Feeling Pressured To Have Another Baby? Here Are 14 Ways To Respond
From the time we're little, us women are bombarded by other people's opinions about our bodies and what we should and shouldn't be doing with them. And for many of us, once we enter adulthood the pressure to have children, even after we've already had one (or more), becomes a bizarre, misplaced preoccupation for the people around us — pushy relatives, insistent friends, and random weirdos alike. Well, world: we're over it. So if you're feeling pressured to have another baby, please know that you don't have to take it sitting down.
When I found out I was pregnant with my first, I thought, "Awesome. Great. Not only am I excited to have a kid, but now I never have to deal with another person asking me when I'm going to have a baby ever again." Then I gave birth, and what felt like .5 seconds later starting hearing, "So when are you going to give him a little brother or sister?!"
What?! Are you kidding me?! Seriously?! My caesarean scar is still numb, you monsters!
My second kid is now 5, I'm almost in my late-30s, and I still, from time to time, have someone ask me, "Wouldn't you love another one?!" Hell no I wouldn't. I feel like I'm probably luckier than a lot of people, too, because I have a boy and a girl. I know from fellow moms of just boys or just girls that the pressure to finally have whatever they are perceived to lack can be as intense as it is obnoxious.
No one is entitled to an opinion about your reproductive choices. (The person you're making them with may express an opinion, but their petition is not a vote.) So here's how you can let them know that:
Some people hold back on answer this very personal question because they don't want to make the other person uncomfortable. The irony there is as astounding as it is frustrating.
So I say, if you're OK with it, go ahead and answer and don't worry about the feelings of someone who didn't consider yours before bringing up the subject.
"I don't want anymore children."
"I'd love to, but my care providers have cautioned me against it."
"We decided to stop trying because I couldn't take another miscarriage."
You are, of course, under no obligation to deal with someone else's rudeness by sharing your personal medical history — no one is owed your story. At the same time, when it comes to this matter you don't owe anyone their comfort over yours.
This is especially fun if the person you're talking to is a cis-man or post-menopausal — two groups, I find, are weirdly interested in this question. If they are, in fact, capable of a child-bearing disposition then it's a nice way to flip this question on its head to let them see how rude it is.
"I'm At My Limit Of Caring For Early-Stage Humans"
This is my go-to and it's true. Other people have other limits. Good for them. I know my happy place, kid-wise, and I'm there, my dudes.
You can also change this to a more general, "I'm at my limit of carrying for small creatures that need me to keep them alive," which is the line I use when people try to pressure me into getting a dog, which happens weirdly a lot.
"Because, like, we have no idea where the other ones came from. One day, I was just pregnant!" At this point you can whip out a notepad and stare at them intensely and expectantly. "Please explain to me where babies come from and let me know what I have to do to get one."
Do not break character if they laugh. Just keep staring until they get uncomfortable and move on.
"I Was Just Going To Trade In This One Once The Lease Is Up"
Yeah, this kid is cute, but it's lost that new baby smell. And I just don't love committing to one baby for the next 18 years, you know? I like to be able to know there's an end in sight and not feel saddled with one kid forever.
"Why? You Think I Should Go For A Record?"
Act like you're getting all excited about competitive birthing. Start making diss tracks smack-talking the Duggars. "19 kids and counting, huh? Psssh! I sneeze 19 kids! This vagina is like a clown car: they just keep on rollin' on out."
"Do *You* Want To Push It Out?"
Because my last kid was 9 pounds, but if you want to go for it, by all means.
"Are You Offering To Financially Sponsor This Endeavor?"
Start writing up contracts and ask if they want to donate in one lump sum or have some sort of payment plan in mind. Tell them their branding options: perhaps the baby can be named after them, or have the sponsor's company logo emblazoned on all of their onesies for the first year or so. The baby's room can be "The [Sponsor Name Here] Nursery." All birthday parties can be branded "[Sponsor Name Here] Proudly Presents Baby's First Birthday."
"You Have Mistaken My Uterus For A Democracy"
It is not. One uterus (mine) one vote (also mine). This is a Ute-topian Dictatorship, and you're looking at the Glorious Leader.
"You Want Me To Support *Another* Freeloader?"
"Ugh! My first kid hasn't even gotten a job yet. He just sits there. I don't think he's filled out a single application. Not even for, like, a temp gig or a part-time job to tide him over until he can find something better. It's tremendously frustrating."
"The World Couldn't Handle That Much Cute"
This is a nice way to skirt the discussion: just talk about how absolutely adorable your current child and/or children are. "It just wouldn't be fair to everyone else to such intense levels of cuteness into the world. They'd be too distracted to get any work done and, like, I feel like we're just really coming back from the recession. I wouldn't want to plunge the world into chaos again."
"I'm Good With The One(s) I Have"
It's great way of basically politely telling someone to back off. Reassure them that you're perfectly happy with what you've got going on and that they need not interfere with their ideas of what would make you happiest. You know what you're about and you do not need anyone to guide you through this decision.
"This Is None Of Your Damn Business"
It's a great way to less politely tell someone to back off, and is a wonderful back up if they didn't take the hint the first 100 or so times.
Cackle Maniacally At Increasing Volume
Say nothing at all. Just go full-on Disney villain until they get freaked out and back away.