Questions About Your Reproduction

The other day I ran into a girlfriend at the grocery store and she lamented to me how people are always asking her when she and her husband are going to have kids. Oh, how I could relate to her! My husband and I have waited a full decade to have our daughter, and so I was all too familiar with people asking when, when, WHEN were we going to have children already?!

I have a hard time understanding why people are so invasive about wanting to know what in the heck is up with other people's reproductive systems, but that doesn't change the fact that it exists. And I felt a little bad in that moment because my advice to my friend in that moment wasn't all that cheerful. In fact, I find those many years of being asked when I was going to have children was only the warm-up for what would happen when I became pregnant...because even the bump under my shirt didn't stop the questions!!

Now that I am about to pop, people always ask me, "Is this your first?" and then there is generally some kind of conversation about whether or we plan on having more children. More children. It blows my mind. I am still coming into the realization of having a single child. There is no room for me to think about more children...but it doesn't much matter because all those years when I didn't want to talk about whether or not I wanted children at all, the conversation was going on.

The thing is, whether or not it's polite, or welcome at all, people are judging you about your choices surrounding children. When I casually said to someone in the beginning of my pregnancy that we might just have one, she literally shot back to me, "That's really selfish!" Not that I was offended. I'm not. I know that people are extremely attached to their personal beliefs, and my being angry or not isn't going to change that.

Here's what I have gotten so far from my experience on both sides of the baby-having fence:

If you are married and you aren't having babies, you should be.
If you are pregnant, you are automatically expected to have more babies, not just one because (obviously) that is the most selfish thing you can do; you might as well have had none at all.
If you have two, you are god's gift to society.
If you have three, you are boarding on crazy, and then people start asking you "are you guys done yet?"
If you have more than three, then you are living some kind of alternative lifestyle.

There is literally no winning in this game. Whatever you are doing, it's going to somehow be wrong to someone out there. People can be judgmental assholes. And for whatever reason, babies make people giddy, over-the-top excited and they just can't stop themselves from asking those invasive questions that make us cringe, feel judged, or just drop our jaws. It's the nature of the beast. If you act too closed off about it, people will assume that you are defensive because you maybe can't have children or there is trouble in your marriage. If you are too open, you basically invite people to make shitty and weird comments to you about your personal choices.

I also want to add that it's hard for modern women. We have so many choices and there is a lot of pressure to be all things. This expectation not only for a life that is diversified but also gives an air of perfection is not only unattainable, but roots a fierce competition within women and unfortunately, against one another. A lot of the judgment that we feel coming from others is really just a means to justify their own personal choices as definitively "the best." There is no right answer, of course. Having no children is no better than having nine children. It's all in what makes you the happiest, personally.

As for those who question our decisions or constantly want to know our plans for reproduction, chalk it up to excitement, being nosey and societal pressure. And remember: it never really goes away.

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