From the moment we announced we were pregnant, our lives suddenly became a Q&A session. Something about my non-ice cream related bump gave folks a sense of comfort unlike anything I’d ever experienced. And they expected answers. Formula or breastfeeding? Co-sleeping or crib? Staying at home, or heading back to work? Binkies or no binkies? Cloth or disposable? Princeton or Harvard? (Julliard, duh…)
I get it. Once people know you’re pregnant, they also know that on a bi-weekly basis, you have a team of eleven poking and prodding and squeezing you. Much like staying awake for an entire movie after you become a parent, privacy becomes a fictional character. As a fan of TMI, and always willing to share a good poop story, I can understand the curiosity that plagues some people.
Then your baby arrives, and now the curiosity can be put to bed. People can see and hear (and maybe touch, if you’ve used enough Purell) your sweet little miracle. No time for questions; only time for sitting in awe and wonder.
Only that’s not it, and not by a long shot. The closer your child gets to their first birthday, the more frequently the Q&A sessions begin again…and once your child has actually passed the first birthday? Forget it. This time, people want to know when and how many and hurry up already you’re getting ooooold!
When are you having your next baby? How many children are you going to have? Why aren’t you pregnant already? Don’t you think your child deserves a sibling?
And now I am starting to feel a little ragey towards these well meaning people. Maybe it’s the years I’ve spent carefully caring for the bleeding heart I have beating in my chest, or maybe I just think it’s none of your business. But consider the parents whose one and only child is a miracle…do you want to ask them these questions? Or the family that adopted, because they just couldn’t conceive…do you think they’d like to answer when they’ll have their next baby? See, that’s my bleeding heart, worrying about others. It’s definitely possible that the young family with their first child just wants to enjoy their time together, as a family of three…did that thought cross your mind? See, that’s my it’s none of your business attitude, getting ticked because you’re overstepping your boundaries.
Some people can only have one child; some people only want to have one child. Each family is unique and different and beautiful, and each family knows what is best. It could be one child, or it could be a dozen. But let them make that decision without a Diane Sawyer interview.
Before Miles, no one ever asked me when I was getting my next cat (the answer is ASAP always and forever). In fact, when we did adopt the litter of three that was abandoned in our neighborhood, I could feel the collective eye roll from some of you. But, those cats are part of our family; they are my children (stop rolling your eyes).
It’s a natural question, sure. Just use some tact and thought before blurting it out. Otherwise, I’ll probably just respond with, “Have you had a bowel movement today?”