I’m 26 weeks pregnant with my first baby, which means that I frequently answer a lot of curious questions from friends, family members, and total strangers. I can almost anticipate the questions ahead of time: When are you due? Do you know what you’re having? Have you picked out a name? Despite the fact that sometimes I’m tempted to respond with “a baby” to question number two (I'm having a girl, FYI), I usually don’t mind answering those common inquiries. But lately I’ve found myself fielding more questions about when I'm going to have another kid, instead of questions about the kid I’m actually carrying inside my belly right now. And TBH, it’s starting to get on my nerves, so please stop asking me when I'm going to have another baby.
A few weeks ago, I was at a gathering with many family members, some of whom I hadn’t seen in a long time. Naturally, they wanted to talk about my pregnancy, and I was happy to oblige them with details about the nursery or how I’ve been feeling. But by the end of the weekend, I was sick of hearing the same question, over and over again: “So when do you think you’ll have another?”
I’m sure people mean well when they ask this, but it’s an irritating question for a few reasons. To start, I haven’t even given birth to one kid yet, so I really don’t have the mental bandwidth to even begin thinking about having a second or third. For me, pregnancy has been extremely emotionally and physically taxing, and I’m exhausted just imagining the process of doing this again.
On a logistical note, kids are freakin’ expensive. When I hear the word "college," my feet are already starting to sweat, and I won't even have to seriously think about saving up for school until 18 years from now. And while my husband and I both work and make enough money to support our growing family, we also live in one of the most expensive cities in the country. It’s not ludicrous to be concerned about money when considering if we'll have another child.
From our early days of dating, my husband and I have been on the same page about how many children we want, and we’ve agreed that one seems right for us. And while we’ve left the door open to have more, we’re both fairly certain that our feelings on this subject won’t change. But when I tell family members that we only want one child, I always get the same response: “Oh, you’ll change your mind eventually.”
I haven’t even given birth to one kid yet, so I really don’t have the mental bandwidth to even begin thinking about having a second or third.
If it weren’t for this insistence that I'll change my mind about having more kids, I might be less annoyed by the "when will you have another?" question. But the smugness of that follow-up really gets under my skin. It's as if other people think they know more about my family than my husband and I do.
It’s not just family members who do this. I’ve gotten the same line of questioning from total strangers. Last week, the fitting room clerk at Target told me that before she had a baby, she only thought she wanted one kid, but now she has five. “You’ll change your mind when you meet your baby,” she said with a wink as she pointed me towards a dressing room.
Here’s the thing: pregnancy is a deeply personal experience. Everything about it is so unique and individualized, and no two pregnancies are alike. So what was true for that Target clerk will not necessarily be true for me, and vice versa. Yet because pregnancy is so visible, people feel entitled to comment on it in any way they please — and this is not okay.
So please, strangers, friends, and family members, trust me when I answer your questions. Trust me to know that I’m making the right choice. Please do not tell me that I’ll “change my mind” later on.
Of course, you don’t have to be pregnant to be subject to uncomfortable interrogations from family members – we’ve all been there. The day my husband and I got married, we fielded a million questions about when we’d have a baby from well-intentioned aunts, uncles, and cousins. And years before that, when we were just dating, we were cornered at a family function by a cousin who asked when we’d get engaged. It seems like everyone is always looking ahead to the “next thing,” trying to push us forward when we’d just like to exist in this moment, right now, for a little longer.
At the end of the day, no one else will know what’s right for my husband and I except us. So please, strangers, friends, and family members, trust me when I answer your questions. Trust me to know that I’m making the right choice. Please do not tell me that I’ll “change my mind” later on. The truth is, you have no idea what I’m thinking or feeling, the same way I have no idea what’s going on in your head. If we ever change our minds and want to have another kid, I promise I’ll clue you in —but for the time being, please just keep your mouth shut and respect our feelings.