Why is my family not big enough for you?

This wasn’t the post I was planning to write today but this morning I finally got round to reading Jennifer Aniston’s ‘For the Record’ blog for Huffington Post about the constant rumours surrounding  the fullness of her womb. This led to me reading another article about the societal pressure women are often under to get married and start a family, and then another article and then another. Then I got mad. I got mad that women still needed to justify their choices – lifestyle, relationship, family, whatever – over and over again. I got so mad I ate a Nobbly Bobbly ice lolly at 8.30am. I was livid.

But it did get me thinking about how even once you are married (or securely coupled) with a child, people still don’t seem to be happy. It got me thinking about the time someone asked, when the Child was 6 days old,  when we’d have another one, of the community midwife whose last words to me were that she’d see me in 18 months when  I was pregnant again, of the colleagues who, on my first day at a new job, thought it was perfectly acceptable to enquire if, when and how many more children I was going to have, of the friends who have two sons so are constantly asked when they’re going to try for a girl and it got me thinking about all the well-meaning strangers who, after asking how old the Child is, feel the need to tell me to get my skates on with the next one before it’s too late because no one wants to be an only child.

Failed Selfie
With family photos this good why would I want to add another child?

So, instead of finishing the post I had planned (which will be fricking hilarious and published sometime this week) I’ve decided to put my Nobbly Bobbly infused rage to use and have come up with 10 reasons why it is absolutely never ever ok to ask a mother when she plans to have another child.

1. You’re a stranger. Literally. And if you’re more than a stranger, unless you’re comfortable asking your friend/ colleague/ relative/ bus driver when she plans to have  repeated unprotected sexual intercourse at a very specific point in her menstrual cycle then you shouldn’t be comfortable asking her when she’s having another child.

2. Maybe she desperately wants another one and has been trying since her first child was 6 months/ 6 days/ 6 hours old but it’s just not happening. Maybe it took her 8 years to conceive last time and it’s taking just as long now or maybe she was pregnant until last week and your question is just making her womb and heart feel even emptier.

3. You’re not asking her boyfriend/ husband/ partner the same question.

4. She doesn’t want one. Perhaps she’d always planned to have a big family but after her child shat in the toddler pool she decided one was enough thank you very much. Or maybe, just maybe she only ever wanted one child and that is absolutely her prerogative.

5. She can’t afford another one. Or she could afford it but she wouldn’t be able to go on holiday or renovate her house or buy a big ass bottle of Bombay Sapphire on whim. And if you think that’s selfish well no one actually asked you, so why don’t you just go ahead and get over yourself (and buy some Bombay Sapphire, seriously try it with Fever Tree tonic and you’ll understand what I’m talking about).

6. Perhaps she struggled after her child was born to come to terms with how her life was now controlled by this vomiting bundle of tiny limbs. Perhaps she’s just getting back on an even keel again and wants to make sure she is mentally resilient enough to cope with another baby. Perhaps she’s accepted she never will and it’s better for everyone she focuses on the child she has.

7. She does want another child but her partner doesn’t or vice versa. Maybe this is an extra source of tension in an already fraught relationship. Maybe their relationship has only just recovered from the birth of the last child or it never will. I’d say getting that situation sorted is a little more important that achieving the magical 2-year sibling age gap.

8. She doesn’t actually enjoy being a mum all that much. Of course she loves her child but actually she finds the day-to-day motherhood thing boring and monotonous and hates the fact her backyard is filled with scooters and rainbow-coloured plastic crap. She didn’t think she would feel like this but she does.

9. She’s got other things she wants to do first. She wants to try out a new career, or focus more on her current one or set up a business or sell homemade novelty jewellery at weekend craft markets. Whatever it is, she wants to focus on herself for a little while and carve out an identity that is separate from that of Mum. Do you really have a problem with that?

10. Finally, and this one really is the most important one – it’s not actually any of your goddamn business. If you’re looking for small talk ask her about Game of Thrones or comment on the weather. In fact there are a bejillion other topics you should try first before questioning whether she’ll be pushing another human out of her vagina any time soon.

 

Cuddle Fairy
Dear Bear and Beany
DomesticatedMomster
You Baby Me Mummy
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Petite Pudding
Mouse Moo and Me Too

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43 Comments

  1. I love dem lollies. I do enjoy a twister but they’ve shrunk dramatically since I was a small. Anyway – this post is (as always) superb – I agree with all points but particularly the one about maybe, just maybe, the couple had enough trouble conceiving the first one and that’s kind of enough? If you do have a second bubba (so! When are you…? I jest) you must do a similar post about analysing the age gap. You can’t do right for doing wrong, I tell you.

  2. I love this!! I am constantly being asked: “When will you have another?”, “So, are you ready to do it all again?” Or being told, “It’s time for A to have a sibling!” It really drives me crazy. It’s not anyone’s business.

  3. min1980

    Absolutely agreed with all of these! Luckily, as a single parent of an only child, most people realise that this is probably not a sensible question to ask me, but I did have one relative who questioned why I was getting rid of baby stuff as surely I wanted to keep it for the next one. Hmmm…#chucklemums

  4. Brilliant list! No one had time to ask me, so I never got this, but I did have a few “well meaning” idiots ask about the lack of children when we were married, trying and nothing happening. People say anything to fill the silence. I can sense I’m rambling… #chucklemums

  5. I just don’t understand why people feel the need to say it. I know a few friends who tried so hard to have children or second children and comments like these are so insensitive. Great post, thanks for sharing!

