Let me start by saying that I know when someone asks, “When are you going to have another baby?” there’s a good chance they mean well.
However, that “simple” question can bring up a lot of feelings more than just plain awkwardness.
So, before you ask someone when she is going to have another baby (or have her first), think about these seven things first:
1. Maybe she’s been trying for a lot longer than you realize. She’s had negative test after negative test, and her heart is already hurting. Or, even worse, she just suffered a heartbreaking loss. Is she supposed to say, “Hopefully soon,” or maybe, “When the time is right,” or maybe she’ll be brutally honest, “We’ve been trying for eight months, three weeks, and two days. I’d love to tell you when we are having another, but I honestly don’t know. I’ll get back to you on it.”
2. Maybe her marriage is going through a tough time. They are just trying to stay together, and having another baby isn’t going to alleviate the stress, hurt, and confusion. She might say, “We aren’t sure yet,” or be brutally honest and say, “My husband and I are currently navigating a tough spot in our marriage and we are focusing on us right now, but thank you for asking.”
3. Maybe there’s an ongoing health issue that makes it impossible to conceive at the moment. After all, it’s usually in the best interest to be optimally healthy when you become pregnant. Should she say, “Hopefully soon,” or be brutally honest and say, “I’m really struggling to keep myself afloat and healthy right now, but hopefully someday.”
4. Maybe they can’t afford another baby right now. They aren’t even living paycheck to paycheck because their paychecks aren’t enough to cover what last week’s paycheck missed. Maybe she will say, “Someday,” or maybe she’ll be brutally honest and say, “If you’re offering to help us financially, by all means, we’re accepting. But until then, it’s not in the best interest of our family to have another baby until we are more financially stable.”
5. Maybe she struggled with postpartum depression or anxiety so severe she is terrified to have another. Unless you’ve gone through PPD or PPA, you can’t even begin to fathom the heart-wrenching fear, guilt, and confusion it brings. Maybe she’ll say, “I’d like to think sometime soon,” or maybe she’ll be brutally honest and say, “My postpartum depression ran me through the wringer with my last baby, and while I love him with everything I have, I’m not ready to go through that again.”
6. Maybe she’s already pregnant and not ready to announce. Now you’re just making things really awkward. Maybe she’ll say, “Soon,” or be brutally honest and say, “SURPRISE!”
7. Maybe they are done having kids. One, three, or none—they are sure at this point in their lives their family is complete and that’s all there is to it. Maybe she’ll say “Our family is complete,” or be brutally honest and say, “Nunya business.”
I know you probably (keyword: probably) mean well when you ask someone if/when/how they are having a baby. I know. But just between you and me—ask something else instead. Like if she’d like a cup of coffee or possibly even a nap.
Originally published on the author’s blog