I just found out that a friend is pregnant. She is quite observant so I want
to do the right thing. Is it appropriate to say Mazal Tov to a pregnant woman?
Conceiving a child is like conceiving an idea. A new idea is very exciting,
but until it has been brought into the concrete world and actualized, it is too
early to celebrate. So too with pregnancy.
Becoming pregnant is an awesome and wonderful event. The miracle of
conception is the most natural supernatural occurrence, the most normal
paranormal experience in the universe. But as exciting as becoming pregnant is,
nothing has really happened. Pregnancy is a potential that is yet to be
fulfilled, a prelude to something yet to arrive, a step towards a new life that
is yet to come, a spark of an idea that is yet to be implemented.
Pregnancy is a potential that is yet to be fulfilledWe would not throw a
party for someone who had a good idea but has not yet followed it through. So we
don't celebrate a pregnancy as we would other happy occasions, and we do not
wish Mazal Tov to a pregnant woman. Mazal Tov is only appropriate when referring
to something that has already occurred, while pregnancy is the expectation of
something yet to come.
Rather than saying Mazal Tov, the appropriate wish to expecting parents is
Beshaah Tovah - all should proceed at the right time: the pregnancy should be
smooth, the baby should be healthy and the birth should be without complication.
These are wishes for the future rather than blessings for the past, more a
prayer than a congratulation.
This is also why many have a custom not to buy things for an unborn baby.
This is not superstition. Just as the baby is still concealed, so is our joy and
our celebration. When the baby comes out in the open, so will the gifts and the
joy. Until then, we remain in a state of quiet happiness and prayerful optimism.
Becoming pregnant is a fantastic idea. When someone conceives, we pray that
with G-d's help they should be blessed to implement it; Beshaah Tovah - all in
the right time.