Monday, August 24, 2009

Wow. That's A Personal Question

I remember when Leland and I were dating, everyone would ask me when we were going to get engaged. I really didn't know how to answer that question, so I would sort of sidestep it and maybe just reply with "Soon." Around our 3rd or 4th year of dating, it seemed all of my friends were getting married. At every single bridal shower and bachelorette party, someone would ask me when it was going to be my turn. Well, how the hell am I supposed to know? If I knew when we were going to be married then this would probably be my bridal shower. But I didn't know. I knew it was eventually going to happen, but I also knew that Leland did things slowly and it was going to take a little longer than I liked. Every time someone asked me that question it made me feel bad.

When Leland and I got engaged, I was so happy people would stop asking me when we were going to get married. I was elated. Now everyone knew it was happening and they could leave me alone. Little did I know that happy feeling of people leaving me alone, of not having to constantly be badgered, of not having people intrude into my personal business was going to be short lived.

I am married now. And you all know what comes next.


Now people are always asking me, "So, when are you going to have a baby?"

Again, I don't know how to answer this question. I was at a baby shower on Saturday and I knew I was going to be bombarded with a ton of people asking me the question. I tried to prepare myself as much as possible. I asked my mom, sisters and friends for advice. What do I say?

Do I just say "Wow, that's a personal question," and walk away?

Or do I say "We're having too much fun right now to even think about that."

Or maybe I just leave it at "When we are ready."

Possibly I should have said "When it happens, you'll be the first to know."

Naturally, when I was at the shower and the question was posed, I froze. I didn't know what to say. All of my preparing went out the window. Though I knew it was coming, I was surprised that so many people thought it was an appropriate question to ask. It is not an appropriate question to ask.

There are so many factors that come in to play with having a baby. Things like time, finances, personal development, relationship development, even biology. There are tons of women who decide the time is right but then have trouble conceiving. Why would anyone ask that question knowing that not all women are uber fertile? There are a ton of reasons that can make it difficult for a woman to get pregnant and a ton of reasons to make it difficult for a woman to stay pregnant. Why don't people think about things like this before they ask the very personal question? Not only is the question personal, but just asking it makes me feel small.

I am so happy for my friend who is pregnant with twins so please just let me be happy for her. I know there are a lot of people who must "keep up with the Jones's," but I am not one of them. I would much rather just keep up with myself. And right now, a baby is not in the near future. Please don't feel bad for me because I am not pregnant. I am happy with the way my life is, I am happy with all of the fun things Leland and I are doing that keep us so busy. I know a baby is in our future, but right now I am happy with it being the two of us.

And trust me, when it does happen, you will all be the very first to know. Until then, please stop asking.


LC @ Old House Now said...

AMEN- i constantly get asked the same thing and i will never cease to be amazed by how nosy and rude people can be! just because the husband i are married doesn't mean we want kids immediatly... and, there's nothing wrong with that!! cheers to being happily un-knocked up :)


Oh, how I can relate! Because my husband and I moved in together before getting engaged was a possibility, we were asked when we were going to make that happen CONSTANTLY. My mom actually asked me to lie to certain relatives (heaven forbid they know I was "living in sin") so not to cause too much familial upset. Fuck that. My standard response was always "As soon as someone steps up and offers to pay for the wedding." That usually shut them up.

Having been married for almost 3 years now, we're getting the baby question from all directions. And it's just none of anyone's gd business. I'm happy to talk about the possibility with my girlfriends and family members who have already started on that bandwagon, and of course my mother is going to want to "hint, hint" her way to grandchildren, but it is such a HUGE fucking decision that doesn't really need to be discussed between anyone other than the two people who are going to make it happen. It's expensive, it's personal, it's exhaustingly emotional, and it will happen when it happens.

Stephanie Faris said...

I hear ya! I went through all of this in my 20s. Paul Reiser made a joke about this. The thing is, once you have one, they all want to know when you're having another. Then eventually it's, "When is your daughter going to get married?" Once she gets married, it's, "When is she going to give you a grandchild?" It never ends. As Reiser said, once you get to the end of your life, is it then, "When are you going to die?"

Suzi Q said...

Oh man did you hit the nail on the head about babies - that's a sore spot for me.

