Friday, August 31, 2012

the innocent inappropriate question

it seems like a natural, perfectly legitimate question to ask. i have been asked this question. i suppose i never really knew exactly how to answer it  - probably because the answer was really not the business of the asker. what is the often asked, super inappropriate question? it comes in various forms:

when are you going to start trying for a baby?
are you planning to start a family soon?
isn't it about time to have a baby? 

something happens in the minds of others the moment you say "i do." those two words trigger this when-you-gonna-get-to-baby-makin'-question train. but if you think the asking starts right after the wedding day, wait until you've been married 5 years and still haven't had a baby - you'll need to hire an assistant to field all of the baby questions. and the people asking aren't always the most obvious. you may expect it from mother-in-law or grandma - but the lady that sits a cubicle over from you, your dental hygienist, your 5th cousin twice removed you're meeting for the second time at a family reunion?

isn't the question of our reproductive plans highly personal? isn't it a discussion and decision to be had and made between the potential mommy and daddy? are you really prepared for the answer that may follow your seemingly innocent question?

what if the woman you're trying to make small talk with by asking when she plans to bring forth fruit has suffered numerous miscarriages, or has been trying for several months or even years to have a baby with no success, or has been diagnosed with a medical condition that may make it very difficult or maybe impossible to conceive, or the couple has been on an adoption waiting list for what seems like an eternity with a fallen through adoption and no leads in sight? and what if the couple has no desire for children at all? are you prepared to hear that answer?

what if your inquiry into a couple's baby plans adds more stress and sadness to an already stressful, sad situation? small talk should be reserved to weather, current events, and the cuteness of the other's shoes, not reproductive plans.

i realize people mean well when they ask a woman about her plans to become a mommy. it is such a joyous, exciting, and special decision. the happiness extends far beyond the pregnant couple and their immediate family - most people are tickled to hear of a new little one. however, this is a subject i don't even broach with the dearest of friends (ok, i may have asked one of them, but i did preface it with "i realize this is none of my business.") because i know how sensitive the decision and process of having a baby are.

wouldn't it just be best for us to patiently wait for our friends (or acquaintances) to come to us with the exciting news that they've decided to have a baby or are, in fact, expecting? we won't have to feel like we're prying or chance being faced with an answer we aren't prepared to hear. we will simply be able to celebrate the exciting news...and no one will feel uncomfortable!

apply this to existing mothers when you consider asking if she's "done" or if she'll "keep trying until she gets a boy/girl." just as the decision to start a family is highly personal between husband and wife, the decision to not have any more children is equally as personal with just as many emotions playing into it.

so the next time you're chit chatting with your childless hairdresser or your dearest friend since kindergarten who as of yet has not popped out a youngun, don't go below the belt - it's personal, sensitive, and really none of your business down there.


Post a Comment

i would love to hear from you! however, anonymous comments will not be posted.
"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers." Ephesians 4:29


Dates Diapers & Deity