Thursday, September 20, 2007

Does anyone else think this is inappropriate?

There are a lot of ways I could preface this post. I could explain what I've explained in a post in late July about the status of where I am on the "ready to have a baby" scale. I could explain that I've known for years that once you are married these questions will come no matter how unwelcome. I could explain that the question didn't even offend me until about 5 seconds after I answered. No, I was not knitting baby items or anything else when I was asked this.

So here is the story:

I am walking down the hall today as one of the customer relations women is approaching from the opposite direction. This is hallway with 8-10 offices or cubes in immediate hearing range. Said woman asks how it is going, I say things are fine, and she then asks
"Are you and your husband trying to start a family yet?"

My immediate response (because it is a canned one) is "No, not until Mark graduates." Since this is the truth, and we'll be married for only 3 months on Sunday, and I have no knowledge of whether it will be difficult for me to conceive or not, and I'm only 24 so I don't feel like I need to be in a hurry, this response is easy for me to give. I feel it is ridiculous for anyone to expect us to make that an immediate goal so I dismiss these questions with a laugh usually.

Then it hit. I got mad. While I try to be friendly with a lot of people, I am not close with this woman and to my recollections have never had a really personal conversation with her that it is even appropriate for her to ask me in the first place. Then, she asks me in such a casual but public way (as I said before, probably in the hearing range of at least 10 people). Sure, I could give her that answer back just as casually, but what if I couldn't? What if I wanted children very badly and knew I couldn't have them? What if I didn't want children at all? (Why are we assuming all people, especially married people, want children? Not everyone does, and I think if you don't, you shouldn't.) What if the night before my husband and I had just had an argument over when to "start trying?"

The point is whether or not to have children and when to have them is a very personal decision and therefore asking about that decision is a very personal question. If my sister asks me about that, fine. If a friend asks me about that, fine. If we are having those type of discussions at SNB, fine. It is not fine for a random co-worker to loudly ask that as we pass in a hallway. The way it was phrased bugged me too, because it was such an assumption that we want children and then that we would want them so soon. Even if we will be ready within a few years, the way that questions was asked almost crosses a line from lifestyle choice question to sex life question.

I know I'm ranting, but the more I thought about it, the more annoyed I became. So now it is off my chest, and I will go back to finishing another row on "Tuscany."

1 comment:

La Petite Tricoteuse said...

Ridiculous! Moreover you have to watch those corporate types. What if you had said yes we are right away? Would she tell someone to start looking for your replacement? The nerve! How is that any different from her saying: having lots of sex lately? I mean how else do you make a baby? I guess people will not stop asking these asinine questions until they also stop asking when 20 and 30 somethings are gonna find that special someone and get married. Man. You of course my darling are free to ask me anytime :-)