Marriage and childbirth, the pillars of family life, are supposed to be moments of great joy. Correspondingly, the English term ‘pregnant’ or the French enceinte simply mean to be expecting a baby – hardly words which ruin the pleasure of maternity. But in Spain, being with child translates as embrazada, which does not seem to indicate a great deal of enthusiasm about pregnancy if one looks at the British false-friend ‘embarrassed’ or the French embarassé. The Spaniards’ pessimistic take on family life is confirmed by their word for wife, esposas, which can also mean a pair of handcuffs. By the by, the French word for husband, mari, must not be mixed-up with its ancient homonym marri, meaning bored or confused. The French author Chateaubriand once wrote that “all humanity understands the joys of the home” – but does this include Southern Europe?