When I was pregnant, I was bombarded with inappropriate questions and unwelcome belly touching. It was as though people saw I was expecting and their brain turned to mush. Questions such as, “Did you want a child?” and “Were you even on birth control?” came pouring out of people’s mouths as easily as “hello” and “have a good day.” I tolerated the questions and awkwardly smiled as strangers patted my growing abdomen, but now I’m putting down my foot.
My son is 17 months old and within the last couple of months, his father and I have officially tied the knot. It seems as though those two events have lead society to think it’s appropriate to ask about the future status of our family. Coworkers, family, friends and even strangers have asked, “So are you hoping for another one soon?”
I smile and politely say, “We’ll see” when in actuality I want to say, “I don’t know. Are you hoping for me to slap you now?” But I’ve learned self-restraint … until now.
Asking if we (or really anybody, for that matter) is wanting to have a child is a loaded question. As if the decision to bring a child into this world isn’t heavy enough, having to deal with the peanut gallery is about as enjoyable as passing kidney stones. So before you suffer another case of verbal diarrhea, consider this:
- What if we don’t want another child? Having even one child wasn’t anywhere in our plan. I had no intention of ever being a mother, especially unwed and 24 years old, but it happened (thanks, tequila). We barely survived our first year of parenthood, but not without financial woes, relationship struggles and a seriously scary battle with postpartum depression. What if we don’t want to do that again? What if risking my mental health to have another child isn’t okay with us? What if we can’t afford it? Ever stop to think that maybe we are okay with just being a family of three?
- What if we are trying and it’s not happening? Let me tell you, having an unplanned pregnancy has its perks. Sure, it’s terrifying, but not having to track your cycle or cervical mucus is nice. Planning to have a baby can be challenging and just because it easily happened one time, doesn’t mean the luck will be the same the next time. Plus, constantly being asked if we are “doing the deed” really puts me in the mood. Almost as much as trying to schedule my husband’s work travel around my ovulation window.
- What if something bigger is going on? It may look nice on paper to get married and have baby, but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. Priorities shift, minds change and life happens. No matter how much someone may want another child, it’s not always a part of the plan – and accepting that reality is something that couples may not want to discuss with you in the Target aisle.