I'm going to apologize now for the long comment I'm going to make:

First, here's a clip from on old post of mine: "I don't want kids. Yes we're married now. No that doesn't mean you can ask me when the babies are coming. They're not. Not ever. I like dogs. I'm ready to get a t-shirt made in 67 different colors that says, "No we're not having kids. Thanks for not asking."

A comment from on my post about kids: "what is it about people who think they have the right to ask about personal matters, such as kids, or whatever? It's your decision, your life, and frankly - there are a lot of people out there who SHOULDN'T have kids and do. Just cuz we "CAN" reproduce doesn't mean we necessarily should. right?

Also, for all they know - you could be one of those couples who have been trying for years and its just not happening... not that you are, but how do they know? they don't. Some people should just keep their mouths shut. yknow?"

Can I get a hell yeah? And another comment from on that same post: "I can relate to the "when are the kids coming" comments. I am not married, nor will I be...and no we are not even trying. For the love of Pete, there is more to life than kids."

Okay I'm done. Thanks for your time!

Vodka Logic said...

And once you get pregnant, people, and I mean complete strangers, ask if you are going to breast feed.

It never ends.


Sassy Chica said...

I think people should respect others privacy and space. Tell these family/friends you will speed up the process if they agree to show up every morning for the 3AM feeding and pay for the first four years of college.

Sassy Chica

Aubrey said...

I'm in total agreement with you. That is one question I'm not looking forward to when we get married next year, especially since we don't know if we even want to have children.

The other thing I think will bother me is if/when we get pregnant, all the people who think it's okay to pat/rub/etc. a pregnant woman's belly. If you've never seen me in me without makeup and in my pajamas, you probably don't know me well enough to be touching my belly.

Michelle@DomesticationoftheSingleGirl said...

And babies lead to even MORE personal questions.


Expressionless face + raised eyebrows and an innocent "Why do you ask?" has worked well for me. Catches people off guard as they consider the reasoning for their own nosiness, without making you look rude.

'Boundaries' needs to be a required class in all 4 years of high school. Forget Algebra and Public Speaking.


Anonymous said...

I completely agree!!! it's one of my pet peeves!

I started just telling people the truth which apparently nosy people can't handle...I just say "I'd like to have kids, but the doctor says I don't ovulate so no eggies equals no babies unless I take some pills with awful side effects." If people are going to be rude and ask me such a question demanding to know why I haven't had babies yet, they're going to get a blunt 'n rude answer back!

Intense Guy said...

Half the time the thoughtless questions are from people that are only half (or less) involved in your world and just need something...anything for conversation starter material.

Shame they don't stick to the weather or the ball team.

Nicely written entry. :)

Mandy said...

Just answer their questions with a question - "When was your last bowel movement? Oh, I'm sorry! Was that too personal for you? Well that's how I feel about your question." :-)

Or you can just tell people the line I used. I was married four years before I even thought about having a kid. I told people - "we're getting a dog and we'll see how that works out!" :-)

Samantha said...

I was just married three months ago, and I'm already getting that same question. People must think it's a reasonable conversation starter, or that as soon as you put a ring on your finger, you should start having babies! I need some time! I always answer with something very vague, like, "NOPE, not for a while yet!"

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!! :)

yellowdoggranny said...

I always liked 'none of your fucking business.'...myself..

Meg said...

Nosey buggers. I vote to tell them to mind their own beeswax but then they'll start asking when you're having the pole removed from your ass. Sadly, you have to smile your way through these intrusive questions because our society is a nosey one.
So... when ARE you going to have a baby?? ;)

trishie said...

Stu and I have been dating for 2 years and are at the stage where people are constantly asking when we're getting engaged/married. it is quite awkward but once i just replied with a question, "when are you going to stop asking awkward questions?" and it worked.

Carma Sez said...

So, when are you two gonna have a baby?????? ;-)

Another interesting thing; if you only have one child - be prepared for people constantly asking why you are not having a second child and making it sound as if you are torturing your child by not giving them a brother or sister. This started around when VC turned one and went on for years...

People's rudeness never ceases to amaze me. If they had taken the time to look, they would realize he is a happy, well-adjusted child, even without having siblings!!!!

JennyMac said...

HAHA...This is SO true.

