Mariah Carey recently reflected on an uncomfortable 'Ellen' interview, during which she was pressured to take a drink of alcohol to clear up pregnancy rumors. So many of us have been pressured like this by friends and otherwise—and it needs to be canceled.

By Zara Hanawalt
September 01, 2020
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Back in 2008, Mariah Carey appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show—and what she experienced was all too common.

The TV host brought up pregnancy rumors, and when Carey didn't confirm them, DeGeneres pressed on; she even presented Carey with a glass of champagne to "toast to [Carey] not being pregnant".

The exchange is making the rounds, as Carey recently spoke up about how it all made her feel. "I was extremely uncomfortable with that moment is all I can say," Carey told Vulture. "And I really have had a hard time grappling with the aftermath. I wasn't ready to tell anyone because I had had a miscarriage."

But as I see it, Carey didn't really have to share that the situation made her uncomfortable because when I watch a clip from that very interview, the singer's discomfort feels so palpable—and so very familiar.

Watching Carey squirm and deflect and grasp for excuses as to why she wasn't drinking the champagne (like calling the beverage "fattening" and saying it was "too early" for her to drink) reminds me of so many similar experiences I've faced.

It takes me back to the time I attended a wedding at six weeks pregnant and had someone I barely knew literally place a glass of wine in front of me to see how I'd react. I recall the morning sickness that lingered after that same pregnancy ended at nine weeks, and how I avoided social situations for weeks because I knew questions would arise. I think back to when an acquaintance congratulated me on my pregnancy. "I saw you pull that big cardigan over your belly to try and hide it," she'd said. But I wasn't pregnant then, just cold. And if I looked tired or queasy to her, well, it's because my eyes were red from crying over yet another negative pregnancy test.

We shouldn't have to deal with this. We shouldn't have to pretend we're on cleanses or suffering from the stomach flu. We shouldn't be "outed" or have rumors circulate about what's happening (or not happening) within our bodies.

Twelve years later, Carey still remembers the pressure she felt to reveal news she wasn't prepared to share. And twelve years later, we're still grappling with the very same societal issue. For some strange reason, people still don't understand that "are you pregnant?" is never an acceptable question—unless, of course, you're asking for medical or safety reasons. And it doesn't stop there: I know Carey and I are not the only people who have felt pressure to reveal pregnancy news even after we've said no or declined to comment when asked directly.

This needs to stop. Probing into someone's reproductive life in this way isn't just annoying and invasive, it can also strike a very painful chord. Maybe the person in question is struggling to conceive or has recently suffered a miscarriage. Maybe they are already feeling self-conscious about some recent weight gain—or maybe that belly bloat you're seeing comes courtesy of a round of IVF or fertility drugs. And maybe, just maybe, that person really is pregnant but simply not ready to share that news.

Whatever the case may be, if someone is pregnant and wants you (or, in Carey's case, the whole world) to know, they'll share the news themselves—no questions asked, no games played, no impromptu "test" required. And that's how it should be.

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