Getting pregnant or having a miscarriage… Certain terms or expressions are used when a woman is expecting a child. However, they do not reflect reality and can even offend the first person affected. We explain why and how to replace them.
There are common expressions in the French language that don’t technically mean anything. The situation is similar in the area of pregnancy. And more and more doctors, writers, but above all feminists are criticizing certain phrases. Such is the case of Judith Aquien, author of Three months of silencewho, in her book, denounces, among other things, these little expressions that harm pregnant women.
What a popular expression! Technically, however, a woman does not become pregnant. Using the verb “to fall” raises many problems. “Why do we say ‘get pregnant’ instead of ‘get pregnant’?asks the feminist and historian Florence Montreynaud in an interview she. This term “absence” equates pregnancy with an illness, with an unwanted event, as if the majority of pregnancies today were not wanted! This old-fashioned expression actually refers to a time when women often felt trapped in forced pregnancy. But things have changed. The language should reflect changing mores.”
For Judith Aquien, author of Three months of silence, this expression means that pregnancy is easy to produce. However, many couples have difficulty conceiving a child quickly. “Although it is customary to say that one ‘falls’ pregnant, this condition often follows a long waiting period, which is therefore worrying and sometimes psychologically draining, especially when women or couples are undergoing medical procedures – IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) , which has multiplied six or sevenfold in France in the last 35 years – and/or suffered one or more miscarriages before reaching it.”, she writes in her book. She adds: “It has been shown that the vast majority of heterosexual couples take an average of one year to achieve fertilization.”. Therefore, “to become pregnant” or “to be pregnant” is more appropriate to evoke a desire or the beginning of a pregnancy.
Track your pregnancy week by week
The little troubles of pregnancy
The beginning of a pregnancy is often complicated, especially in the first trimester. The many symptoms are often experienced badly by women: repeated nausea and vomiting, extreme tiredness, constipation, hemorrhoids, bloating, heartburn, sore breasts or even urinary leakage. But why talk about “minor inconveniences” or “pregnancy problems” when they are not only annoying, but also have a significant impact on the everyday life of pregnant women. For Judith Aquien, the use of these terms explains why society and the medical profession minimize these symptoms. “In books on pregnancy, not too badly done and signed by very reputable doctors, these ailments are grouped into rather short chapters, all titled (with variations) with cute paraphrases with a little kawaii accent that would almost make you want to:” The little misery of pregnancy”, “Little inconveniences of pregnancy”, “The little sores of pregnancy” and everything that goes with it. Everything is small, miniaturized like in the world of Polly Pocket to make believe that women, like good Hysterics who listen to each other too much, make a world out of not much. For the feminist author, it is also a sign that pregnancy is also affected by sexism. “If men were able to live out these “little evils” for three to nine months, (…) from Polly Pocket’s world, we would return to that of adults to recognize and praise the courage of those who these endure appalling, excruciating, and incomprehensible suffering.”
That is why morning sickness is often mentioned as one of the “complaints of pregnancy”. Unfortunately, these almost systematic symptoms during pregnancy do not stop after lunchtime. The phrase was also denounced by scientists in a study published in the journal British Journal of General Practice in August 2020. “Nausea and vomiting have been recognized as early signs of pregnancy for thousands of years. The term “morning sickness” has been widely used to describe nausea and vomiting for about 200 yearsdescribe the authors. Although nausea and vomiting during pregnancy (NVP) is rarely life-threatening, it can severely impact a woman’s quality of life (…) Several studies have reported that women say that the symptoms of nausea and vomiting occur and can occur before and after noon persist during waking hours in severe cases, but daily symptoms have not been clearly described. Despite this, widespread use of the term “morning sickness” remains.” The researchers therefore wanted to confirm whether this expression was medically incorrect. After collecting information from a cohort of pregnant patients who described their daily and weekly symptoms, the authors state that “It’s not appropriate to call it “morning sickness.” (…) The results clearly show that nausea and vomiting can occur throughout the day. Vomiting occurs mainly in the morning. Nausea, which many patients describe as a symptom of pregnancy, can last for 24 hours.”
have a miscarriage
This expression is problematic on several levels. First, the use of the verb “to do” assumes that the termination of pregnancy is the woman’s responsibility. If you do that, you are an actor in your role. In the medical field, the use of the verb “to do” is not associated with a health condition, disease, or health problem. You don’t have endometriosis or cancer, you are a victim or affected by it. It’s the same with a miscarriage. We don’t have a miscarriage, we suffer it, we are its victim or we are confronted with it.
The terms miscarriage and miscarriage have also come under increasing criticism, particularly from women who have been victims of involuntary abortion. “The terms “miscarriage” and “clear egg”, without empathy, refer to error, failure, false versus true (btw, who speaks of a “true” when pregnancy is ongoing?), emptiness versus fullness, without ever evoking loss of simply denying the emotional dimension”watch Judith Aquien.
How to create this phenomenon without hurting those who experienced it? The terminology depends on the woman who experienced this tragedy. Some talk about the loss of a baby, even if it happened in the early months of pregnancy, because they feel it and need to be heard as such. Others prefer to speak of a fetus, abortion, or abortion.