Once you've had a baby, people seem to think they can say whatever they want. Actually, that's true through all stages — from pregnancy to your child's adult years — but it's harder to hear just after you've gone through hell to deliver your baby. There's a lot to take in, good advice and the weird comments to sort through, and a boatload of adjustments to be made. Which is why the creepy things people said to my partner after we announced we had a son were completely unnecessary and for a variety of reasons.
Let's be clear: a lot of comments and questions we fielded were typically directed at my partner, even though I was standing right there, baby boy in my arms. Can someone please explain this phenomenon to me? I did all the work. And, as the exhausted, healing from childbirth, hormonal person in this situation, I'm was not interested in anyone's thoughts that ended up reflecting their sexist or ignorant point-of-view. Truly, a lot of what was said was the epitome of creepiness and, yeah, just not OK.
I get that, after a baby is born, some are desperate to form a camaraderie with the parents, and I'm all for a light-hearted joke for the sake of celebrating our bundle of joy. But, when some of these attempts are made at my expense, our daughter's, my son's, or my relationship with my partner, I have to draw the line. Some things aren't funny and border on the fringe of inappropriate. Here are some things people said to my partner after we had our son, that I'd rather forget.
"I Knew You Could Do It"
I've never been a fan of people who want to discuss or celebrate a very private interaction between my partner and I, especially when the praise is has to deal with us having a boy. As in, they're proud of my partner for creating a boy. Where was the same praise after our daughter was born? Keep your creepy praise to your self.
"You're Done Now, Right?"
My partner and I had a 5-year-old daughter when our son entered the world. As a result, people were quick to pull my partner aside and condescendingly ask, "No more kids, right?" It was as if having one boy and one girl meant we fit everyone else's standards of what our family should look like, so there was no reason to have another child.
And now that I think about it, these judgments started when I was pregnant. And if I really think about it, probably long before that pregnancy test turned positive. People were always talking about "life with two children," as if that should be our ultimate goal. So the suggestion that we should stop while ahead is rude and, frankly, out of line. No one has a say in our family planning besides, you guessed it, us.
"Better Teach Him To Fight For His Sister Early"
Nope. My partner and I are doing our best to raise a girl who can fight her own damn battles, and a boy who respects that his sister is her own, unique person. There's no played-out, sexist savior trope in this house. We're more like Wonder Woman, Rosie the Riveter believers, so get on with yourself.
"He's Going To Be A Miniature Version Of You"
Actually, he's going to be himself. I hope he grows to be strong, sensitive, compassionate, and kind, but as his parents can only do so much. The same goes for our daughter. My partner's presence will influence my son, sure, but our son will be his own person with his own likes and dislikes, and we wouldn't want it any other way.
"Get That Boy Circumsized"
I don't think it's anyone's place to ask about, suggest, or inquire about your infant's body parts. That goes double in regards to what you choose to do in regards to your infant boy's body. It can be a personal decision, a religious choice, or a no-brainer. Either way, it's no one's business.
"Make Sure He's Yours Before You Get Attached"
Nothing makes me rage harder than catching someone saying this to a new dad, as if paternity is a joke. Being the subject of paternity uncertainty myself, I don't find comments or inquiries like this appropriate. If anything, they're damaging to the child's self-esteem and an absurd thing to say to two happy parents in a loving, committed relationship. If you're even thinking of asking my partner if our son is his, let me stop you right there. Mind your business.
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