Just a vent: People constantly asking if we're having more kids! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 14 Old 02-06-2011, 03:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Am I the only one who gets continuously asked if and when I'm having more kids?  And doesn't like it?  Everywhere I go, it seems like that's top on everyone's list to ask me.  I don't understand how people can be so insensitive, not to realize that for a lot of people it's a personal, and sensitive subject- you really never know if someone has just had or has had many miscarriages, if having more children or not is a sore spot in their marriage, or if they're experiencing infertility and desperately want more children and can't, and then are put in the position of having to come up with some kind of chatty answer to people's nosy questions.

 

For me personally, when people ask this it feels akin to someone asking about my sex life and reproductive health and honestly I don't feel like casually conversing about that with everyone I meet.  I have had unplanned pregnancies and simply chatting about that and coming up with a cute response when it's a deeply emotional issue for me is very tough.  Rude examples I have experienced-

 

My boss constantly bugging me about when I'd be having baby #2, when said baby had died a few weeks prior and I was waiting for the miscarriage.  Often in staff meetings.  I am usually at a loss for words and say something lame like "don't worry, you'll be the first to know".

 

My kids' doctor asks every single time we see her if this is it for us or if we're having more.  Once it was while I was in the process of a miscarriage, and I said "well, I'm losing one right now" and she seemed taken aback and sympathetic, yet STILL ASKS EVERY TIME WE COME IN!!

 

I met with someone who was seeking a professional mentorship relationship with me, and after knowing her for 5 minutes she asked how many more kids I'd be having!

 

And in general, probably several times a week, I get asked this question by people I know well and near strangers.  I honestly don't know what to say, I don't even feel like it's deserves a polite, upbeat response since I think it's an intrusive question.  Usually I am just blank, and blurt out "No" or deflect it back on them and ask how many more THEY'LL be having.  Yet I don't want to be outright rude in return b/c most of these people I have to maintain professional relationships with, or are parents at my kids' school who I'll see all the time.

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#2 of 14 Old 02-06-2011, 08:55 PM
 
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My newest child is not yet 3 weeks old and I just got asked today about if we're going to have more. I am still working on processing my 3 and 1/2 day labor that lead me to give up on my dream of a peaceful, empowering homebirth and transfer to the hospital for pain relief (and pit). The question came from my hubby's coworker's wife who I don't really know all that well. I answered honestly with "I don't know" but didn't go into why.

 

In a profession situation, I'd be tempted to say "Gee, that's an awfully personal question, hey, what do you think about <insert professional topic>?"


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#3 of 14 Old 02-06-2011, 09:05 PM
 
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In some cases, I think it's a question that results from just trying to make small talk.  I have a little one who will be 5 months old this week and a "sometimes coworker" (from another store) was chatting with me today and one of the first things she asked was if we were thinking of having more.  It wasn't that she was trying to be intrusive, just trying to make small talk.

 

However, after dealing with secondary IF for 6 years, I also know that some folks area really rude about it.  Once, I was chatting with a fellow soccer mom during a game and she asked if we only had one or were planning on more.  I kinda skirted the issue, saying that we were working on it.  She then launched into a monolouge about how only having one meant you weren't a real parent and that we should be trying for more.  To which I responded with nothing less than the unabashed truth, about how long we had been trying, the procedures we went through and how much it all cost....and she appropriately felt about an inch tall and dropped the subject.

 

Honestly, I have just come to the conclusion that really, the general public is just insane.  Really.  Absolutely crazy. 

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#4 of 14 Old 02-07-2011, 07:51 PM
 
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On the flip side many people bug large families for having too many and being irresponsible.  Ask things like, "ARe they ALL yours?"  People just don't think - I haven't been able to have any myself, but I am step mom to 4 boys.  SO I GET BOTH.  People are rude about us having TOO many children - sick thought all on it's own...AND I get asked when I'm going to relax enough to get pregnant.  I feel your pain.


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#5 of 14 Old 02-08-2011, 11:38 AM
 
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Hm, OP, I'm curious where you live - maybe it's a regional cultural thing? DH & I conceived #2 when DS was 2 years old - so he was over 2 before I was showing & telling people. But I honestly don't EVER remember being asked when/if we'd have more... maybe like once or twice by people who are fairly good friends - people who I didn't mind them asking, because we'd discussed personal stuff in the past.

 

But I totally agree with you, it's a VERY personal issue & kinda rude to ask (again, unless you're very close with the person.)

 

As for comments on having lots - yeah, my MW has 8 & she told my DH people assume she's either Catholic or Mormon as some sort of "explanation" but she is neither- like having a big family requires an 'explanation.'

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#6 of 14 Old 02-08-2011, 01:43 PM
 
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Very rude. I did get asked once in a while when it was just DD1, she was 3 before I got pg with DD2, it did take us a while to get pg so I think some thought we were going to stay with an only. Now that I have 3 and am pg with #4, I'm getting the "how many children are you going to have!" comments, and not the positive type. eyesroll.gif I never ask about others fertility, if they wanted me to know, they would tell me. 


