It was just your average Tuesday. Just your average Facebook chat with an old friend (specifically, a dude I dated back in high school who I hadn't seen in forever). Just your average so-what's-new-where-are-you-
Now, I've written before about my request for folk to stay up and out of my uterus, but it seems the lesson bears repeating. I've continued to deal with overly excited family members and well-meaning but overly inquisitive friends, but never thought I'd have to deal with an overbearing and downright disrespectful puppy love ex who didn't know how to stay in his lane.
After being asked if I had any kids yet, and replying that I didn't, and fielding questions about why not, and explaining it'll happen when the time is right - I was mentally exhausted. Usually people end by tossing up an unsolicited reminder: "Well, don't wait too long!" or get the hint and move on to the next topic. But no, not this dude.
The next morning, I received another Facebook message that read "Good morning, my future mommy friend!"
Me: "Lol. Do you know something I don't?"
Him: "Haha. I just know it'll happen soon."
Me: "I see...well, when there's something to share, I'll let you know. But it's a bit of a sensitive topic, so let's move on, shall we?"
Him: "Why is it sensitive?"
Me: "...because it is."
Him: "Why? Is it because you really want a baby and don't have one yet? Or is it because you just turned 30? Or do you have health problems? Or is something wrong with your husband?"
While I picked up my jaw off the floor at his audacity to continue to push the topic, I noticed the screen read "____________ is typing" - and I knew I should have just logged off right then and there.
What followed was an offer.
An offer to be my "Plan B."
An offer to impregnate me if my "Plan A" didn't work out.
I won't write my response here.
Insane Facebook conversations aside, the question remains: Why are people so extremely concerned with the contents (or lack thereof) of a woman's uterus?
Let me preface with this: I know that 99.9% of the time, questions about my family plans are backed by nothing but good intentions, and I get it. Friends are excited to cuddle and spoil a brand new chocolate drop. Family members want to see which genes HomieLoverFriend and I donate to the next generation. And if I do say so myself, we're two pretty dope individuals - so who wouldn't want to see what kind of amazing creation we could come up with? I get it. I'm excited too. I want to see it all unfold. And that's the point - people never realize that their anticipation pales drastically in comparison to that of the two people who are waiting for the same thing. Your urgency, anticipation, prodding, and reminders do not help.
I'll be 100% honest. There was a day recently where I was SURE I was pregnant. I had (foolishly) played Google Doctor and read about early pregnancy symptoms, and suddenly I felt them all. I remember patting my bloated belly, imagining something no bigger than the dot on top of an i burrowing its way into me, and I couldn't help but smile. Part of my brain said "Too soon! Don't do it! Reconsider!" like Andre 3000, but the other part relished in its "women's intuition" that just KNEW something was different. The day I ended up getting my period, I got caught up in a conversation about babies/when I was having some/why it was taking so long - I laughed and played coy and cliche on the outside, but each comment was like a tiny stab to the gut. Now I'm left with wounds that pretend to heal but reopen on a monthly basis.
My personal experiences have showed me just how sensitive of a topic this can be. Many assumptions are made when engaging women in discussion about their baby plans, but mindfulness is missing. Some women are aware that they cannot conceive or carry a baby to term. Some women have partners with fertility issues. Some women are navigating non-traditional families and relationships. Some women are anxiously hoping that their periods don't come next week. Some women may have just lost a baby last week. Some women *gasp* don't even want to have children. Regardless of circumstance, no woman should feel obligated to disclose the minutiae of her fertility plans/problems/wishes.
I understand human nature, and I often don't mind a question or check in at times from family or friends. What I do mind, detest, and resent are habitual line-steppers who are pushy, rude, selfish, and/or nosy in their conversation. There is a very short list of people who are allowed to be inquisitive about the subject. If you're in doubt, just opt out.
Today I've got one less friend on Facebook, but I'm OK with that. If this post encourages one more person to think before they offer some unsolicited advice or ask a prying question, I'll live on happily. Go forth and prosper...and wait until you get that text/call/Facebook update that there's about to be a +1. Also - keep in mind that the pushier you are, the more likely you'll be called on for babysitting help later on down the line. I've got a list of folks who will see me and my bundle of joy at their doorstep, talkin' 'bout "Well, you were so excited for his/her arrival, I didn't think you'd mind!" Be warned.
How do you field unwanted questions and advice about your pregnancy plans? What's the craziest thing anyone has ever said to you about having a baby?