Last time I looked, my reproductive organs were none of anyone’s beeswax. Mind you I can tell you with some certainty that my reproductive system ceased to be interesting some 10 years ago.
What is this thing that people do? Do I have to state the obvious and say first off, that you do not know if a couple is infertile or is dealing with a serious health issue when you are shoving your way to a front seat at their ovaries. Shouldn’t this possibility be enough to silence the offending inquisitor?
Some years back I had the great misfortune to ask an old friend when she was due. I don’t think I need waste time telling you how that turned out. But I vowed that I would never ask that question again unless I saw the baby crowning. And I haven’t.
Or any of that type of question.
Believe it or not, I still get asked at 56, “Why did you only have one baby?” “Gee, too bad he didn’t have a brother or a sister.” Yes it is. It is too bad. If only I had the balls to say, “But the one we have is such a sensitive, kind person that if we had given birth to another one, she might have grown up to be the kind of arsehole that would ask a question like that!”
But of course I don’t. I just say sheepishly, “Well, we tried and we couldn’t." And then I proceed to hate myself.
Our darling friend and her husband just don’t know what to do anymore. They have run out of ideas. They have stated that they choose each other and the lifestyle they lead. They have said that they love being aunties and uncles but that their animals are their babies and they are content with that. They have said that the world is overpopulated. They have said that while they love kids they just don’t have the drive or need to have their own.
Now, wouldn’t you think this would be enough? I would. It’s not apparently.
It makes me mental that they even have to answer these kinds of questions. People’s plumbing and their choices around upgrading or expanding said plumbing is none of anyone’s affair. At all. In any way.
My friend was lamenting this today and the response I gave her was what inspired me to blog about it.
I said, “The next time you are berated and belittled for choosing not to have kids, say this:
‘I come from another galaxy where our gestation period is one hundred years. The women on our planet do not get big bellies. Instead, we become more and more gorgeous with each passing year. By the time I have this baby, you will be dead. So you better get off your ass and throw me a fucking baby shower. Better yet, just give cash.’ “
Barbara: Oh, Deb, BRILLIANT!! In fact, any variation thereof I would say would do. The bonus being that you get to exercise your imagination while also (hopefully) shutting up a yob or two.
This is indeed a tricky minefield. And I am shocked at how many people still wade into it. And yet they do. It always gets ugly—either because it speaks of a fundamental difficulty or a fundamental life choice. Neither are any of anybody’s business (unless of course offered up by the main parties involved. And, actually, these stories are often our most interesting ones. But I digress).
Okay, my variation on this—and my dear friends will attest to this––is that every time I pick up a baby, I become quite smitten, which leads everyone to assume I want one. We always get the, “Oh, Phil, you’re in trouble now, someone wants a baby!” But NOOOOO! No, really. I love them, love their divine sweetness, love their softness, their curiosity, their lovability. But. I. Do. Not. Want. One. No matter how much I cuddle and fawn, I am done. So keep asking if you must, but take this word for it: No.