My last post, about Family Values and what makes a family, brought up another issue I've been thinking about writing a post about for a while: people you barely know asking if you are going to have a baby.
I read several blogs by people who have struggled/are struggling with fertility issues. And I have lots of friends who struggle with this. It's very painful for them to have to answer the question about having a baby.
My husband and I were very fortunate to NOT have to struggle with that. As soon as we decided to start trying to have a baby, I was pregnant (I had typed "we were pregnant, but corrected. The MAN isn't pregnant. WE might be expecting a baby, but the woman is the one who is impregnated. Why do we say "we are pregnant?" anyhow...)
But within a year of the May Queen's birth people were already dropping hints, or downright asking, when we were going to have another baby. Everyone from family to strangers at the grocery store. Things like "oh, she needs a baby brother or sister so she learns how to share."
Now that The May Queen has started kindergarten the comments have started afresh. "Oh, she's off to school, time to have another one!"
I know very few people who make the decision to have a child lightly. There are many factors that will lead a couple (or person) to decide to have a baby, and just as many factors that may physically make it difficult for that to happen. It is often the source of much tension within a couple - the stress of not getting pregnant, or the pressure to have a certain size family, or one partner wanting a child and the other not wanting a child, or the struggle over finances or the worry about daycare or age or health concerns or....
Whether or not someone is going to have a child is a very, very personal issue. It brings up a whole myriad of emotions, from one seemingly simple question or comment.
If a close friend asks me, in the course of a conversation, about whether or not we are thinking of having another child I will answer that question thoughtfully. If someone I barely know makes a comment, I usually just smile and laugh, or tell them that we are probably done. I know that most people who ask this or drop the hints mean well so I don't go into the whole tirade underneath. But you would think that people would have become aware enough, by now, that this is not a "nice weather, huh?" kind of conversation. It's personal, and if you're not a close friend, my decision to have a child or not is none of your business.