Who here has had something you felt was completely inappropriate said to you while in any of the stages of having kids, not having kids, or being a parent? I know I’ve heard my fair share – some(most) said directly to me, and some overheard. As the not-so-much-recovering inappropriate that I am, I’m sure I’ve shown up on somebody else’s “what the f@#*?” meter. Okay. Lot’s of people’s. Everyday. But, when it comes to the subject of children – their existence and raising, the choice or inability to have them at all – I really try to be on my best behavior. Here I tend to overshare my life instead of butting in to their business. Unless they’re a good friend. They know what they signed up for with me. Anyway, so I thought I would compile a list of some of the top questions and comments from strangers, family and friends that really drive me crazy. My pet peeves of pregnancy and motherhood remarks. In no particular order or category:
1) You CAN’T have another baby! (Or one in the 1st place).
I had no idea until I started talking about wanting to have baby #3 that so many people were apparently camped out in my lady parts and could see I was incapable of having more children. But I wasn’t. So why would they say that? Well, for starters, a lot of it for me was the same as I had heard most of my life. Because of the Type 1 diabetes I would never/should never/could never have kids (thanks, Steel Magnolias, for making everyone an expert). I believed that for the longest time. Then I started going through high risk pregnancies, complicated births, and everybody and their brother, instead of me and my doctors, were the experts on whether or not I should have any more. There were more reasons,of course, equally between my husband and I, and, I’m sure, said to many other people throughout time. Do you have enough money for more kids? Sometimes. How will you take care of more kids? With my hands and hugs. How will you feed more kids? With food. How will you pay for so many kids to go to college? I won’t. Those suckers are on their own! I’m not a bank!
2) Are all those kids yours?
You’d think that no one has ever had more than 2 kids. My grandparents had 7 and 9. Big families used to mean 6 or more. We’re all ridiculous. Yes, it costs much more to live these days. But me having 4 kids should not make it appear that I am running a day care, as was assumed by many a repairman stopping by during the day. Do they sometimes get so loud, and run around so fast, that it looks like there’s 20 of them? Every mother-loving day, at least once. But, the question, at parks, stores, my home, is always delivered with a look of “Oh, she’s one of those people who doesn’t believe in birth control.” Rude. Who else might this question offend, or at least bother? Maybe a family member who likes to take all the kids out, and they don’t have, but would like, children of their own. Maybe a relative raising someone else’s children due to circumstances they try every day not to dwell on. I do think this question is most often meant as innocent conversation. I also think it’s just a weird thing to ask.
3) Do all those kids have the same father?
This one usually follows up the one above. I like to answer that I’m not sure, to make them uncomfortable with their question. As they should be.
4) So you don’t have any kids of your own?
See #2 for some of the reasons this may be totally inappropriate. I just want to answer for everybody with this: If in that moment that child or those children are your responsibility, they are yours! Nobody needs to know anything else.
5) You’re so fertile!
I guess you can imagine that having 4 kids in 5 years would bring this up at least a few times. Again, too close to my cooter bone. Also, 9 times out of 10 this is said with a little contempt, like I’m so lucky it was easy for me. I spent a few years trying to get my blood sugar under control enough to get pregnant. Every month, as I knew ovulation time was approaching, and I didn’t get things “right” yet, it felt like a try and a fail. I “tried” 30 days a month for 3 years. Didn’t seem easy. Here’s the other part: I just don’t have any fertility issues. I’m not more fertile than somebody else without issues. So when we wanted to get pregnant each time, using every trick in the book, giving it our all (Jackpot refers to it as 30 days in the hole. He’s lovely.), we were successful. I just consider it God giving us a break on that part considering the years leading up to, the difficult pregnancies, and anything but smooth births. I’m sure other women have also been accused? of this with phrases like “Well, somebody just looks at you and you get pregnant.” or “Haven’t you figured out how that’s happening yet?”
6) Somebody’s been having fun!
These words are presented to pregnant women with a big smile and eyebrows moving up and down. Get away from me,creep.
7) Where did they get those blue eyes/that curly or red hair/so tall?
Just answer “The mailman”. It’s what they’re looking for.
8) Aww! He’s got his daddy’s eyes/nose/mouth!
Would you like to ask my husband out on a date, sir? Once again, I’m creeped out.
9) Eat anything you want – you’re pregnant!
As a happy comment from strangers or someone you know, not a big deal. When it’s somebody pushing food on you (I truly believe some people think they will get a chance to watch a pregnant belly explode), that’s too much. I once was in Subway satisfying my craving for a roasted chicken breast sandwich. I asked for a lite serving of mayo. She squirted half a bottle on it and told me to “Go crazy! You’re eating for two!” Nope.
10) And then there’s – Should you be eating/drinking that while pregnant?
So, I was stubborn and didn’t eat or drink anything I thought may have been mentioned, at some point, in the history of childbearing, as dangerous for the baby. I had enough strikes against me. But, this was not avoided in the checkout lane while buying groceries. I must have been crazy to buy Diet Coke for my husband while pregnant! I should know that is dangerous for the baby. You know, to be lifting the 2liter on to the belt, I guess? I liked to answer this one with “Should you be walking around without a helmet on? I guess we’re both feeling a little reckless today.”
