Sunday, October 10, 2010

Why Do We Need to Know?

A woman accosted my wife last night as she walked out of the bathroom in the grocery store. The woman wanted to know when the baby was due. She appeared to be a very kind woman; she offered her congratulations and her hope that the baby would be a healthy one, but as we drove home, my wife voiced her amazement at other people’s interest in other people’s due dates. What does it matter to this woman when our baby is due? When you stop and think about it, it’s a completely arbitrary bit of information for her. I don’t mean that in an offended, it’s-none-of-her-business sort of way. I’m happy to share the information, I’m just curious about most people’s innate desire to know when a baby will be born. I’m guilty of it, too. Is it some remnant of our evolutionary past, when we were less civilized and more instinctual, driven by the basic needs of survival, not just as individuals but also as a species? The birth of a baby means our species will go on - that we were successful enough to reproduce - and it’s comforting to know that humanity will go on. After all, who wants to be part of a doomed species? Either that, or we just like making conversation and a baby’s an easy thing to talk about.

40 days until baby.

1 comment:

  1. Asking the due date is a neutral question that is safe for a total stranger to ask. Since pregnancy is a special state of being, it gives the rest of us a reference point to measure the size of the protruding belly and the time frame before the birth occurs.