Giving birth is, for the most part, a private matter. While some moms are open to having family members (and even friends) present for the birth of their child, many others won’t allow more than medical staff and a partner in the room. After all, it’s hard to focus on anything other than the horrible pain in your loins in those hours. Once your baby is born, you probably just want to keep them close and forget everything else. That’s why it can be pretty annoying when people ask ridiculous questions just after announcing the birth.
When my own son was born, I was fortunately spared from many of the usual intrusive questions. This was mostly because he was rushed to the NICU and I wasn’t so much as answering texts or calls or taking any visitors. However, after a while I did start getting some of these types of questions. I chalked some of them up to plain, old fashioned ignorance (especially from folks who didn’t have children of their own). Others I just knew were downright rude and well, I didn’t always answer.
If you’re currently pregnant, you might want to glance this list over so you’re prepared for the barrage of seriously personal and mostly “none-of-your-beeswax” type questions folks will more than likely shoot your way.
"So, Did It Hurt?"
I know that not everyone goes for an unmedicated birth, but I’m pretty sure whenever anyone’s labor begins, you feel at least some pain. I remember asking my first mom friend how bad the pain was, only because I was terrified how it would be for me. She said it was just fine, but I’m pretty sure she was just lying because childbirth is exactly as Lorelai Gilmore describes it: akin to doing the splits on a crate of dynamite.
"Are You Breastfeeding Exclusively?"
Oh, I didn’t know you were so interested in what I’ll be doing with my boobs for the next few months! No, but seriously: I hated this question each and every time, because I knew some form of judgement would often come behind it. The only person who needs to know about this is my baby because that’s who I’m feeding.
"Did You Have A Natural Birth?"
I’m guilty of having used this phrase for a while, before I knew much about how diverse the parenting experience truly is. I know sometimes folks are curious about whether you had a vaginal delivery, opted for pain meds, had a c-section, but maybe wait a little while before asking. Or, you know, wait for your friend to volunteer the info.
"When Can I Come See The Baby?"
If I just announced my baby’s birth, I’m going to say at least six months from now. For real, though. Sure, some parents are totally welcoming of getting 2,348 guests to their hospital suite. But others, like myself, are more concerned with the amount of germs those 2,348 guests will bring to my baby whose immune system sucks for the first few months.
"Will Your Circumcise Them? (If They Have A Penis)"
Another totally invasive question. Do you randomly walk up to people and ask them if they have a circumcised penis? No? Then why do we ask parents about this?
"You’re Not Giving Them A Pacifier, Are You?"
The friend(s) who ask about breastfeeding will probably ask them about pacifier use. See, many people will tell you that giving a baby a pacifier will cause nipple confusion and then they won’t nurse. But you know what? My baby had a pacifier and nursed beautifully. So, you know, don’t ask.
"Are You Happy It Turned Out To Be A (Insert Sex/Gender Here)?"
Is my baby healthy? Are they thriving? Yes? OK, that’s all that matters. While I know there are sometimes somewhat valid (but still totally misguided) reasons for having gender disappointment, once your baby is born, any of that nonsense should go right out the window.
"Are You Going To Turn Into A Stay-At-Home Mom Now?"
Depending on the phrasing used, this could mean different things. Some folks will expect you to be stay-at-home moms and will say, “Of course you’re going to stay home with the baby, right?” Ones who are afraid you’ll ruin your career will spin this as, “But you’re going to work again eventually, right?” Honestly, none of your business.
"You’re Not Going Back To Work Too Soon, Are You?"
Related to the above, some will worry that you’ll cut your maternity leave short. They’ll give you a concerned look and try to nudge you into saying you’ll be taking the full three months (or longer). But really, you don’t need to answer this.
"You’re Not Going To Feed Them Pre-Made Baby Food, Right?"
Hmm, so you’re going to come cook for me and my family daily, right? Because that’s the only reason you should be asking this. Yes, I had lofty dreams of eventually making my son all organic purees and such. And then I had a sick baby and birth injuries and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and realized my sanity was more important than making perfect meals all the time.
"Did You End Up With Lots Of Stretch Marks?"
Also not anyone’s business. But for some reason folks love to ask about your postpartum body. To them I say, wait until you have one. And if they’re set on being child-free, then I can simply say, “Then it’s not really relevant to you, is it?”