Author Topic: Who's going to have a baby next???  (Read 9518 times)

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EllenS

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Re: Who's going to have a baby next???
« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2013, 10:48:00 AM »
Being pushy and overly inqusitive with someone who does not want to play along with preggo banter - or any other type of banter -  is rude, absolutely.  But I still don't think the "opening volley" of banter is necessarily rude.  Conversation is an organic flow, with people constantly feeling out what is or is not okay with this person or this group.  You have to be aware and responsive to people's reactions, and respect them.

This reminds me of the Christmas after I lost my mom a couple of years ago (a few months before).  I was with my cousins, and the subject of mom/daughter relationships came up.  I went along with it for a while, then the two cousins (who are sisters) started really harping on jokes about their mom and the silly/crazy/annoying things she does.  Normal, family/female bonding jokes.  The grief of my loss bubbled up in me, and I broke out very bitterly that they were lucky to still have their mom and I would give anything to have my mom "drive me crazy" for one more day.

Now, it probably was insensitive of them to "go there", considering they knew my situation.  But this was a normal, organic flow of conversation that just spilled over.  If they had suddenly stopped themselves in mid-sentence, it certainly would not have made me feel better.  It was just as inappropriate for me to lash out angrily, as it was for them to joke about a sensitive topic.  They did not cause my grief, and there was no reason for me to blame them.  I wish I had had the composure to just beandip.

Knitterly

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Re: Who's going to have a baby next???
« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2013, 10:58:25 AM »
I think there's a difference between generally talking about babies (and your own baby plans) and publicly speculating about other people's baby plans, which is essentially what the women in the OP were doing.

The first is fine - it would be unreasonable to expect people to abstain from general or personal (to them) baby talk.

But the second is rude, IMO.

This.

The OP isn't talking about general baby talk.  They were at a babyshower after all.  She is talking about "who's next" jokes.  Those are inappopriate.

While I was dealing with my own infertility, I would have people come up to me at baby showers and pat my tummy and comment about how I'd better watch out.  Everyone else here was pregnant and it might be  catching.  Oh how I wished pregnancy were contagious. 

It was a rude comment.

It's like being a single person at a wedding and having everyone joke and comment to you about how you'd be next.  They know you're single.  They know you want to find someone.  It's a cold slap of reality in the face.  A reminder that they have what you don't, with a subtext of "neener neener".

It's like a particular friend who is gay.  At every family gathering, he's told about how he'll find a wife soon.  It stings like heck, because he doesn't want a wife.  He wants a husband.  And he knows that most of his family will cut him off in a heartbeat when he finds one.

It's not at all about the baby talk.  It's about the "you're next" jokes that have a subtle layer of "neener neener".  It's rubbing your face in what you don't have.  Not in conversation, but in an outright "you don't have this yet" way.  And THAT is pretty rude.

Also, haven't e-hellions always maintained that it's rude to speculate about someone else's reproductive plans as it borders on speculating on their scrabble activities?
« Last Edit: October 03, 2013, 11:00:33 AM by Knitterly »

Hmmmmm

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Re: Who's going to have a baby next???
« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2013, 11:07:19 AM »
From the OP's post, I don't see how this activity can be charaterized as being pushy or bullying,

Recently, I was in on a conversation with a large group of women from church, and two of them starting throwing jokes around about who was going to be pregnant next.


They weren't targeting one or two women with "why don't you have kids" or "why aren't you pregnant" or "when are you going to get pregnant".

And if they did address the woman struggling with infertility directly about when she plans to get pregnant then a response of "I think we are living that in the hands of the Lord" or "Only the Lord can answer that" can shut the conversation down quickly.

I think asking people to not talk about every day occurences is really increasing the self absorption we see today.

I lost both of my parents when I was 23. I got angry when I heard my friends jokingly complain about their parents. I got sad when I heard co-workers talk about going home to visit the parental unit for the weekend. I cried inside when a friend talked about going bridal shopping with their mom or I attended a wedding and watched a friend walk down the aisle with their father. I cried outwardly to my husband when friends joked about how much their parent's were spoiling their new babies.

I am by far not the only person to loose a parent or both parents at a young age. Should all jokes, teasing, or discussions about parents be stopped because it might be hurtfull to me or others to hear?

TootsNYC

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Re: Who's going to have a baby next???
« Reply #18 on: October 03, 2013, 11:09:59 AM »
Boy, did that woman in the OP show you who she was!

I'm not going to say that she was automatically horrendously rude in the opening banter. Unwise, perhaps; annoying, stereotypical, etc.

But when the OP alerted her to the possibility that she was hurting someone, her response was very revealing.

z_squared82

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Re: Who's going to have a baby next???
« Reply #19 on: October 03, 2013, 11:35:16 AM »
I agree with previous posters that you canít avoid talking about babies all together. Just not feasible. But That Woman was just awful.

