What’s in a word? (on being ‘knocked up’ or …)

So I’ve been thinking not only about the words people use to describe sexual intercourse (screwed, fucked—both used to describe what is done to the woman—both of which also describe a general state of disaster) (which, actually, is often accurate if pregnancy results), but also about the words used to describe pregnancy itself:

“knocked up” – note the implication of violence: is that what men think they’re doing when they create life? engaging in an act of violence?

“bun in the oven” – as if we’re inanimate appliances

“preggers” – so casual, too casual, far too casual

“expecting” – far too vague (and also far too casual)

“in the family way” – like the previous ones, this seems oddly passive—suggesting that the stork happened to fly by? (it also assumes completing the pregnancy)

“with child” – out of vogue—hm (perhaps rightly so since it’s not a child until a few years after it’s born)

So what should we say? Something specific. And something that conveys the hugeness (no pun intended) of the condition: however one chooses to deal with the fact of the matter, there are going to be life-changing consequences.

How about ‘I’m growing a human being with my body! Inside my body!’

Followed by ‘What am I going to do about it?’ (Because yes, there is a choice to be made.)

Or, simply, ‘I’m a host’—prefacing with ‘willing’ or ‘unwilling’. (Initially, I thought of adding adjectival option, ‘undecided’, but potential hosts should really be decided before engaging in an action that could lead to host status, and if the action was coerced, then ‘unwilling’ surely suffices.)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.