as i give the ok."

Why are you relying on this friend to play yenta? No matter how "good" a friend she is, she should not be playing your PR agent. If you're okay with the news being shared, why don't you just be a friend and call all those that YOU think should know about your upcoming news (and not open that can of worms). It IS NOT her place or her news to share.

At 4/09/2008 7:45 PM, Blogger Kaila said...


i am a private person. i do not generally call friends who i have lost most contact with since marriage just to tell them i am growing big with child. i do understand, though, that they would be insulted if they did not know at all, and i know that this friend is in contact with just about everyone on a fairly frequent basis. she would have no problem telling everyone she knows about my pregnancies in a casual manner. my friends seem to understand that if she tells them news of my pregnancy, it is with my ok. they know me well enough to know that this is something i don't really know how to announce. once they know, they may or may not call me. i do want them to know, i suppose, but i don't feel obligated to call my whole group of no-longer close friends just because we were once close.

At 4/10/2008 8:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find this a tad insensitive Michelle, as I was waiting a very long time to conceive, I finally did 2 weeks ago.. When I finally got over the shock and disbelief a few days ago, I had a a miscarriage..

Im sure you know who I am

At 4/12/2008 8:42 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Anonymous-please accept my sympathies. I do not know who you are, nor do I know how you'd be "sure" I know who you are.

My implication was that one should make it known once it's already known ( i.e. conspicuous), and not at a very early stage.

I did not intend to offend anyone with this post, and I apologize for the lack of sensitivity to this topic that many of you have mentioned.

May we all share Smachot in the future.

At 5/12/2008 10:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is your blog, and you do have the right to express what you'd like, but get over the fact that people with say that they think your ideas are warped. They have a rigth to their opinion just as you do.

At 6/21/2008 11:08 PM, Anonymous Mpoodle said...

I read your blog possibly once or twice before. I am very good friends with your pregnant friend and I feel that you grossly misrepresented her. I am single as well and by the age of 21 all but one of my friends were married b"h. Many of my friends have completely lost contact with me while others I rarely speak to. Your Lakewood friend has by far been the most sensitive and attentive friend "despite" being married. As a single friend, I know it's hard when friends don't tell you they're expecting, but, as others before have mentioned, they might have personal reasons. Every woman's situation is different and every pregnancy is different. How can we judge? Many women experience miscarriages and complications. I know of someone who carried their child to full term with a disease that at birth took the child's life. She knew about the disease towards the end of her pregnancy. When she lost her child, one of the hardest aspects was meeting friends that knew she was pregnant and consequently informing them that she lost the child. After I heard of her case, I became much more accepting of women not openly proclaiming their pregnancy.

I never post on the internet but the way you represented my friend really upset me. I know it's hard and, I need to constantly work on it myself, but people need to be more understanding of other people and their decisions. In addition, the fact that you haven't spoken to this friend for months doesn't make it easier for her to share something very personal with you. Also, why not discuss your feelings with her directly? Often confronting the issue is much more effective and misunderstandings can be clarified.

At 6/21/2008 11:23 PM, Anonymous Mpoodle said...

I just realized that it might seem as if your pregnant friend might have mentioned your post to me. She didn't. I was just browsing the internet and remembered you blog and decided to check it out. When reading this post, I realized the identity of your pregnant friend based on the details.

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