How to respond to a surprising question - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 08-22-2011, 09:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Someone asked me the strangest question today when visiting me and my dear child: "did you plan to have him?"

How does one respond to this kind of question? Isn't it perhaps kind of rude, no matter how much thought and preparation went into your child's conception? 

 

How do I respond to this? This is a member of my extended family (I'm kind of an oddball, I have a very conservative family, an academic career, and an international interracial marriage). The overall conversational tone was positive, but this question just sticks in my craw.... Wondering if it reflects any sort of general tenor in my family....

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#2 of 8 Old 08-22-2011, 09:29 PM
 
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I would be weirded out by that question, too. I guess I'd just say... Uh yeah... (or Uh no, if that was the case :)

 

You and I sound like similar odd balls :) however I'm far from family right now so I haven't had to deal with weird questions but it sounds like something they'd ask me, too (in fact I bet they are up there in the US wondering right now... whistling.gif)

 

Sorry I'm not really helpful.


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#3 of 8 Old 08-23-2011, 04:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, I said the same thing I said last time I got that question (at my GP Dr's office, which I guess is reasonable) "We had just decided to start trying" because I guess people expect to hear about trying? Dunno. WEIRD.

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#4 of 8 Old 08-23-2011, 08:55 AM
 
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I haven't heard that question, but I think I'd have to respond my politely letting them know how rude and inconsiderate a question it is. I can't even imagine someone asking that (or asking someone that). I'd try to be nice about telling them, but I would also want to make sure they never asked someone that question again!

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#5 of 8 Old 08-23-2011, 09:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, I was just so taken aback! I mean, when the Dr asked me it actually made sense, because I was being treated for VERY low thyroid, so I think he meant it in the 'were you meaning to ask me about fertility issues before' way. He was very caught up in how low my thyroid was, and surprised I was functioning, let alone fertile. 

 

But yeah, it was a weird question and I don't know how to handle it now. Like I said, it was my cousin (who is very small town and sheltered, though she now lives in NYC) who asked me. She also said something about how dark my baby is (my husband is W. african). Finally she asked me "if my parents were ok" with me "bringing home a black man." She also made some vague reference to me as a 'single mom' ??????

 

I mean, she's young, she's not from here... and i'm gonna need her help babysitting and stuff in the future (she moved in down the block).

 

How do I handle her in the future? She seems so positive and well meaning, and I tried to handle this stuff as 'teachable moments' but, uh, REALLY? It kinda chaps me afterwards. Should I just come right out and say something when she says somehting like this again? 

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#6 of 8 Old 08-23-2011, 09:49 AM
 
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yikes for stereotypes :( when i told my mom i was pregnant she immediately, i mean immediately, brought up my DH (we weren't married yet and she hasn't met him) using me to get to the US (cuz he's Guatemalan?)  - I mean it definitely depends on the relationship you have with that person, like your cousin, with my mom I know she tends to have some old skool beliefs about things that she typically doesn't "mean" but yet she says them anyway because that's what the rest of the family thinks or would typically think. I did not tell my mom she was totally ignorantly stereotyping my poor partner but I told her *i* knew him and he wasn't "like that" and not to worry - altho I knew only time would really show her.

 

your cousin, new to the city and all, will learn - if you feel comfy giving "teachable" moments, then by all means. i tend to be the type to let people stew in their ignorance since i'm not good at diplomatically discussing such things that make my blood boil. but i would probably say something if i felt comfortable, like say the person was a kid or someone i totally knew. but i tend to not try to "teach" my family because they already think i'm strange enough.


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#7 of 8 Old 08-23-2011, 09:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I went through the whole 'using me' thing too. Uh, my husband had a great and prestigious job back home and now he's doing something menial to contribute and he's far from family, etc..... 

 

I mean, this woman is going into public health (she's here for school, MA), and I am finishing a PhD in a very international field. So maybe I should just keep working on 'teachable' since she's come to me for tips about the neighborhood etc. I don't know, it's awkward. She brings these things up trying to be sensitive, and I'm like, uh, that was hella ignorant... I'll just try to gently nudge her along. Especially cause I think she'll do free babysitting...
 

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Originally Posted by guatemama1 View Post

yikes for stereotypes :( when i told my mom i was pregnant she immediately, i mean immediately, brought up my DH (we weren't married yet and she hasn't met him) using me to get to the US (cuz he's Guatemalan?)  - I mean it definitely depends on the relationship you have with that person, like your cousin, with my mom I know she tends to have some old skool beliefs about things that she typically doesn't "mean" but yet she says them anyway because that's what the rest of the family thinks or would typically think. I did not tell my mom she was totally ignorantly stereotyping my poor partner but I told her *i* knew him and he wasn't "like that" and not to worry - altho I knew only time would really show her.

 

your cousin, new to the city and all, will learn - if you feel comfy giving "teachable" moments, then by all means. i tend to be the type to let people stew in their ignorance since i'm not good at diplomatically discussing such things that make my blood boil. but i would probably say something if i felt comfortable, like say the person was a kid or someone i totally knew. but i tend to not try to "teach" my family because they already think i'm strange enough.



 

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#8 of 8 Old 08-23-2011, 10:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I should mention, too, that it's almost comic at other moments. She got very uncomfortable mentioning the fact that my mom is a lesbian. Hilarious! I was like, uh, you are from rural central PA, as is the rest of our family, but I grew up in Northern California. No offense, central PA! 

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