Dear Everyone. Yes – everyone,
There are likely hundreds of articles and blog posts discussing what I’m about to say. Yet it doesn’t seem to be sinking in yet, so here’s another version to ponder.
Stop – just stop – asking the next mom you see if she wants more babies, when she’s having another one, or any other version of this question.
You don’t mean harm. You’re making small talk. I get it.
But you don’t know what you’re asking – who you’re asking – when you ask that question:
The mom with a colicky baby who got 3 hours of sleep last night and is dreaming of a full 8 hours – not another little one.
The mom who struggled through years of sorrow and fertility treatments and just can’t go down that road again – mentally, physically, or financially.
The mom who would love a full house and a full heart but cannot fathom how to stretch her dollar one cent more to feed another mouth right now.
The mom who is currently locked in a debate with her partner over family planning.
The mom whose marriage was almost torn apart by the last baby.
The mom who has known deep loss and cannot bear that pain again.
The mom who endured physical hardships during pregnancy or childbirth that took that choice away from her.
The mom whose last pregnancy, labor, or birth left a trauma from which she has not healed.
The mom with a medical reason taking that choice away from her.
The mom who never wanted to be a mom and – while she loves her little one – still wrestles with the guilt she feels daily.
The mom who’s trying – unsuccessfully – at that very moment.
The mom who might be pregnant at that very moment and is still digesting how she feels about that news.
The mom who’s comfortable with her choice but damn tired of explaining it to anyone.
We love our kids. We love talking about our kids, really.
Ask us about the baby or child who’s right in front of you. How old are they? What are their likes and dislikes? What do we love most about them?
But please please please, stop asking us to explain our family planning choices to you.
Your small talk is our open wound or closed door.
In the interest of being polite, we smile and rattle off some lame answer that hides the pain, frustration, or irritation we truly feel at having to dig through our choice again with someone who shouldn’t be asking anyway.