If you know someone around you has had or is having problems with infertility, keep the baby talk to a minimum. Do not ask complete strangers or near complete strangers when theyíre going to have their babies. Do not pester people you do know about their family planning plans.

Occasionally, my aunts and uncles would tease Cousin R about when she was going to have babies. If I was around, I would say it was none of our business and if she was pregnant, she would let us know. She appreciated that. Of course, Iím my motherís daughter and my mother had six miscarriages, so Iím all kids of MYOB about baby making. Luckily, no one would tease around Cousin C, who we all knew had ended up divorced and bankrupt because she was going through expensive fertility treatments when her husband went and knocked up his girlfriend. They had the knowledge, and were sensitive to it.

Unlike That Woman. Unbelievable.

BeagleMommy

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Re: Who's going to have a baby next???
« Reply #20 on: October 03, 2013, 12:21:16 PM »
I think the key words are "if you know".  If you know someone is struggling with infertility then you should, of course, not joke about who will become pregnant next.

It is common among women of the same ages to speculate who will marry/get pregnant next.  However, once it was pointed out to the woman that someone in the group was sensitive to talk of babies and all things pregnancy related, she should have said that she would be more careful next time.

Her response just shows that she's a callous oaf.

lisztchick

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Re: Who's going to have a baby next???
« Reply #21 on: October 03, 2013, 12:28:36 PM »
I recently posted about my own situation with this issue, although mine involved a dear friend and (thanks to E-hell!) is very happily resolved!  :) Thanks, E-hellions!

I like talking about babies and pregnancy, too, but I agree with the poster that said that this sort of conversation can all too easily get personal, as in "So....what about YOU? When are we going to hear some good news?"

I do not agree with strangers or casual acquaintances asking about reproductive plans. The other thing is that just because you have one child, I find that people assume that you can have all you want. Recently, I've been getting the whole routine: "So, how old is DD? Well, then, time for more! Don't wait too long, now!"
Owwww....

My SIL dealt with this as well. A woman at church was really going to town on her! "Don't wait too long to have another! Wouldn't your son looooove to have a sibling? Think how cute he'd be playing with a sibling!" And so forth. My SIL told me that she was fighting back tears before my DB finally overheard this and stepped in to say, "We are trying everything we can conceivably think of. Stop." (They eventually had success in their endeavors, by the way!)

She taught me a good thing to say in response to these questions: "It's in God's hands." She says that usually stops it.....what can people say in response to that?

LadyL

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Re: Who's going to have a baby next???
« Reply #22 on: October 03, 2013, 12:58:19 PM »
I thought pregnancy speculation was rude because you are essentially talking about someone's scrabble life? So guessing "who's next" is one step away from even grosser "jokes" like "Oh, you and your husband's anniversary trip is coming up, are you hoping to bring a special present  back with you?"

I mean, my father was born 9 months to the day from his parents anniversary. It has long been a family joke. But something about pre-emptively speculating about something so personal, even in jest, strikes me as distasteful.

lowspark

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Re: Who's going to have a baby next???
« Reply #23 on: October 03, 2013, 01:11:16 PM »
every topic is painful to someone

If we start making the ordinary stuff of life "off limits" on the chance that someone may have a secret struggle, there would be very little friendly conversation in the world.  Does not excuse the ugly attitude you encountered, but I think a taboo on pregnancy talk is just unfeasible and unreasonable.

This.
If you're in a situation where someone starts talking/joking about a subject that you are sensitive to, I think you have three choices.
1. Ask the group to change the subject (ok but can get sticky if they want to know why and you don't want to tell)
2. Change the subject yourself (not that hard to do, I do it all the time for various reasons)
3. Excuse yourself and come back later hoping they will have moved on by then

To be honest, though, what the OP did actually strikes me as rude. One of my pet peeves is for someone to take it upon themselves to speak for me. If I were the one who was having the fertility issues, I would not want anyone to take someone else aside and tell them to stop talking about pregnancies. I'd feel pitied and I'd feel as if that person didn't think I could take care of myself for myself.

In addition, the OP is telling the person someone's secret. Yeah, you didn't say who it was, but there's always the possibility that she could guess. And it doesn't always take knowing much about the person to be able to guess. Just in the act of telling her that someone is having this problem, you could give away who it is by your body language. It's just not your place to take this stand unless the person has asked you to do it on her behalf.

If the OP wants the conversation to be redirected, then the very best thing to do is redirect it herself. It goes with the natural  flow of conversation and it's a whole lot better than saying, "don't talk about that because someone here may be sensitive to that subject."

As for the lady's response, she was pretty insensitive, but I kinda don't blame her for not wanting to comply with the OP's request because it wasn't the OP's place to do what she did.

