Having children is one of the most intimate and personal things possible. But somehow family planning has become a topic open for discussions — even among strangers. How do moms respond to this ultra-personal question?
If I had a dollar — or even a dime — for every time in the last year I have been asked about whether I am having more kids, I would be well on my way to owning that fantasy beach home. And the “are you sure you are done having kids,” question? It’s enough to make me pull my hair out, strand by strand.
My name is Sarah. I am a mother of two — and I plan to stay that way.
Family planning 101
When my husband and I were married, we decided to have children right away. My son was born about a month shy of our first anniversary. A few years later, my daughter came along. While we didn’t make any firm plans about the number of children we planned to have, we’ve come to decide that two is perfect.
Family planning is such a personal thing, and I think that as parents when you know, you just know. Two kids is just right for us.
Responding to the questions
Look, I have asked these questions before. I understand the curiosity behind them. But responding to them? Not as fun. Especially as you see your mothering life flash before your eyes — pregnancies, births, imaginary images… and then… wait, are you having more kids?
Of course, even when that wonder tickles your thoughts, sometimes it’s logic — and what’s right for your family — that really has to win out. After all, this highly personal decision is a loaded one.
Still, if you are being bombarded with the family planning questions, you can always turn to humor. “Humor is the great deflector because everyone saves face,” says Jenna McCarthy, author of If It Was Easy, They’d Call the Whole Damn Thing a Honeymoon: Living with and Loving the TV-Addicted, Sex-Obsessed, Not-So-Handy Man You Married.
Personally, my answers range from horrified to sarcastic to incredulous. But sometimes a simple, “yes,” is just right. Really, a straighter approach can get the point across too. “If you’re horrified, offended or even just taken aback by the question, a simple, ‘wow, that’s a personal question!’ ought to shut the person down. ‘That’s between me and my husband/OBGYN/uterus’ sends the same ‘drop it’ message,” says McCarthy.