11) How many you got in there?
“Ahh. You’re so funny! If you hadn’t said that none of us would have ever realized that our bellies can really get quite large when reproducing!” Just ask if they’re calling you fat while pretending you’re crying.
12) Why aren’t you breastfeeding?
What? My boobs, my business. But, what makes this one so ridiculous is that you don’t know that they’re not a nurser. They may be feeding them pumped milk, or be supplementing for whatever reason is THEIR situation. I personally had low milk supply due to other health problems with my first baby only. I was heartbroken to have to supplement. Not something I needed some nosey-ass throwing in my face. You also don’t know if they’re not nursing, why. Could be a variety of reasons, none of which is anyone’s business! It’s so simple. Is the baby being fed? Then stay out of it!
13) Should you be feeding them that?
Okay. This one actually is about more than food. Should you feed them that, why aren’t they eating, shouldn’t they be eating something else? Should they be wearing that type of diaper, or a diaper, or using that diaper cream? Should you cover them with that blanket, not have them covered, put sunscreen on them, burp them upside or down, use a pacifier, let them sleep alone, let them sleep with you, not let them smack a stranger in the face, because I think all babies should be trained to do that when people start asking these questions?
14) Do you have a name picked out?
So the question is not at all bad. The response,on the other hand, is usually horrible. “I knew a guy with that name once and he_______.” “Oh, no, you’re not serious,are you?” ” I don’t know. I’ve always liked the name_______” “Don’t name him that! Everybody will call him______” (See my previous post, What’s in a Name, for more on that.) Or the endless, every time you see them ” How about_____.” Because they’re convinced they will be the one to change your mind.We avoided this by not telling anyone until the baby was born. We figured we were saving others the awkwardness of finding out that their delightful story of how they knew a boy named that once and he got run over by a goat pulling a cart, or whatever other shit they came up with, did not deter us from the name.
15) You’re so lucky you didn’t have to give birth the hard way!
Yep. I can’t believe it even as I type it that people say this, but they do. As mentioned before, I went years and years thinking I could never have kids. Since I was first diagnosed with the diabetes at 9. I wanted to be a mommy from before I can remember. I was blessed. Each pregnancy was horrible! And I loved every second of it. Just like I wanted to experience every second of giving birth. With my first I ended up with severe pre-eclampsia with an early, fast, get-him-out c-section. I was devastated. I was also in the hospital extra days, the first of which was on a magnesium drip that makes you feel like you can’t move any limbs without help. But I had my beautiful,perfect,healthy baby, so I moved on. I got pregnant the second time, and hoped for the best when it came to the birth. Because of the diabetes, I cannot go the full 40 weeks, so was scheduled at 39. I could not be induced after having a previous c-section. My only hope for a VBAC was to go into labor before 39 weeks. It did not happen. I tried to focus on the fact that I didn’t get the pre-eclampsia again. I was readmitted into the hospital the day after I got home with postpartum pre-eclampsia. I spent an additional three days there, while they tried to fix me. I had headaches worse than any migraine I had ever had, on top of the general feeling like shit from the reason I was in there. Baby #3. No chance for a VBAC after the 2 sections. I went into labor the day of my surgery. Didn’t realize that was what was going on. Three hours after my contractions began I was ready to push as they first put in my epidural for my cesarean. Full labor, no drugs, and still had to be cut open. Of course, that was overshadowed a bit by the fact that I hemorrhaged so badly afterwards that the nurse said she’d never seen someone lose that much blood and live. They kept the epidural in until that evening in case they would be removing my uterus. Thank goodness that didn’t happen. I ended up being transfused with many units of blood. Baby #4 was simple. A little early because blood pressure issues that kept me in the hospital for 5 days this time, and a magnesium drip once again. With a couple of these births, with the slow rate of healing so common with diabetics, my surgery site became infected, adding to the pain. With each after my first, I had not just a newborn, but other small children that still needed to be lifted in and out of beds, high chairs, tubs, right after I had my stomach cut open. Maybe I’m a wuss, but I’ve never felt like I gave birth the “easy way”. I do, however, feel like I have the right to feel cheated from your experience, including the pain. I wanted to feel it all. I would never have complained about it once. Please don’t act like I was lucky. This, right here, is how strongly women feel about their individual birth experiences. It’s not a contest. It’s a privilege. Just give each other a high-five and move on.
So there you go. my top 15. Until I post this and remember 10 more. Or, you share yours, and I can’t believe I missed it – This is most encouraged, by the way! I love hearing from you guys! I also feel like I should put a bit of a disclaimer on here. I, in no way, advocate everybody being so super waa,waa sensitive about EVERY FRICKIN THING that is said that we have to tip-toe our words. Get over it. But, it is never my intention to hurt people’s feelings,either. Or, say something that could make a bad day worse. Some of the things on this list are just plain stupid for the speaker to say, annoying, who cares, move on. But others can really hit a sore spot. Hopefully this will reach out to people who didn’t even realize their words could be hurting others. And hopefully, if nothing else, maybe a few of you were able to take a break from a hectic day and get lost, once again, in my chaotic mind. %-)
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