The Kate Middleton Baby Watch, and Why We Shouldn't Participate
If last year was the year of the Royal Wedding, this year is definitely set to be the year of the Royal Baby Watch. Virtually every tabloid is plastered with some variation of the news that the former Kate Middleton is pregnant, soon-to-be-pregnant, or unable to get pregnant. From speculation about her weight to rumors of pressure from the Queen to continue the royal line, everyone is on high alert to find out when Will and Kate will start their family. And with Middleton having just celebrated her 30th birthday, some royal-baby watchers are saying one of the most popular news items of 2012 will be the Duchess of Cambridge's uterus.
The hype around a royal heir is carryover from the hype about the royal wedding—it just comes with the territory. But I feel for the girl. She can't step outside without the media wondering if her slightly billowy shirt is disguising a growing belly, when in fact it's probably comfortable attire perfect for running errands in. But is the obsession over Will and Kate's hoped-for baby—and the general hype over celebrity babies—something we, as Christians, should be concerned about? Or, is it actually a bigger example of smaller, everyday conversations we have in our own churches?
It's probably both.
Not long after a Christian couple gets married, questions about baby-making begin pouring in. I had been married a few weeks when I was asked, "So, when are you going to have a baby?" If you have been married for a few years, the questions get more direct: "You've been married a few years now. Isn't it about time you started a family?" Or, "Don't you just love your little nephew? I bet you can't wait to have one of your own …." If you already have kids, you might face a different set of statements, such as, "I bet Johnny can't wait to have another little brother or sister"—before you've left the hospital with your newest addition.
Questions like these are well-meaning, and generally the heart behind them is right and biblical. As evangelical Christians, we are pro-life and pro-family, so it's only normal that people would want a young couple to grow their family. But the problem with questions like these, and the ones the media is asking about Middleton, is they presume to know the couples in question. There is a difference between a dear friend asking you when you think you will be ready to start a family, and a virtual stranger asking the same question. The reality is, in our churches, we tend to be far too comfortable with inquiring about the personal lives of people we don't really know.