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#7 of 14 Old 02-08-2011, 07:19 PM
 
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I'm expecting my 4th right now, and my oldest is 6 years old (all boys thus far). I hear this question a lot, like, "This going to be your last, right?", combined with, "Oh, aren't you just dying for a girl finally?"

 

I usually just smile vaguely and shrug it off, but I do get really annoyed with it. Seriously, I do not care which flavor we're having, and I don't know if this will be our last one--and it's not dependent on if we have a girl or not! And most importantly, it is not anyone else's business. At all.

 

I think people just feel like it's an open topic and they can ask whatever, and I don't think they mean anything bad by it. But I agree that it is really, really frustrating, annoying, and rude.

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#8 of 14 Old 02-09-2011, 08:09 AM
 
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I got this right after DS was born and currently being pregnant STILL get asked when we are planning for another.

 

I answered honestly, "Well it took us two years to have DS so we'll have to see what God blesses us with." I don't think people realize IF happens unless they themselves have been though it or really know someone who has.


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#9 of 14 Old 02-10-2011, 12:10 PM
 
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Yep. We waited until DD was two and a half before conceiving baby number two, and by that time several of our acquaintances had been insinuating for about two years that we were borderline child-abusers for not "giving" DD a sibling. This one woman from church mentioned it EVERY time she saw me - twice a week - including collaring other people (occasionally people whom neither of us knew!) and saying "Here, tell Smokering she needs to have another baby". I even spoke to her about it once, which was very brave of me because I don't tend to stand up for myself that way. She immediately concurred with a cheerful "Oh yes, I know, it's awful isn't it, people need to mind their own business, I remember when I had my kids..." - and then for the next three weeks or so, her comments were preceded by "I know I shouldn't say this, but...", before she dropped that and just continued on as usual. AARRGH. I was actually perversely reluctant to TTC when we wanted to, just because I knew it would give her so much smug satisfaction and the idea that it was all due to her nagging!

 

On the other hand, I don't think it's always a rude question. Between friends, it can be OK. I've had conversations with people I actually like (often single people, who for some reason seem less invested as to whether we have kids or not), where the question has come up as naturally as "Do you plan to live in New Zealand forever?" or "Are you going to homeschool?"; and I don't have a problem answering that. Granted, I've never had infertility or a miscarriage; but I'm talking about friends with whom I'd probably discuss those issues if they came up anyway. You know? And I also have a few slight acquaintances who've happily revealed (unprompted) that they're "done" or referred to "next time we have a baby", or whatever. So... context. Heck, I think there's even a place in some relationships for the "was it planned?" question, even though in general I think it can be a terrible question to ask. If neither party's offended, and they have a level of intimacy that makes the question appropriate, there's no problem - especially if they're both mature enough to ask and accept "I'd rather not talk about it", which two friendly adults ought to be able to do.

 

ETA: I'll be interested to see if and when the comments start after this baby's born. It's common knowledge that I've had a horrible pregnancy so far, so I wonder if people will translate that into "She might not want to do it again", or if they'll see two children as the "correct" number and stop asking? Although I do move a lot around Christian homeschooling circles, where 5-6 kids is the norm and the quiverfull philosophy is fairly common, so I'm sure it won't be that easy. :p I'm actually open, theoretically, to the idea of one or two more babies, but it depends on a lot of physical and psychological factors that I don't necessarily want to explain to every Tom, Dick and Harry who asks, you know?


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#10 of 14 Old 02-13-2011, 10:26 AM
 
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What IS IT about babies and pregnancy that make otherwise well-mannered people completely loose their couth? dizzy.gif I hear ya, OP!

 


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#11 of 14 Old 02-14-2011, 05:35 PM
 
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Well, people keep implying that we're having too many too soon, but same sort of thing.  None of their business!  A man at church saw my belly and asked if we were expecting again.  I said yes and he replied, "Well, now that you know how it happens you can cut it out!"  Ugh.


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#12 of 14 Old 02-17-2011, 03:31 PM
 
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The question is very uncomfortable for me, so I always answer with the truth which makes them equally uncomfortable. "Yes we are trying and I have had 4 early losses since Oct 2009." They really dont know what to say, but I hope it makes them think twice before they ask someone else. I get this question a lot now that she is turning 3. *sigh*


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#13 of 14 Old 02-18-2011, 09:58 PM
 
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#14 of 14 Old 02-19-2011, 04:22 AM
 
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I get asked a bit but it doesn't bother me. Maybe because I haven't had any negative experiences associated with conceiving. I imagine it must be awful if you were going through a hard time. I usually say, yes we would love to have another baby and we plan to start trying when our daughter is about 2 years old.


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