Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Polite answers to rude questions

CatholicMommy mentioned in the combox the other day that people tend to act like a pregnant woman is public property. Ain't that the truth. So many nosy questions!

Last time I was pregnant, I worked in a school, so every day I would see the kids' parents. That is to say, I would see a gang of women who had all been pregnant before and had determined that they were going to shepherd me through the whole thing. Basically, they took one look at my pregnant belly and took possession of it: this is OUR first-time mom and we are going to find out EVERYTHING about her pregnancy and give her TONS of advice. All conflicting, of course.

However, those lists of witty answers to prying questions wouldn't have worked for me, because I actually did like these women (mostly) and I wanted to maintain a good professional relationship with them, anyway. So when they asked, "Do you know what it is?" I couldn't exactly answer, "Well, we're really hoping it's a baby and not a lizard." You know?

So I've compiled this list of polite ways to evade rude questions. Don't get me wrong -- it will still be obvious you're evading questions. And certainly some rude people will persist because they want to know the answer that badly. But most people will hear a polite evasion and realize that you'd rather not say. And it's a little nicer to have a polite evasion ready than just to say, "I prefer not to say," to every single question.

Are you pregnant (when you don't want to tell yet)?
*I sure wouldn't mind if I was!
*You'd be one of the first to know!
*No news yet, but I'll keep you posted!

When's your due date?
*In the spring.
*Around Easter.
*We're hoping he'll be out by May 17th [add two weeks to your due date].
(In case you're wondering, the reason not to tell people your exact due date is to avoid people hounding you on and after the due date if you haven't delivered yet. I personally don't mind sharing mine, but I always remind people "but you know, that's just the doctor's guess!")

Oh my goodness, are you sure? You're so big/little!
*That's funny, someone this morning told me exactly the opposite!
*My doctor/midwife says I'm measuring just right.

Is it a boy or a girl?
*Hopefully it's one of those! (with a smile)
*I guess we'll find out when it comes out! (Hint: even if you know, they will find out when it comes out. So I think this is still an honest answer whether you know the gender or not.)

Which do you want?
*I'm just hoping for a mellow baby.
*Secretly, I hope it's a redhead.
*Thank goodness I don't have to decide -- I'd never be able to choose!

Have you picked out a name?
*There are a few we're thinking about.
*I'll have to see the baby for myself before I'm 100% sure.

Was this planned?
*God planned it from all eternity! (Say this to anyone who asks you at church. They should totally know better.)
*Well, it was certainly good news, if that's what you mean!
*I don't plan my life in that much detail, but I was happy about it!

Are you done?
*I guess we'll see in a few years, won't we?
*Depends on how much we like this one.

Don't you know what causes that?
*After this many kids, we're beginning to put two and two together.
*Oh, yes, we know all about how the stork leaves the babies under cabbage leaves. (wink)

What?! You are having a natural birth/an epidural/a midwife/a home birth/a hospital birth?!
*We're still doing our research.
*So far we both agree that it's the best choice for us. (Bringing up your spouse is handy ... if they're not present and the person can't argue with them.)
*Based on my risk factors, it's actually a very safe choice for me.
(Of course there are loads of other things you could say if you want to evangelize, but these are pass-the-bean-dip answers for the people you DON'T want to argue with.)

Can you think of any more rude questions you get when you're pregnant? Can you think of any better answers? Answering a prying question without seeming rude or offending the asker is a tough job!


Tiffany said...

I always get so worked up when people comment on my body when I'm pregnant, I just hate that. I don't want to know that my face looks bigger when I still have *20 weeks* left to go!!! Oh ugh! Would you ordinarily tell me that my face looks fatter? Well, then don't say it now either! :)

And the "was it planned?" questions drive me crazy. I know that people who have their children close together get this question all the time (none of anybody's business), but I also got it because my kids are 5 years apart in age (also nobody's business). These questions seem to pry into ones romantic life with their spouse, no? And so I just wonder why people have no shame in asking them!

So, no good responses, but lots of commiseration. :)

Anonymous said...

"Is it a boy or a girl?" My favorite answer would be "Yes." I did like "hopefully it's not a lizard" though. Reminds me of an old Bill Cosby routine. "Dear, I love you very, very much. You just had.... a lizard." :)

Sheila said...

I know, why do people think it's okay to tell pregnant women stuff they wouldn't dare tell anyone else? (People were very nice to me -- they always said that I "didn't look pregnant from the back" and was "all belly" ... but even so ... I just hate being sized up like that.) Going on and on about a woman's size or weight is never appropriate.

In fairness to the "did you plan this" questions, I've discovered a heck of a lot of people just volunteer this kind of information. Some of my babysitting clients announced to me the first time I met them that they were "fixed." I guess I'm old-fashioned, but I always consider other people's reproductive habits to be private!

Momsomniac said...

My favorite rude question was "You're having twins?" (when I was pregnant with #1)

My answer? "Uh no; I'm just fat."

Okay, that's not polite, but I'll admit - I said it.

It does beat "where did you get him?" about son #2, though.

I say, "He was BORN in South Korea" to rehumaize him in the conversation but the temptation is to say "There's a special at WalMart RIGHT NOW!"

At also beats, "So, you have three sons...and they all look really different." (Uh, really?)

I have stumbled in answering this and talked about the adoption because I am always shocked by the comment. I also think son 1 and 3 look a LOT alike - but son # 1 is dark like me & and # 3 is fair like his Daddy. Nevertheless, I am starting to think the only right answer is "I'm sorry; what is it you're asking?"

I do offer up that my bio kids were not "planned" (by me anyway;). I do this because I LIKE that they were surprises and also because of my age when I had them(I was 39 with #1 and 45 with #3). It short circuits all of the questions about what special thing I *did* to get pregnant. At times, it also gives hope...

Sheila said...

Oh, yes, heaven HELP you if your family's unusual in any way. I have 15 years between me and my next sibling, and my mom is always asked "Are they from the same dad?" Yikes. Or some people with twins get, "Are they natural twins or test tube babies?" What gives people the idea that they have the right to ask that?

AJay said...

When I was asked what I wanted (I assume they meant did I prefer a son or a daughter) I politely replied, "Well, I had told my husband I really wanted a puppy, but I doubt that's what I'm carrying."

Oh, the "was it planned" and "how many do you want" questions drive me crazy. At least I usually get a kind smile when I respond, "as many as God sends me."

Momsomniac said...

I have a friend (male) who when asked what he wanted when his wife was pregnant, always answered enthusiastically, without a hint of sarcasm in his tone, "I'm really HOPING for a rhinocerous!"

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