Announcing your pregnancy to family and close friends is truly exciting.
Though the pregnancy isn’t official until it’s announced on Facebook, you aren’t officially pregnant until each member of your friend’s list is in on the secret.
All kidding aside, in our social networking-fueled world, unleashing big news on your page is pretty darn important.
So when I was finally able to share the joy via the web, I was more than pleased to pore over all of the congratulatory responses and well wishes.
Many of these comments came from friends who are married, also in their late 20s and childless.
I thought about how most newly sperminated women would respond to their comments with, “Thanks! So when will you two be starting a family?” or the even more obnoxious, “You’re next!”
Perhaps I’m overly sensitive about the subject. But if my husband and I’d had our way, we would have started a family years ago.
Having a baby was certainly more important to me than planning a wedding. And though, ultimately, we did have the wedding, when it came time to talk babies, things like money and jobs stood in the way.
Soon after we were married, the baby interrogations began, and I quickly became hostile about the subject.
I wanted to be a mother more than anything in the world, so while my response was typically something polite like, “You’ll be first to know!” what I really wanted to say was, “Perhaps if you could do something about the failing economy, or set my husband on some sort of fast track to graduation, we could get busy on the baby-making front.”
Later, after suffering a miscarriage, the questions become truly intolerable. “Soon, we hope,” accompanied by a fake smile, was all I could offer without crying.
So thinking about all of this when faced with the tiny avatars featuring my childless, married friends, I simply thanked them for their kind words and moved on. Sure, I felt bad that I had nothing else to offer in return, but I knew I could be doing them a huge kindness by refraining from an inquisition into their sex lives.
Because essentially, that’s what you’re doing when you push the baby issue on a couple.
You’re prying into their private world and poking in on their should we or shouldn’t we? are we ready? do we even want children? conversations.
These are issues and questions that are not typically hashed out among Grandma and Grandpa at Thanksgiving dinner.
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Throw in infertility or pregnancy loss, and your seemingly harmless question could really be making people miserable.
So while we’re adding new politically correct terms and Happy Holidays to our list of things you should or should not say in an effort to avoid insulting people, I vote to include “When are the babies coming?”
Brooke Dowd Sacco is a freelance writer who writes about family and relationship topics.