As anyone who has faced down being married but childless knows…just as anyone who has had a younger sibling get married but they aren’t yet married knows….just as anyone who is pregnant knows..and just as anyone who has a child but still only one child knows…..the world is filled with people who ask totally inappropriate questions.
I, for one, was never really bothered with people asking me when I was going to have a baby before I got pregnant. Maybe it was that I was lucky and just avoided the jerks, who knows, but believe me, I know it happens to people ALL the time. It just never happened to me, at least that I can recall.
Of course, we all know that no one comes away from a pregnancy unscathed. There is the inappropriate office worker who makes comments on your waddle, or how enormous you’ve gotten overnight, or how your baby has clearly dropped and you are definitely going into labor like tonight even though you are 32 weeks pregnant. There are the random strangers on the street that tell you, with absolute certainty, that you are birthing a boy. Even if you know you are having a girl and go as far as to tell them that. They are still sure. Then enter the family member, maybe a mother-in-law, even a sister, possibly a creepy Uncle, whatever the case may be, there will inevitably be a family member (or two) that make really inappropriate comments – usually again about your size.
WHY – WHY PEOPLE – why do we do this to one another? Why do we ask inappropriate, probing questions?
Now, don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place for inappropriate, probing questions. I, for one, am the queen of probing (and probably inappropriate) questions but hopefully I keep them just to my inner-circle of BFFs, particularly after one of us becomes loose lips over a few glasses of vino. I mean, what are BFF’s for if we can’t ask one another probing, inappropriate, personal questions?
But the random office worker, not a BFF.
The stranger on the street? Not even a frenemy. Just a random.
So bug off, is what I want to say.
In fact, when I was pregnant, I grew so tired of this running public commentary on me that I wanted the following slogans on a shirt that I claimed I would have worn in public.
Shirt one would have read:
“Just because I’m pregnant doesn’t mean I give a shit about your kid.”
Shirt two would have read:
“Just because I’m pregnant doesn’t mean I’m nice.”
I think you all can feel me here. What is it about being pregnant that makes strangers think you want to hear about their kids? Hell, I have a kid and I still don’t care to hear about some random’s twerp. And what is it about being pregnant that makes people think you are nice and want to be smiled and stared at all the time?
In regards to the inappropriate comments about weight gain, my husband armed me with a one-liner that I never had the nerve to use but it made me feel better in those moments, just thinking about saying it. When the inevitable “I can’t believe how much bigger you are than the last time I saw you” comment was made, his advice was to respond “I was just thinking the same thing about you.”
It still cracks me up.
But see, kittens, as any of you know who have one child, the fun doesn’t stop once you’ve birthed one child. It just continues. It just opens more doors.
And so, the inappropriate question of the day that chaps my ass in a big way is this:
“So when are you going to have a second?”
When someone asks me that, you know what I want to say, as my head grows inordinately large and I suddenly grown 40 eyes and steam starts pouring out of my ears as my head starts spinning 360 degrees, I want to say “BITE ME.”
I mean, my blood pressure rises instantly and it’s like I’m going to spontaneously combust when I’m asked that question. And I swear to you, people have been asking me that question since before my child could even sit up on her own. I wonder if my body had even fully healed from delivery and I was already being asked that question.
As you might imagine, with her second birthday on the horizon, the pace has accelerated. Its like, your child reaches a certain age and even if you aren’t pregnant, your body becomes open for public commentary and opinion as to when you should be gestating again.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time considering why this question fires me up so much. My initial reaction is because it is so invasive, it is no one’s f’ing business. But I think there’s more to it. For me, when I was pregnant the first time, I, like every other first time preggo out there, had no earthly clue what I was really walking into with having a child.
This time, well, I know good and well what we are walking into with having another baby, and frankly, I’m not so sure I’m in the mood to muster up the energy yet. I suspect this is a common issue among parents as they consider expanding their brood. Now we know too much. And really, we wonder, aren’t we totally fulfilled with this one bundle of joy?
And so, perhaps I become a vile monster when people ask me when we are going to have a second because I am well aware of the reality of what having a second means, the good bad and ugly of it, and well, maybe in that moment I just didn’t feel like thinking about it again.
Who knows. But the bottom line is – where along the way have people forgotten that our reproductive system and our breeding schedules are only the business of those of us with that uterus and our husband, no one else.