DEAR MISS MANNERS: I know that I should not mention a pregnancy unless it is first mentioned by the mother. Are there exceptions?
I teach college and have a student who is, I would guess, around seven months pregnant. She has never mentioned her condition to me. We have a final exam scheduled for a little more than two months from now. I would like to offer her the chance to take the final exam early, in case anything else is early. However, I am not able to let every student who might want a longer vacation also take the final early.
Is there any way I can speak to her about it? I’ve known her for two months, and given the way her body has changed, and her protective patting of her tummy, I cannot imagine it is not a pregnancy.
GENTLE READER: Stifle that kindly impulse. You may be right about your student’s condition, but Miss Manners warns you that you may also be wrong -- if not about the pregnancy itself, then about the timing.
Unless the mother raises it first -- or goes into labor during office hours -- the pregnancy is not your concern. The good news is that you know someone who has all the relevant facts and, it is reasonable to assume, has decided to take responsibility for the result. If she comes to you, you can then show your good intentions by allowing her to reschedule the final.