“Why haven’t you got a boyfriend?”
“Why aren't you married yet?”
“When are you going to have a baby?”
I’m sure I’m not on my own…
Since being blissfully married in October 2018, I’ve been asked on a regular basis: “when are you going to have children?" Or worse: “are you pregnant?”
Before that it was “when are you getting married?” + prior to that it was “why haven’t you got a boyfriend?"
I know all these questions are set with really good intentions: people just want the best for you.
They want you to be happy + experience the joy that they felt when experiencing all these wonderful life events. Also, they want something exciting to look forward to.
However, while they may be asked with the best intentions, these questions don’t have simple answer because some things in life you can’t control.
They are deeply personal + filled with pressure to meet a societal “norm.”
For the first year of marriage, I found these questions and assumptions really painful because at the time I really wanted a baby + presumed it was something that would just happen. As girls, we’re raised to date ‘the one’, get engaged, get a house, get married + have a baby (in some sort of order, right?)
This is the “norm” - I say 'norm' with a raised eyebrow, it is 2020 after all - that I mean. When you can’t fit into those expectations, sometimes it’s hard.
At times I have been sad that I wasn’t pregnant, other times I would be infuriated at how unthoughtful + short sighted the person was asking these questions.
It led me to being paranoid about how I looked + worried that there was something wrong with me because I wasn’t pregnant. At times, it’s made me reflect on whether I even want a baby.
Maybe I'm pre-set to believe that I should have one as it’s the traditional order of things?
(I’m aware that this could very well be, + probably is, a defence mechanism).
I’ve had many cringe worthy experiences over the last 16 months around the baby question. Here are a few:
I received a text asking: “What would you like for Christmas? Would a Mothercare Voucher do?”
My next-door neighbour (of who is lovely but I very rarely chat to) one day rang on my door bell to say “I’ve heard the good news, you’re expecting…” There was no good news, I was never expecting so she must have caught a glimpse of me in the street one day with my back arched + belly loose (one of my go to postures unfortunately) + came to her own conclusion.
We had family planning their holidays around the fact that we might be pregnant, “We’d like to go skiing but you might be pregnant by then or have a baby so perhaps we should wait?”
The difficulty is that once that question is asked, it’s out there. If it’s not a positive response, it’s excruciatingly embarrassing for all involved.
For me, it ends up that I’m the one making the awkward situation okay by being polite + laughing it off telling the person who asked the question: “Ahhh don’t worry” when on the inside I’m upset or angry.
In order to deal with these questions over the festive season (when I was looked up + down in the search of a baby bump) one of the first things I did is ask for an alcoholic drink so that I wouldn’t get asked THE question. It was my way of saying “back off.”
Fun yes, who doesn’t enjoy a tipple over Christmas? But those that are close to me they know I don’t drink that much, I’m not T-Total but I’m not a regular drinker, so for me it wasn’t ideal, but it did help.
Right now, for my own mental health I have decided to just live my life, focusing on my own health, my wonderful career with TFF + Les Mills, try to be the best partner I can for my husband Stu + Puppy Mummy to Teddy.
When met with that question in the future I want my mind set to be positive + understanding that the person asking the question just wants to share happiness with me.
My response will be:
“Being pregnant isn’t a choice unfortunately. You can’t decide you want to be pregnant + then it just happens. Each baby is a miracle, so if one day a miracle happens, it’ll be fantastic. But for now, I’m focusing on what I do have + I’m so grateful for it.”
For anyone else out there who’s feeling the pressure, whether it be baby, marriage, settling down or other, I hope my experience can give a little comfort that you’re not on your own.
Just remember, these questions are usually asked with the best intentions, + when the times right, the same people will be eagerly waiting to rejoice in whatever wonderful news you may have.
Until then, keep in mind the amazing things you do have in your life, give gratitude to your incredible body + keep doing you because you are more than enough + perfect as you are.