19 July 2010


Why do people say "congratulations" when they find out you're pregnant? Is there anything more gift-y than a pregnancy? It is not earned or achieved. No one congratulates me for successfully metabolizing my lunch. I also never understood receiving congratulations when we got married. It took no discipline or effort (for me, anyway). Getting married felt like winning the lottery--for which it would also not make sense to be congratulated.

Confirmation congratulations? Congratulations for the accomplishments of one's parents?

Maybe I just don't know what "congratulations" means. (Mean?)


Anonymous said...

>> No one congratulates me for successfully metabolizing my lunch.

Eh, if digestion took as long as gestation, maybe they would!

Pam said...

Wedding: "God be with you and richly bless you!"

Baby: "Praise God for this precious blessing!"

Confirmation: "God be with you."

And graduation? "Congratulations!"

William Weedon said...

I think it just means: "SWEET! I'm happy for you receiving another gift from the Lord and giving that gift into the world!"

Katy said...

Wedding: isn't it "best wishes" to the bride and "congratulations" to the groom?

I like Pam's suggestions, too.

I'm sure Emily Post has something to say about it...

Sometimes What One Ought To Say is best, because when one gets creative, feet make their way to mouths. If we get rid of the canon of Polite and Civil Responses, there will be two "What?! How many are you having?" for every "What a wonderful blessing from God!"

I wouldn't trust myself to always say the most appropriate response off the top of my head, in every situation, so I'm glad there are Polite Responses.

However, I do agree that it is weird when people talk about what a wonderwoman I am for having 3 in 3 years, as if I'm cultivating my own little sanctification garden, and want to grow lots and lots of "good works." If it's appropriate for the company and conversation, I'll just say,"I guess conception is easy for us," or [confused look and/or laugh]"making babies isn't hard work at all..." Other times I bite my tongue and let it slide, lest I get snarky and self-righteous.

Katy said...

Also, from the Latin:

con (cum): with
gratulatare : to rejoice

Melrose said...

well that's appropriate then, no? To rejoice with, congratulations all around! :D

Katy said...

Rebekah, is this post an announcement?

Rebekah said...

Not an announcement. :D Sorry, I had a disclaimer to that effect in my draft that must not have been selected.

Anyway, thanks to Pam and Katy for the usefulisms. Father William, I'd be thrilled if someone said that to me!

For some reason I feel like "congratulations" carries some connotation of personal accomplishment, which as Katy has etymologically demonstrated, it doesn't. Huh.

Cheryl said...

Rebekah, I agree with Pastor Weedon that I think a lot of people just use it to mean "I'm happy for you." This etymological definition of the word seems to mostly highlight that aspect of it, not so much the accomplishment angle:


Cheryl said...

And this definition says it is an expression of joy at the achievement OR good fortune of another.


I think pregnancy definitely falls under the good fortune umbrella.

Rebekah said...

Well, I am really feeling a lot better about this. Thanks! :D

Anonymous said...

I'd much rather hear "congratulations" than the recent, "Oh, no!"