The value of the joint appointment

Carolyn Hax:

August 17, 2013 

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn: I have a pragmatic consideration for pregnant women who expect their husbands to come to every medical appointment. Assuming he has a regular job, it is probably not a good idea for him to use up all his leave and workplace good will attending non-medically necessary doctor's appointments to humor his wife. He may need that leave time and good will later in the pregnancy or during the first couple of years after the baby arrives.

For most parents, it's just not possible to do EVERYTHING together. As mothers, these women are grown-ups now and need to learn to do things without their husbands holding their hands for every routine appointment.

Also - saying "we" are pregnant is just obnoxious.


I have a problem with "expect" in most cases, including this one. However, I'm a believer in the joint appointment, and I don't think that makes me insufficiently grown.

It's not just that the news coming out of these appointments is bad sometimes. It's that being in the moment together, be it a joyous one, or sad, or just plain ordinary, is beautiful, and also sets a useful precedent: There's not "your part" and "my part," there's "ours."

Now, if time off work is an issue and priorities must be established, then, yes, the routine appointment doesn't make the cut. And, again, togetherness works only when it's chosen, not forced.

As for "we are pregnant," I used to feel the same way, but now I agree more in a linguistic-fussiness way than an oh-barf way, for the same reason: A mutual, togetherness mindset is something to cheer for, and helps sustain marriages when the stress of young children famously strains them. I just wish people would say, "We're expecting," for the aforesaid fussiness reasons.

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