EllenS

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Re: Who's going to have a baby next???
« Reply #24 on: October 03, 2013, 01:28:06 PM »
....

In addition, the OP is telling the person someone's secret. Yeah, you didn't say who it was, but there's always the possibility that she could guess. And it doesn't always take knowing much about the person to be able to guess. Just in the act of telling her that someone is having this problem, you could give away who it is by your body language. It's just not your place to take this stand unless the person has asked you to do it on her behalf.

This is a very good point.  OP, if your friend told you about her infertility in confidence, and did not want the wider group to know, she had her reasons. You may have inadvertently given the callous speaker fodder for more gossip and speculation that may come back around to your friend.  Your heart was in the right place, but I think it would have been better to get with your friend privately and ask her how she wants you to handle it, or else just steer the whole converstion onto a different topic, without mentioning what was confided to you.

TootsNYC

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Re: Who's going to have a baby next???
« Reply #25 on: October 03, 2013, 02:14:16 PM »
I think the OP could speak for herself.
"I find these sorts of 'who's going to have a baby next?' conversations awkward. Could we change the subject?"

EllenS

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Re: Who's going to have a baby next???
« Reply #26 on: October 03, 2013, 03:11:21 PM »
I think the OP could speak for herself.
"I find these sorts of 'who's going to have a baby next?' conversations awkward. Could we change the subject?"

And, yes, there's always that.

AnaMaria

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Re: Who's going to have a baby next???
« Reply #27 on: October 03, 2013, 06:20:05 PM »

In addition, the OP is telling the person someone's secret. Yeah, you didn't say who it was, but there's always the possibility that she could guess. And it doesn't always take knowing much about the person to be able to guess. Just in the act of telling her that someone is having this problem, you could give away who it is by your body language. It's just not your place to take this stand unless the person has asked you to do it on her behalf.

No, there was no way that she could guess- there were over 40 women present and I made sure we had complete privacy, out of both sight and earshot from everyone else, to tell her.  As the majority of those present knew that I hope for biological children someday but am not trying to have them because I am unmarried, suddenly announcing that baby conversations are awkward and we needed to change the subject would have made it obvious that there is someone else in the room struggling with infertility.  Not to mention, look how my acquaintance reacted- believe me, knowing her, there would have been nothing to stop her from having a similar reaction in a room full of people.  She probably would have directed her accusations at me rather than at an unidentified person, but said person would have known instantly that she was actually the one this other woman was accusing of being jealous.  So, now, not only would she be listening to the "who's going to be pregnant next," conversation but she would have also had to listen to what people "really" thought of her- apparently she's jealous and refusing to accept God's plan for her life. 


EllenS

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Re: Who's going to have a baby next???
« Reply #28 on: October 03, 2013, 06:34:17 PM »
As the majority of those present knew that I hope for biological children someday but am not trying to have them because I am unmarried, suddenly announcing that baby conversations are awkward and we needed to change the subject would have made it obvious that there is someone else in the room struggling with infertility.   Not to mention, look how my acquaintance reacted- believe me, knowing her, there would have been nothing to stop her from having a similar reaction in a room full of people.   She probably would have directed her accusations at me rather than at an unidentified person, but said person would have known instantly that she was actually the one this other woman was accusing of being jealous.  So, now, not only would she be listening to the "who's going to be pregnant next," conversation but she would have also had to listen to what people "really" thought of her- apparently she's jealous and refusing to accept God's plan for her life.

Bolded 1: Not unless they are psychic.  All they would know is that YOU find it awkward, for reasons of your own.  Which is true.

Bolded 2: If, on the other hand, you had said nothing but simply steered the conversation to a different topic indirectly - or better yet, waited till you could get your friend alone to see if she was OK and ask if SHE wanted you to say something, the joker's outburst would never have happened.

By the way, did you check with your friend?  Did the jokes actually upset her?

lowspark

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Re: Who's going to have a baby next???
« Reply #29 on: October 03, 2013, 07:00:40 PM »
You really have no way of knowing if she guessed or not even if there were 100 people in the room. And these kinds of things have a way of coming out. So even if it comes out some other way, if RudeWoman does find out, she'll associate it with what you said and it can easily come back to bite you.

But regardless of any of that, that was not my main point. I still find it rude when people take it upon themselves to speak for me. Unless the woman with the situation specifically asked you to handle this, I believe you were out of line to approach the offender in any way except to say it was you who didn't like the conversation. If something bothers me or offends me, only I get to decide if it's worth pursuing.

It's presumptuous for someone else to say, "don't talk about xyz subject because I happen to know that there is someone in the room who might take offense to it."

Sorry, AnaMaria, but you overstepped your bounds.