  6. Oh the joys of Bombay Sapphire and Fever Tree tonic. Many a problem they have fixed. I once tried to explain to someone that I only wanted one child, I was happy with my lot with not the faintest desire to add to the family, just to be told I was wrong and would change my mind as I would see how cruel it was to have an only child. WTAF. I have never once asked the same of someone else, it’s so personal. #BloggerClubUK

  7. My mummy could have written this post herself!!! We are a family of 3 and quite happy that way, however feel that we have to justify ALL THE TIME that we’re not having a second child 🙁 oh well xx great post #Sharingthebloglove xx

  8. I’m always amazed that people you don’t know well can ask these questions! As soon as you get married it starts, and then once you’ve had your first it’s all about having another one. But god forbid you have more than two, that also requires commenting on! I’m happy to discuss this with my close friends, because, you know, they actually have a genuine interest, but strangers in a shop can mind their own business for all of the reasons you’ve given! Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

  9. I wrote a post similar to this as it just amazes me what people think is acceptable to ask people. It is constant and even now when I am very open that our family is complete with my 2 girls, I still get people ask me about trying for a boy. it makes me mad that people have to answer these questions! Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove Laura x

  10. I’m always surprised how nosey people can be about this. We have 2 kids and people still want to know if we’ll be having another. To be honest, even I don’t know the answer to that question yet but even if I did, it’s none of your business! (but of course I’m never brave enough to say that!). #PuddingLove

  11. Brilliant! I couldn’t agree more! I’m so glad you had your nobbly bobbly rage so you could write such a fantastic post! Why people think they can pass comment on everyone else’s lives boils my blood! #puddinglove

  12. alanamander

    What a great post, totally agree with every point, but especially no.2. Over the course of 9 years I had 8 pregnancies but only have two children with a 5 yr age gap and I was constantly asked on a regular basis when we would start a family and when we would have another and every time it was like someone twisting the knife, on more than one occasion it happened while I was dealing with a miscarriage or was in the early weeks of what I hoped wouldn’t be another one. I’ve now been advised on medical grounds not to have any more when we always dreamed of a big family, and people still ask if/when we’ll have another. When I’m asked now I tell them the truth, not so much to watch them squirm because I’m sure they don’t mean any harm, but maybe it will make them think twice before they ask someone else that question again.

  13. Have to admit that these questions have never actually bothered me, but they do seem to upset a lot of people, so I agree that it is probably better not to ask them. &, strangely, while it doesn’t bother me if people ask me, I actually don’t tend to ask others these questions in case they are too personal!

    Thanks so much for linking up with #FridayFrolics. Hope to see you next time!

  14. Loved this, we have just recently had our second son and I keep getting asked will we have another. I would but Hubby won’t incase we end up with three boys! Everytime I get asked it frustrates me more! #Sharingthebloglove

  15. sparklymummy

    As a mummy of 3 daughters (please send gin and lots of it !!!) I am always being asked if I was disappointed that I had ‘yet another girl’ my standard answer is no not really boys are smelly and they wee on you when you change them and I know what I’m doing when it comes to pink babies ! I get asked if I think I’ll have anymore – get TOLD that 3 is more than enough and have even had complete strangers comment on how alike my girls look for half siblings – excuse me ? Just because I have large age gaps doesn’t mean they have different dads, I’ve been with their dad since I was 17 oh and while we are talking about my relationship no we aren’t planning on getting married anytime soon! Sorry rant over #puddinglove

  16. Brilliant post! Even with two beautiful children people still enquire whether I will be having any more – yet I find myself craving more me time and less child time! Seriously though is it possible just for everyone just to keep their well intentioned enquiries about my pro-creation objectives to themselves. Thanks for linking to #PuddingLove (apologies for the late comments)

  17. I was married before this marriage and from the moment we said I DO it was like the commonly asked question of “when are you having babies”. Even after I was told I needed fertility drugs and decided against them then it became a “why not?” Like somehow having a child is the only way to define a female as being a woman. Eventually that marriage ended and luckily there were no children involved. Fast forward 6 years, another failed relationship with no kids and then boom I meet my current husband and we are knocked up within 5 months of meeting each other. It was like the clouds had opened up and a pour of rain came down at how happy everyone was…excited…couldn’t wait to see the little bugger. Now where are all those people? Nowhere. Not sure where I am going with this but yes I agree…it’s no one’s damn business when a woman is going to decide to have a baby or if ever. Thank you so much for linking with #momsterslink.

  18. I do agree with much of this as I have found myself getting annoyed when people ask – when are you having kids – and then when you have one – when are you having another and so on and on. But then I thought, perhaps they are just genuinely curious or simply asking what seems like a reasonable question. Maybe they aren’t nagging or prying or judging and are simply being human. So i’ve decided to relax about it and give an honest answer. No we’re done. And if they ask why I’ll answer that honestly too. I do think there are people who ask in a judging or nosey manner. But i think they are probably in the minority!

    • I think curiosity is fine but you don’t know people’s situations so what seems like an innocent question can actually cause a lot of unseen heartache. I’ve also experienced a lot of judgement when I have answered the question about it not being fair to just have one child/ too big an age gap/ too small an age gap etc. There’s also the assumption that everyone should have kids – I’ve got friends who don’t want kids but people don’t believe them when they say it and end up defending their life choices. Sometimes ignoring your own curiosity (about people you don’t know or barely know) is best.

  19. 👏🏼🙌🏼 Well said. I never ask. It’s none of my business and I don’t always know the full story. I also steer clear of asking anyone if they’ll marry or have babies and even if they look a bit preggers I’ll never reference it unless they bring it up.

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