by Jovanna Acevedo Quesada
Getting pregnant, trying to conceive, starting a family, or deciding not to are intensely personal decisions. Whether you've decided not to have children or can't, have more than the "norm," or cope with fertility issues, your fertility is your business.
Then there are days that make you want to run and hide, scream in anger, pull out your hair, or wish everyone would leave you alone. Your pregnancy-to-be is not a required item on other people's to do list.
Here's some of the common phrases we hear from those we love, those we work with, or even complete strangers.
Have you been hearing any of these nagging questions lately?
"Why aren't you trying yet?"
"When are you making me a grandma?"
"Did you know that low iron levels can make you infertile?"
"Don't you have enough children?"
"Not pregnant yet? You're 32! Have a baby already!"
That list makes our blood boil, too. These invasive questions could be some of the most irritating you'll eventually face.
How have you handled the curious and nosy people stalking your fertility journey?
What to Say When People Keep Asking
While you can't actually "wish" someone away, you could try out one of these replies and see how it works. If one doesn't do the trick, keep trying. If the person really doesn't get the hint, we'll leave you to your own imagination.
"Please Wait for My Updates..."
We all have this friend tucked away someplace. It's the friend that loves being a mom. She wants you to share this fulfilling part of life. But she's beginning to make you nuts. She asks about test results, infertility and getting pregnant. You can either avoid her or suggest she wait for you to share updates.
Try saying something like: "I'd feel more comfortable if you could please wait for my updates. That way, I can share all the news I have about my [fill in the blank here...tests, adoption, pregnancy or IVF]. You're on the top of our list when we have news!"
Communicate How Others Can Help You
People who genuinely care about you won't know whether you want to handle your journey toward pregnancy alone or if you'd like someone to ask about and share your concerns. Do you want them to ask every few days, every few months or never? Let them know.
Communicate this concept by phrasing it as a request: "You've been a great friend to me. There will be times I might come to you to vent, share concerns or get peace of mind. Would you mind helping me out [fill in the blank for what you want from them...]."
My Body, My Fertility, My Business
Nosy co-workers, friends with children, nagging relatives, and even distant acquaintances could ask you personal questions about your plans. The bottom-line is simple: The decision how and when to have children belongs to you and your partner.
Depending on your mood, your answers could run the gamut from flippant to reflective to snappy. We suggest always taking at least one deep breath first.
While we don't suggest saying something along the lines of, "We're waiting to see how yours turn out before we decide," we know you could be thinking it.
Try some of these replies on for size. For couples struggling with fertility we suggest this explanation: "There are lots of couples who struggle with fertility. Every time they see smiling mommies at the playground, or go to a baby shower, they're reminded of the joy that they can't have. I don't wish to go into whether or not we're one of those couples. Please understand your question is hurtful to someone who's unable to have a baby."
You could always divert the conversation and change the subject, too.
A Simple "Yes" or "No"
It's up to you whether you want to answer the "Are you pregnant yet" question or not. You certainly don't owe anyone an explanation -- not even your sister, mother, or favorite aunt. When they ask if you're pregnant or ready to start a family, feel free to keep your answer short, but pleasant.
Try replying with: "Nope!" "Not yet!" "We'll let you know!" "Yes, Grandma (Grandpa)!"
Depending on the reaction or answer, there should be a moment of silence and then tears, gasps or jubilant exclamations. Just in case, keep a list of conversation topics that change the subject up your sleeve.
You Can Choose to Ignore Questions
Not answering an impertinent question can send the message that you're not willing to discuss the matter. So does silence and a sour expression on your face. But we don't recommend this action for every question you might face.
Our reasoning is that you could be perceived as being rude or worse. If the question is "that bad," a sour look, a deep sigh, and a "Would you like some bean dip?" might derail the awkward situation. At least you'd get an answer about the bean dip.
Laugh It Off
Your best response to nosy questions could be to simply laugh about it. Crack a joke, reply with, "Not today!" or "Are you kidding?" Erma Bombeck says, "If we can laugh at it, we can live with it." That logic still holds true most days.
What have been some of the most annoying questions you've heard on your journey? We'd love to hear them! What was your favorite reaction? We'd enjoy hearing about those too!
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