“So, when’s the next one coming?” a loving and well-intentioned family member eagerly asked me, a freshly postpartum mom, and it extremely flustered me. I hesitantly looked down at my three-week-old baby, still squishy and bald, arching her back to ease the pain of her reflux as she insatiably nursed at my breast.
“The next one?” I thought to myself. “My uterus still hasn’t shrunk down to its original size- and you’re already asking me about the NEXT one?”
Well, now that my daughter is three and thriving, these questions have only intensified, both in volume and urgency.
“You don’t want to have kids too far apart!”
“Just get it over with!”
“We want a boy!”
It seemed like every day another person wanted to inquire about my reproductive system, and every day I found myself wondering…do I really owe them an answer?
I’m not trying to be callous, but here’s the truth. Every time this question is asked, I find myself retreating further and further into myself. But why? The question itself is harmless, benign, stemming from love and curiosity. But it’s not the question that makes my heart ache with uncertainty; it’s the unspoken answers that these questions spur.
Because when you ask a mama when she will have another baby, there may be some things about her life, her family, and her body that you may not be taking into consideration.
So here are just 5 of the many reasons you should tread lightly when asking a mama if and when she plans to have more kids:
1. She Might Be Struggling With Infertility or Pregnancy Loss
This is a big one. Who’s to say the mama in question isn’t already trying to conceive, falling to pieces every month she’s greeted by her cycle instead of those coveted pink lines? Who’s to say the mama in question hasn’t recently experienced a devastating pregnancy loss from which she is still trying to heal her broken heart? Asking a mom when she plans on having another baby severely undermines these possibilities, so please be mindful when asking.
2. She May Have Mental or Physical Conditions That Make Pregnancy Or Parenting Challenging
Pregnancy and parenthood are hard on EVERYBODY, but if a mama has underlying physical or mental health issues, bringing home another baby might not always be feasible. This can sometimes be a sensitive subject that they’re unwilling to broach, so please don’t pry. The best thing you can do is love them and the little ones they already have, and see them and their family as whole, just the way they are.
3. She May Not Be Financially Prepared To Have Another Child
This year especially has been extremely challenging for so many families, and having a baby isn’t exactly something that fits into every budget. According to a USDA report, the average middle-income family spends between $12,000 to $14,000 on child-related expenses each year. Not exactly chump change! So unless you plan on footing the bill, don’t bombard her with the expectation to bear more children.
4. She Might Not Want More Children
Need I say more? And no, she doesn’t owe you an admission or explanation. Sometimes women like to keep this kind of information to themselves, just in case they have a change of heart. And that’s A-okay! And if she straight up tells you she’s done? Great! Now it’s your job to respect it.
5. She Does Not Need The Implied Pressure That Comes With This Question
Let’s face it. Babies are cute. Babies are exciting. Babies bring SO much joy to the world. But do you know what DOESN’T feel so exciting and joyous? Pressuring someone to respond to something that they’re simply not yet ready to explore.
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Latched Mama. It originally appeared here, on their blog. You can follow their journey on Facebook, Instagram, and their website. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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