Embarrassing pregnancy

Article published on Oct. 26, 2005
Article published on Oct. 26, 2005

This article has not been vetted by an editor at Paris HQ

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?