Stop Asking THAT Question

I’ve written about this before but it seems that it’s like non parents parking in mother and baby spots or people feeling the need to comment on how your baby is fed; it doesn’t go away!

STOP ASKING PEOPLE when they’re going to start a family or going to ‘go again’.

I know people don’t mean any harm when they insist on telling you that you should “be going again” or “getting a move on”, and yet often, these innocently thrown statements can stab a couple through the heart.

Firstly, why do people think it’s OK to assume that everyone wants to have more Babies? Or actually, even A baby for that matter.  Many people make the conscious decision that parenthood is not for them; that they are quite fulfilled and happy as they are.

Then there are the people who, no sooner have you popped out little Charlie or Nancy, but they’re telling you it’s time to get working on Jeremiah or Jezebel.  Why, oh WHY, do people think that it’s OK to ASK why a couple aren’t “going for number 3″… or 4, or 8?

And as for the people who tease a newly married couple, or indeed ANY childless couple, about ‘getting a move on’, well that is just a whole other level of silly beggar.

Here are 6 reasons to NOT comment on a couple’s NON pregnant state:
1. It’s none of your business.

2. You don’t know their situation. You don’t know if they’ve had a miscarriage recently. People don’t generally go around announcing that do they? In fact, we good Irish still fall into the trap of thinking that we aren’t allowed to tell anyone until the sacred 12 week mark, and so when things go wrong, couples often have no one to share their grief or help them through it.

3. 1 in 6 Irish couples currently struggle with fertility. How do you know if the person you are innocently teasing about “going for another one” or “filling that big house” isn’t one of those couples? You don’t know if they’re trying EVERYTHING and being constantly heartbroken. You don’t know if she’s injecting herself daily, undergoing physical and emotional and mental turmoil to try to help matters. You don’t know if he’s struggling with the fact that his sperm count is low. You don’t know if they’ve put every penny they have (and don’t have) into rounds of treatment, over and over again. You don’t know how deep your playful, well-intentioned words can cut.

4. Not EVERY couple WANTS to have a baby, or another Baby. For their own reasons. That they don’t have to explain to you.  And when a couple tells you that they’re all done or quite happy with their lot thank you, do not raise your eyebrow in a smug and all-knowing, “we’ll see” or tut at their ‘nonsense’.  You’re in murky waters now and you need to paddle back Dear.

5. Maybe that couple are in the process of adoption, or surrogacy. Maybe that couple are at breaking point, physically and emotionally and maybe…

6. …it’s NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!

Of course people mean no harm when we joke about “filling that big car” or “getting a wee brother for Nancy”, but like all things Parent related, innocent comments and harmless questions can cut through people like a bolt of lightning. We shouldn’t comment. End of.

So next time you find yourself about to joke or jest or ask someone about the state of their baby situation, consider this:  If they asked you about the state or your uterus, or indeed your sperm situation, how would you feel? Would you be comfortable if that person sighed and answered with “Well actually, we’re on our third round of IVF and we’re emotionally and physically exhausted and I’d love to tell you about it”?  Or if they said, “Well actually, we’ve had three miscarriages in the last 18 months” or “Well no, becuase we’re pretty sure we won’t be together this time next year.” If you would be able to deal with those answers, you possibly know the person well enough to know not to ask anyway.

If not, don’t ask and don’t comment.

Simples.

 

I am Seeing Her Heart Break Mum

Our holiday was a week of firsts for us all; first time abroad with the girls, first rollercoasters, first time tasting different foods for the girls, first time jumping in water; lots of firsts and lots of memories…
 
But one first that has been tapping at my heart since it happened, was Mini-Me’s first breakup.
 
She met a little girl on the second day. Matilda let’s call her. As little girls do, they went from strangers to BFFs in 3.4 seconds. They spent a full morning playing together, splashing, jumping, laughing and generally having the time of their little lives.
 
And I sat on my lounger, watching them happily. Happy that she’d made a friend. Happy that she has the social skills to make friends. (Never underestimate this Mammies. And that’s the Teacher talking…) Happy that she’d found a wee buddy to play with…
 
And then.
Then, Matilda’s mammy struck.
 
And let me tell you, she was no Miss Honey.
 
“Matiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiildaaaaaaa, get ouvaa hea Noiw!” she screeched at the child.
 
“I’m going for lunch. See you later” said Matilda as she swam off.
 
And Mini-Me came bouncing over to tell us all about her new Best Fwend.
 
We too went for lunch. And a few hours later, back in the pool, Matilda swam by us. Mini-Me of course went ballistic with joy.
But Matilda ignored her.
 
“Go say Hello” I said and stepped back, knowing already what was going to happen, but knowing it had to happen anyway.
 
“Do you want to play?” asks Mini-Me.
“My Mum says I’m not allowed to play with you. Sorry!” answers Matilda, genuinely looking a bit sad, before she swam off again.
 
And there Mammies, is where my baby girl’s wee world shattered down around her.
She turned around, in the middle of the busy blue swimming pool, her big goggled eyes found mine, and she burst into tears…
I swooped her up and brought her to Daddy.
 
He of course thought she’d bust her head off something, she was wailing so hard. “She”s just had her wee heart broken” I whispered to him as I placed her on top of him for Daddy cuddles. Then I did what any calm and rational mother would do…
 
I got my inner Trunchbull on and went searching for Matilda’s Mammy to have it out with her…
Well that’s what I WOULD have done, had the sensible Him not given me the “Sit you down and calm yourself woman” look.
trunchbull
 
After 15 minutes wrapped in Daddy’s big strong arms, and an icecream, and lots of conversation about how not everyone will want to be your friend and if someone doesn’t want to play with you, that’s their problem, not yours, Mini-Me was fine. She eventually went back to play, shoulders a bit slouched and heart a bit sore, but within 20 minutes, she had met another BFF.
(Having spoken to THIS BFF’s Mum earlier, I knew that this was their last day, so of course we were destined to another heartbreak that night, but hey!)
 
Heartbreak and rejection will come. And they don’t really get any easier to deal with, they just become less of a big deal. But when you’re 6, the smallest things are the biggest.
 
I’m not really sure whose heart was most broken though if I’m honest? Mini-Me’s for an hour, or Mine? Because thinking about her wee face still makes my tummy flip…and makes me want to swing that other Mammy by her pigtails.
 
Poor wee Matilda spent the rest of the week playing on her own. I shit you not Mammies. My heart was more sore for her by the end of the week than it had been for my own wee Dolly.