From the moment you announce you’re expecting, rest assured you will be bombarded with unsolicited advice and often unwelcome comments about your pregnancy. These remarks will become more frequent after your little one arrives. They (whether it’s your mother, your in-laws, your friends or your neighbors) simply can’t help themselves when it comes to offering thoughts on how to care for and raise your child.
And just when you get accustomed to dodging the baby-rearing comments, you will experience the sneak-attack question, usually delivered in a high-pitched squeal: “Sooooooo…when’s the next baby coming along?!”—
You will stand there, mouth agape as you are processing the question while simultaneously wiping drool from your child’s still-toothless grin. You’re barely getting the hang of what it’s like to be responsible for the most precious human being in your life and people want to know when you will create more of them!
Many women aren’t as sensitive to this question as I am. Maybe it’s because I’m in my mid-thirties and my biological clock is ticking. A response such as “We’ll have another baby a few years down the road” can evoke a raised eyebrow, as if to say “Doesn’t she know how old she is?”
Part of me understands why others want to know when/if another baby will be coming. They may really like your kid and hope that your next one is equally awesome. Maybe they’re just making what they believe to be harmless conversation. Or maybe they want to deter you from having “an only child” because Little So-and-So really “should have a sibling.”
Either way, it’s a conversation I find myself trying to dodge more and more. I don’t like being put in a position where I have to discuss family planning with anyone other than my spouse.
Whether or not you’re contemplating having another baby, here are some of my go-to responses you can keep handy for the next time you are asked “So, when’s the next one?”
• The Pleasant Response: “We’ve got our hands full with our little one, so we’re not even thinking about another baby right now. Have a great day!”
• The Religious Response: “It’s in God’s hands.” (The responsibility of procreation no longer rests solely on the shoulders of you and your husband. Who can argue with God? Nobody. Now go in peace.)
• The TMI Response: “I’ll be ovulating in two weeks, which is when I will have unprotected intercourse with my spouse. Just count forty weeks from August 1st and you’ll have my due date. Don’t forget to mark your calendar!”
• The Financial Response: “Unfortunately, we really can’t afford to have any more children. I’d love to chat more, but I’m running late for a “Get Rich Quick” seminar.”
• The Straightforward Response: “It’s nice that you’re interested, but I only discuss family planning with my husband.”
Whenever possible, all of these responses should be followed by the “stroller jet” in which you excuse yourself and push your baby in her stroller down the street as fast as possible (it’s often best to flee the scene to avoid more probing questions). When the stroller jet is not an option, use the imaginary “vibrating cell phone call” excuse. Works every time!