Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Just Don't Discuss It!

One of the issues that plagued me when I first started blogging, besides my spelling, was that I never had anything to write about. Looking at my last couple of posts, it is possible that I might still be grasping for some ideas. Regardless, now that I am somewhat "seasoned" at writing about nothing, I have noticed that I am taking a closer look at everything around me, if for no other reason, to give myself blog fodder. In a way, this is a good thing, because life isn't just passing me by without notice, but on the other hand, I'm hanging on to things that I would have otherwise forgotten about, and then gone on about my merry business. It sounds kind of simple, but I just don't tend to dwell on things, especially things that invoke negative emotions. So now that I'm a blogger, I find myself analyzing any instance where I experience even a minute amount of emotional rise. I had such a moment yesterday, and although it was really just a blip in my day, I'm now stuck thinking about a discussion I had with a relative about having more children.

A while back, I read a post (that I can't locate right now or else I'd link to it) about the inappropriateness of asking someone about his or her plans to have a child or a second child. It is an inappropriate question for a multitude of reasons, but from my perspective, it is inappropriate because there is a lack of consideration for those who have fertility issues. This is not a light topic. It can be a very painful topic for those who have been trying and who have been unsuccessful. Before conceiving Pumpkin, I always had a fear that I wouldn't be able to get pregnant due to some complications that I had when I was younger. To cope with this fear, my husband and I typically told people that we were either going to have one, two, or none. People didn't like that, especially the one or none options. I know people generally mean well when they give me a nudge and inquire about giving Pumpkin a sibling. I know that some people just don't know what to say, yet the need to speak overrides having nothing to say, so they go with whatever comes to mind. I know that people who say to me, "You CAN'T have just ONE!", also mean well, although they do in fact need a kick in the head. Irrespective of people's intentions, it is still not acceptable to ask about such personal matters. I still have residual fear, and even though I have managed to create one beautiful child, I don't feel confident that I can simply have another just because I want one. This brings me to the discussion I had with my relative yesterday.

The conversation was about Pumpkin, and how big she is getting, which of course led to this relative announcing to me that it was time to have another one. I tensed up, took a deep breath, and said what I could to make her feel uncomfortable for having suggested it. "Well, it would be nice to have another, but it isn't entirely up to just Hubby and me. Medical factors are at play, if you recall.", I said in a somewhat patronizing tone.

"Oh yeah, that's right.", was the reply. "You know, you do have a beautiful daughter already, and I guess if she is the only child you ever have, she will be more than enough."

This was the only time I have ever had anyone condone the possibility of my having one child. I also agree that if Pumpkin ends up being the only child I ever have, I am still blessed. That aside I was still pissed off at this relative for saying so. She doesn't know where I stand on my need for a second child. What if I have been consumed with the thought of a second child since the first one was born? I haven't been, but this relative doesn't know that. It was then that I discovered that as inappropriate as it is to ask me if I plan on having more children, it is also inappropriate to suggest that I should be content with just one (or more as it may be for some). This is an emotional issue, so even if intellectually I am aware that I already have an amazing child, it does not change the emotional anguish I would experience if I wanted more yet could not have them. Bottom line: Steer clear of this topic with me. It's just too personal. I'm sure I'm not alone.


motherbumper said...

Oh you are far from alone and it's a sensitive topic that many folks feel isn't. I brace myself everytime I feel the topic is going to be raised and it makes me even more bitchy when I know it's coming. Most of the time I can deal, I can handle the subject with grace (with gritted teeth) but sometimes I lose it - the fact that people assume that it's our reluctance that prevents another child - not physical or other reasons that always blows my mind.

Kellan said...

I don't know really why people feel the need to inspect other people's lives so much. Everyone has an opinion and seldom do they even ask for all the appropriate information before offering said opinion. Good post - have a good day. See ya.

nomotherearth said...

I do think it's inappropriate to ask that question if the person is going to pass judgment on you for whatever answer you give.

I'll ask a close friend that - simply out of curiosity - I don't care what the answer is. And, it's usually when we're already on the topic.

Either way, it's a sensitive issue, so I prefer to avoid it altogether unless I know the person really well.

Anonymous said...

I can you definitely I'm not having anymore:)

MLL said...

You are definitely not alone and it is an incredibly rude and intrusive topic!
I experienced similar questions/inquiries on the opposite end of the spectrum. I had 4 children.....after the first 2 we were asked if they were "mistakes", "are you DONE now?" and the most irritating (we had 4 girls)...."Are you going to keep trying for a boy?" and
"So, is your husband disappointed not to get a son?" in addition to other variations which implied that both of us, but particularly him, should be less than happy to have yet another baby girl.

Found your blog on Nablopomo...thanks for the thought-provoking post!


Gabriella said...

You are definetly not alone! Just this evening as I was out trick or treating with my daughter I got asked/told that "it's time to start on the next one"!!!!

Nora Bee said...

Hear, hear! It is very hard to imagine any good coming from this discussion. Congrats on coming up with a good reply. We certainly can't all just "have" another one! And then if you have "too many" people comment on that too....

Naomi (Urban Mummy) said...

Good for you for responding so frankly and honestly. And good for your relative that they responded appropriately.

I have asked people that I know, but I'm respectful, because I know there can be other issues at play. (We tried for several years before we had the Happy Boy, so I do get it, to a point anyway).

Before we had kids, we got comments a lot (I'm an "older mom") so I know how it feels.

b*babbler said...

I second this post!

Now that Peanut is one year old it feels like the floodgates have opened and people feel free to ask away. It's been really bothering and frustrating me. Some people just can not seem to accept the possibility that we might just choose to only have one baby. Gah!