Announcing a pregnancy is an exciting time. My husband and I are thrilled, and most of the time it is with joyous hearts that others share in our excitement. Most of the time; I have noticed two distinct, and opposite reactions by family and friends. The majority of the people we share the news with are genuinely happy for us and tell us how wonderful it is to be parents and to share in the miracle of life and the joy of creating a family. For many people, especially with grown children, their most fond memories are of their children as little ones and the quality time spent together. They are happy about an ever expanding family and wish us as much joy as they have. My husband and I love speaking with these people. It is encouraging and exciting to share their optimism.
On the other hand there are the few with the opposite reaction. Like the joyous parents, these parents too share their stories with us. These are the people who don’t seem to realize (or care?) that for us, we are sharing joyous news. These people sometimes don’t even extend the obligatory “congratulations” but instead launch into a teaching lesson on all the most negative pastimes they can recall.
Your life will never be the same, they say, pessimistically. You do realize, they chastise, that you will never sleep soundly or enjoy a vacation in the same way again. Children are expensive, they caution, and they require a lot of attention and care- for an entire lifetime! We’ve even been told children put strain on marriages, with the ever so kind after thought that “it’s too late now.” One of these naysayers, who did not congratulate us, expressed his disappointment at being a parent in front of his own child!
Do these people think we don’t understand what parenting is all about? Do they actually think we fumbled into this without realizing what we were doing? I wonder what they could possibly be thinking. That they are doing us a favor by warning us? Do they realize we are happy about starting a family or did they miss that social cue? Do they honestly think they are giving us good or meaningful advice? More importantly, do they understand that many people do not feel the same way they do?
I try not to let all these pessimistic comments bother me, and I am sure that my experience as a parent will contain more joy and happiness than sorrow and regret. Still, I can’t help but be annoyed that these few people don’t even know that it is the social custom to congratulate an expecting mother and father. Maybe even the word congratulations is too optimistic for them.
I suppose this world is filled with all kinds of people and some are just naturally happier and more optimistic than others. Perhaps the negative people cannot contain themselves, kind of like the way the happy ones cannot contain themselves. Maybe they are trying to be kind and this is the best they could do.
Luckily, my husband and I (and most of our family) fall into the more optimistic category and it is through this lens that we see the world. We have been through a lot in our years together and our future looks wonderful through our rose colored glasses. We both welcome the adventure of parenting.