DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I married this past year. After the wedding, we immediately began trying to become pregnant to fulfill our dreams of having a child.
It was several months of unsuccessful and frustrating attempts. I did everything I was counseled to do, including following a “schedule” for our love-making and tracking my cycles and urinating on ovulation sticks, the whole nine yards. Nothing.
Then, six months later, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor that needed to be removed. It was major surgery, I was in the hospital for days, etc. (It was benign and I’m now fine.)
During my recovery period, my husband and I almost entirely abstained — except once, which was basically me capitulating to his desires, as I was incapable of fully participating due to my surgical injuries.
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Imagine my surprise when I discovered this one time resulted in a pregnancy! Miss Manners, I truly was very ill. The encounter lasted just a couple of minutes, and I had to prop myself up with pillows to even get it done!
I only did it to give my husband a little pleasure — he did such a great job caring for me, and I wanted to give him something back. I never dreamed we’d get pregnant after the months of unsuccessful attempts.
All my doctors have given me the OK to continue the pregnancy, and the expectation is that the baby will be perfectly healthy and I will not have any trouble stemming from my previous medical problems. However, I feel extremely awkward about it, as all my family, friends and co-workers know about my surgery, and it doesn’t take an expert to do some math to figure out I got pregnant during my recovery.
We’re almost ready to tell people about the pregnancy. How do I respond to questions about the timing of our pregnancy?
I am truly excited to be able to move on from what was a very scary and challenging time in my life and have the baby we always dreamed of, but the idea of explaining to everyone I know that I was trying to be appreciative and did it for my husband seems mortifying.
I know this shouldn’t be a problem, as no one with any good manners would ask about the timing, but it seems lately that manners are out the window.
GENTLE READER: It is difficult to accept the argument that you consider other people indiscreet when you yourself have freely, and publicly, offered up such personal, vivid and unnecessary details of the conception without provocation. Miss Manners is grateful that she does not have to try to look you or your husband in the eye.
No doubt people are nosy, but your friends would have to be paying awfully close attention to wonder about the timing and question its reasoning. If they do ask, you could simply say, “Yes, aren’t we lucky?” and leave it at that.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My son’s girlfriend’s mother asked my son if he wanted to “come over for Thanksgiving dinner.” I am amazed that she would invite him away from his own family on a day that has traditionally been reserved for family, although I understand that this holiday does include friends as well. However, I would like to know the proper way to handle this.
GENTLE READER: Handle what? As Miss Manners understands it, you were not invited. The only thing you have to handle is your son, if you are not happy with his decision.
Judith Martin writes the Miss Manners column with help from her son, Nicholas Ivor Martin, and her daughter, Jacobina Martin. Send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, MissManners.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.
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