AS a woman in my early thirties, I have lost count of the amount of times I have been asked this question over the years. Safe to say it’s probably in the hundreds.
It seems that once you’re in a committed relationship of some description – or in some cases, even if you’re not – everyone wants to know when you’re going to have a baby and if you’re married, well, quite frankly the level of baby scrutiny increases 10 fold. (If you’re planning on getting married one day, don’t say I haven’t warned you.)
Over the years, it’s been interesting to note that this question has pretty much always been aimed at me – the woman – not at ‘us’ the couple, although admittedly in the latter years my husband has found himself having to answer the dreaded question too occasionally.
It’s also never failed to amaze me that the majority of people ask ‘when are you going to have a baby?’ not ‘would you like to have a baby’ as if by the very nature of being born a female, it’s a given that you will be having a baby at some point. Talk about presumptuous.
Now don’t get me wrong, I can quite understand immediate family and friends being interested in our family plans and this isn’t really what has bothered me over the years. It’s more the fact that every Tom, Dick and Harry seems to think they have the right to ask somebody – mainly women – such a personal question.
Since my early twenties, I have been interrogated as to my baby plans by distant relatives, people I’ve met in business and even strangers, I kid you not. I’ve even been asked by one person if I knew ‘what my womb was for.’ Pleasant ey?
The fact is, asking such a personal question of anybody – especially when you don’t know them very well – can be very intrusive. Firstly, perhaps the person you’re asking doesn’t actually want children. After all, not everyone does.
Or, just maybe, the person you are asking is desperately trying to conceive but isn’t having any success or worse still, maybe the women you’re asking has recently suffered a failed preganancy. Imagine just for a second, how being asked that question will make them feel. Can’t be very nice, can it?
So for those people who continue to ask this bombshell question, I say this, please, just think on. If you’re a family member or close friend, then tread carefully. Have some tact, ask gently and don’t just presume that everyone wants a baby or can have one naturally. And, if you don’t know someone very well, play it safe and don’t ask! Stay clear of baby questions – unless perhaps the topic naturally pops up in conversation – and try asking them something else instead, like what their holiday plans are for the year. Something less prying if you like.
Finally, if you’re a woman sick to death of having to deal with baby questions all the time, then you have my sympathy. If you’re brave, you could tell them (politely of course) to get knotted. Cheeky? Tell them you’ll have a baby when they get some manners or if all else fails, do what I’ve done in the past and answer every baby question with a simple generic answer like ‘maybe one day’. Not great options I know, but they may just make it a little more bearable.
Till the next time,
P.S For everybody who’s asked me this question over the years, this is just for you….
All being well, I WILL be having our first baby, sometime in July. There, you can all go and knock yourself out now. ;-)