It’s safe to say that most of us recognize the impoliteness of asking a woman how far along in her pregnancy she is unless she has explicitly confirmed that she’s expecting. But the question remains if we’re all on the same page about that, why is it still acceptable to joke about or make light of getting pregnant, choosing to have another baby, or choosing not to procreate at all?
As with many other personal life decisions, if the individual doesn’t volunteer information then no one should feel that they have the right to question it.
At some point in any relationship the question of starting or expanding a family will come up and both parties will not always be in agreement. In this case, where there isn’t consensus between the couple, bringing it up publicly, or even joking about it can be hurtful to the other person.
Earlier in the year, Prince William and Kate Middleton attended a charity event where they met some local families, including a couple and their baby. Kate conversed with them for quite some time and even held the child. As Prince William strolled he joked: “Don’t give my wife any ideas”, then he said to Kate: “Don’t take her with you”.
As Kate handed the child back to the parents she laughed. But, what if she really does want another baby? Now, to be clear, I don’t want to cause speculation that Will and Kate are at an impasse on the issue of expanding their family. Perhaps they are both on the same page and William’s teasing was just that, a fun interaction between a loving couple.
On the contrary, when both individuals in a relationship are on the same page it is clearly evident. In their tell-all interview with Oprah last year, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced they were expecting a baby girl in the summer. Harry remarked how thrilled he was that they had Archie (a boy) and were now expecting a girl. Oprah prompted whether this would complete their family to which Harry replied “Two is it” and Meghan confirmed, “Two is it”. This is how it should be. Two people. Same page. United front. No jokes about it.
Obviously the public interaction with Will and Kate compared to Harry and Meghan’s intimate sit-down with Oprah are two entirely different circumstances, and they’re all public figures, subject to media scrutiny. However, if you replace the charity event with a family function or the tell-all interview with a dinner at the in-laws, the odds of having to defend or answer to your procreation plans are not likely in your favour. We’ve all been asked at least one of these:
When are you having kids?
First, it’s not anyone’s business. Second, posing the question this way makes the assumption that the couple is planning to have children. Maybe they aren’t. Maybe the couple is trying to get pregnant and it’s not happening. There’s a lot of emotion and stress that goes along with that.
Why are you not having kids?
See above. But also, there are a myriad of reasons why or why not. This is a personal choice and it should be respected as much as the boundaries of not questioning it should be.
Are you having any more kids?
Some people are one and done. Totally ok. An even two? Three or more? Also acceptable. Questioning whether someone is “done” or not is like asking someone to commit to voting for a political party.
Really … you’re pregnant, again?
Third, fourth, and so on babies are almost always viewed as a “whoops”. While, yes, I’m sure this is sometimes the case it can also be true for the first. A big family could have been the plan all along and no one should be offended by it.
Oh, you’re getting a puppy! So, you’re not having kids then?
I have two kids and a dog. The dog came much later than the kids. I do call her my fur baby, but a dog is not a human child. To assume that someone is choosing a dog, cat, or pot-bellied pig over getting pregnant is ridiculous. This is not an either/or situation.
Maybe the don’t ask, don’t tell mantra of previous generations was a better way to do things? To reference one more royal example before concluding, I highly doubt anyone questioned Queen Elizabeth publicly about her decision to have two more children after Charles and Anne. Expanding your family (or not) shouldn’t be dealt with in a public forum, unless the two people making the baby are equally open about it. Most importantly, if a couple is undecided or of differing opinions on the issue, it certainly shouldn’t be fodder for public amusement.