Saturday, July 16, 2011

Presumptuous much?

It is a truth universally acknowledged that all females in their mid- to late twenties must be in want of a baby. It must be true, everyone keeps going on about it. You get married, "when are you starting a family?" You buy a new house, "new house, new baby!" People around you get pregnant, "ohhh it'll be your turn next!" They proudly show off their new offspring, "are you getting broody yet?"

I have never been broody when it comes to human babies in my life.

Cat babies, on the other hand ... ♥

Next time someone makes a baby comment at me, I'll reply, "thanks, we've tried for years but the doctor says I can't conceive" just to see what reaction I get. It only pisses me off to be badgered about something everyone assumes I must want simply because of my gender - but for someone who genuinely has fertility problems, questions like that must really hurt. But if you're a reasonably healthy woman, everyone (even strangers) will assume you'll have a baby sooner or later, and they love to be smug about it.

No one stops to consider that the would-be mum could have a medical issue that can't be fixed, which means the question is not just rude, it's deeply insensitive. What if she desperately wants to become a mother and has been told that there's no way she can have one, aside from adopting? How would you feel if strangers, co-workers and others (not the sort of people with whom you'd want to discuss your personal medical history) sounded like a broken record?

Mum has used at least seven of these on me over the years.
[I got the image from this page but it seems like they in turn
snaffled it from a Cafépress shop, but I don't know which one.]

No one ever considers the option of a woman wanting to remain childfree either, because the whole concept of choosing a life without children is apparently utterly incomprehensible to most people. You're a woman, you have babies - simples. (It's technically the last bastion of sexism, if you think about it. Having children is a choice, both for men and women, so could we please stop pretending like only men have that choice?)

STOP BEING PRESUMPTUOUS ABOUT BABIES! To those who want babies but can't have them, you're rude. To those that can or can't but simply won't, you're annoying. Besides, those who can and want to breed are likely to bring it up themselves - cooing and/or gushing doing so - as soon as you mention the subject at all. But to the rest of us, you're a prick.

Thank you, that is all.

2 comments:

  1. A friend of mine asked her sister in law once, "are you planning on having children?" (my friend is gay, and has hopes of some day asking her brother to contribute sperm so that her wife's child would be related to both of them...)

    And the sister in law replied "I don't know. I don't really like kids. But I feel like I SHOULD."

    She thought that was the worst reply she had ever heard. A couple of months later, the SIL announced her pregnancy.

    My friend is SO DISTURBED.

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  2. That's just ... I don't even know what to say. Fine, I understand the whole "feels like I SHOULD", because that's what most of us have probably grown up thinking. Like you get married and then you have kids, that it's inevitable, somehow. But to actually KNOW you don't like kids and STILL get pregnant is awful. Really sounds like that child is going to have a happy upbringing, doesn't it? :(

    I have a friend who is involuntary childless for medical reasons, and while it's not something I've ever asked her about, I still feel bad for her, as she was very upset when she first got the news. Don't know if she has made her condition publicly known amongst friends and relatives, but I know for a fact how much of the "you're next!" and "you'll be having one too soon, you'll see" and all the rest of it I've been getting the last few years. If she gets even HALF of that from those around her, I can imagine how hard that must be. But yeah, people don't seem to consider that. :(

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