On Friday night I was reading an interview in the Evening Standard; it was well written, interesting, but one phrase made me want to give up reading the whole thing. The writer said that the interviewee ‘fell pregnant.’
ARGH. If there’s one expression I loathe, it’s ‘fell pregnant’, or ‘fallen pregnant’, as though a woman has ‘fallen’ from grace because she happens to be pregnant. When I was working on the women’s weekly mags, I banned the expression from any copy (and believe me, it used to crop up in interviews A LOT). To me, the expression ‘fell pregnant’ and it’s equally offensive ‘got caught’ (I used to have an assistant who said this, drove me nuts) implies that there is some sort of shame in getting pregnant. It belongs to the era of Hardy and Tess of the D’Urbevilles, a woman who was not in control of her own destiny.
I’m not even sure where these expressions came from, but they’re antiquated and hideous. In 2014, and on International Women’s Day, wouldn’t it be good if we could stop saying women have ‘fallen’ or been ‘caught’ simply because they’re pregnant?