I said in a joking way, "What's the matter with you? I just HAD a baby! Are YOU pregnant again?" Her youngest child is a couple years old. It's about time to for her to have another baby, don't you think?
She just laughed. I did, too. But, inside, I was a little or a lot more irritated than I let on.
Are you pregnant again?
Are you having another one?
When are you have another one?
Do you want more kids?
How does Gana feel about having more kids?
Was this one planned?
To all this, I have to restrain myself from saying, "None of your d*** business!"
I'm not talking about someone who is a close friend and with whom I am having a real conversation. I don't mind that at all. I have opinions about large families and birth control and the role of family in society. But, people in the grocery store? Casual acquaintances I pass in church? People who really have no business asking about what happens in my bedroom?
But, it gets worse. People sometimes go as far as to make jokes about our breeding practices, telling us that there are other ways to amuse ourselves, that we should get a TV, that I (or Gana) should learn to say "no" sometimes. Sometimes people feel free to dictate what we should do.
It's time to stop, don't you think?
When will it be enough? Enough already!
Don't have anymore kids. Stop already.
There's no sin in birth control, you know?
When are you getting fixed?
Seriously, folks? That's none of your d*** business. It's just plain RUDE. Being the brunt of crass jokes is not amusing--especially when it's in front of the children!
We love to go out. But, these sorts of comments and judgments rob the joy of doing so. Some large families would much rather order in than eat out because people go as far as to try to take pictures of them. We are not a reality TV show. I have had to literally put myself between my children and people with smart phones. I have had to say, "Please do not take pictures of my children."
Are you incredulous? Do you think I'm making this up? I assure you, I am not. People these days have absolutely no sense of propriety. There are some things that you don't say. There are some questions you don't ask of strangers or those with whom you do not share an intimate acquaintance.
How am I to respond to these things? My Mama raised me not to be rude. So I usually just smile or give a courtesy laugh. But, it's not funny. It really isn't. And I reproach myself, "If you don't speak up people will never learn. You need to say something." But, what? Maybe I need to perfect that perfect silence and the look that says, "You've crossed a line." The trouble is that subtlety is probably wasted on people who are clueless enough to say these kinds of things.
So, I am pouring my heart out here in hopes that maybe the word will spread:
1. When you encounter a mother with a new baby or someone with a large family it is impolite to make sport of them. They do not exist for your amusement.
2. Learn to make better small talk. Her reproductive capabilities and preferences are not proper subjects while waiting in line for your groceries. If you can think of nothing else restrict your comments to the weather. Or you could always compliment how young she looks. No one minds that.
3.Never ask a question you would never want asked of you. Never make a joke that you yourself would not like to be the brunt of.
4.Never make judgments about the merit of having or not having children in front of said children. Way to give a child a complex.
5. While we're at it, if you encounter a couple with no kids, don't ask when they are going to start their family. First of all, a married couple IS a family. And secondly, you don't know what kind of pain you are causing. Maybe they greatly desire children and it hasn't happened for them.
6.And finally, if you have to ask "Are you pregnant?" because you really cannot tell for sure, you'd be better off not asking.
Now, commit these rules to memory. All the young mothers and mothers of large families will thank you.