Stop Asking When I’m Having “Baby Number 2”
I am in my mid-twenties with a preschool-aged child and have been married to my husband for just over a year now… So it’s time I had another baby, right? *Insert eye roll here*
At our wedding people were asking if I was already pregnant with our second baby. Drinking champagne from the bottle soon stopped those questions. We were asked if we were going to have a super romantic honeymoon baby. A couple of months after the wedding people were checking in and asking if I was pregnant with said honeymoon baby. A year on, people are tapping their watches, commenting on the age gap and generally getting involved in our private business.
Compare that to when my son was still very little and people were telling me that I absolutely shouldn’t have another baby. Some people even commented that THEY weren’t ready for me to have another baby! My answer has always been the same:
That is between me, my husband and my uterus.
Thankfully, the word “uterus” seems to stop most people from making further comment for some reason.
I am not going to divulge whether or not we are trying for a baby because… well… That is between me, my husband and my uterus. Here are just some of the reasons why brash comments about a couple’s reproduction can be really inappropriate:
1. This is a big one with a trigger warning for infant loss: They already conceived but have suffered miscarriage(s).
I always encourage everyone to be as open as they feel they can be about these losses. Equally, if they don’t want to talk about it then it’s not okay to force their hand or make them lie or brush it off like nothing. If someone has suffered a loss like that the last thing they want to do is smile along and say “oh no more babies for us just yet”.
Without knowing for certain that they have not suffered a loss, you could be causing more pain. Your nosiness is not worth even a second of their suffering.
2. They are struggling with infertility and may well be considering other options
Some people struggle conceiving a second baby even if the first pregnancy happened easily. The couple may be considering their options like IVF, surrogacy, donor sperm, or adoption.
Unless a person has told you about their struggles and you are just checking in to see how things are going then this is a real stinger.
3. They don’t actually want to have (more) children.
Yep – that’s right, humans can actually make the conscious decision not to reproduce. Their reasons, if they choose to share them, are perfectly valid and you should respect them. From previous pregnancy/birth trauma to just not wanting to raise a family the phrase “you’ll change your mind” needs binning along with “when are you having a baby then?”
4. They already know they can’t have children for medical reasons.
This can be broad, perhaps due to an injury or illness. Maybe a second baby is off the table because of complications with a previous child. Some vital medications could also make pregnancy risky to the mother and/or the child.
It is possible that they have made peace with the idea of not being pregnant, but you don’t know. So don’t ask.
5. They’re already trying for a second baby
Just hold on a few months, they will let you know when they are good and ready. They don’t want to talk to you or anyone else about their sex life. “We’re trying for a baby” = “We’re having regular sex” and that level of sharing is just a little too much for some people. Do you really want to ask a question that indirectly tells you about how much sex they have? Really?
6. They want to wait
Perhaps until they are in a more stable financial situation. Maybe they want to move nicer area and they don’t want to talk to you about sex and money and how they don’t like the town you raised your own kids in because that is an uncomfortable conversation waiting to happen.
It’s possible they have plans in the near future – a once in a lifetime trip or holiday. Maybe they are getting married, renewing vows, being a bridesmaid, doing a military tour… ANYTHING. A prior commitment is as good a reason as any for you to keep your nose out.
7. They’re… queer?
Look, this one is on you. You already know that queer couples face challenges starting a family. If you are friends with a queer couple who, between them, do not have all of the necessary organs/gametes required for reproduction then things are not going to be very straightforward.
All of the above reasons to keep you nose out still apply, but with some added steps.
A quick confession…
Now, I am actually going to hold my hands up here and say I have asked people about when they’re having babies in the past, and more than once I have been shocked and saddened to hear of their losses and struggles. Now the shoe is not the other foot I can only apologise and change my attitude.
Offended by this post? I’m sure it might ruffle some feathers. As much as I write with a bit of tongue-in-cheek humour, this is a serious matter. Unprompted questions about reproduction can cause so much heartache and discomfort. I know you want to be excited for that special couple in your life, but step back and be patient.
Let me know what I’ve missed in the comments, I’m sure there are more than seven reasons not to ask a person when they are having a baby!
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