And we got asked all the time. And now we get asked all of the time when are we having another. ONE DAY after we brought our son home, I was asked when I was having another.

So I crafted an answer and only had the moxie to use it once:

Them: So, when are you having anothe baby.

Me: I don't know but we had a great time practicing all morning.

They were aghast and then cracked up. It was good friends of ours so I dont know if I'd have the verve to say it to a complete stranger.

Intense Guy said...

I had this song in my head this morning and I think it was because of this entry and your previous entry.

Rod Stewart's Young Turks. I loved the instrumentals and the rhythm but the words I keep hearing today are:

"Young hearts be free tonight.
Time is on your side.
Don't let them put you down, don't let 'em push you around,
Don't let em ever change your point of view."


Penelope said...

When people asked "when are you going to get married?" (when I was single) I would say "When I meet the right guy". When I was asked when I plan to have children, I would say "It's not up to me, that is G-d's choice".

Asking a woman who is dating someone when she plans to get married is rude...Gwyneth Paltrow used to say (about Chris) "ask him". It's not like we decide and tell our men when to marry us, it's up to him to decide when to propose.

If it was someone who was not close to me, I would pointedly reply "When I decide, you'll be the first to know" lol...they would usually laugh. I told one woman "as soon as we decide, I'll call you up and tell you" and she thought that was a great answer, and said "ok, i get it" and laughed.

Amandasaurus said...

Who knew that what's supposedly the best day of a woman's life would catalyze an era of social stress and flagrant disregard of her personal bubble? You go girl - when it happens, it happens, and you'll be as happy then as you are now.

Hit 40 said...

The older I get the more I realize just how personal it is to ask this question. And why do they care? How do we know that they have not been trying and trying which makes the question a really sad one to ask.

Why do folks ask if that is your child? Why does it really matter? Do they need to know this info for a reason? Does it change something for them by knowing this? My friend has a black child. She is white. Of course, the kids is adopted. Dah!! Why do people ask??

I imagine that your feeling pressure when they ask to conceive. Do not let them pressure you! Having a child is a huge commitment. I am glad that you realize this. I love my boys, but should have waited a few years to travel a little. There is never a good time to totally relax and to travel after kids.

Dollface said...

Just saw your blog, and I laughed out loud... haha.. I am totally in then when is it your turn stage, grrrr... great stufF!!! xxxoo

bananas. said...

you know what i do when people ask me that? i say WHY DO PEOPLE ALWAYS ASK THAT?! i mean don't they have anything else to say like "wow i love your shoes" or "hey you're awesome". my gawd people! when it happens it happens. enough said. i may be more blunt than you so i understand if this is not an option. lol.

Anonymous said...

GREAT post!! I wont even get into some of the stories that have annoyed me through out the last year with the whole babies thing!

We did however, get a card for the wedding from one of our cousins that said "now that your married, aren't you glad people will still asking you when are you getting married?" when you opened it, it said... so when are you having babies? it was actually pretty funny... then lol

Melissa said...

Again, I feel as if we share a brain, or at least a closet in the Universe. :)

I didn't get the babies question too much after we got married because I was still in school - but now that school will be over for me in about 16 weeks, that seems to be on everyone's mind. It's almost like "Ok, you're finished with this professional nonsense,when's it baby time?!?!" It's incredibly annoying and frustrating to me, I really don't like it at all - mainly for the reasons you suggest here. And I likely do have some damage from all the years I was so unhealthy, so it's just weird all the way around.

Usually I just say "we're happy with the four legged kind right now" and leave it at that.... of course in my family you can't leave it at that, but I try... valiantly.

Happy Thursday - it's almost Friday and I could NOT be happier!

Patti (@TheLoveJunkee) said...

The next questio is "when are you going to give them a brother or sister?" never ends! Eh, what can you do, really? They mean well.

Visiting from SITS.

Cathy said...

Found you via Mandy's Life After 30. I've been married for 5 years and have been fending off the "when are you having kids" and "when are you buying a house" question" for a long time. I love The Single Girls response of "Why do you ask?"!! That's what I'm using from now on! Great post!

-E said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
-E said...

I always want to reply "STFU, not long ago you were doing the same 'oh thank God my period came' dance the rest of us still boogie down to every month." Ugh!