Please Stop Asking When We're Having Another Baby

by Brandi Jeter Riley
Originally Published: 
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The questions started while I was still pregnant.

“When are y’all going to have another one?”

“What do you say? One more after this one?”

“If you have another girl, will you try again for a boy?”

First of all, no. Second, no and no. My last baby was my last baby, and my husband and I are not planning to have anymore. But even if we were, the details of when or how we’re going to have another baby is anyone else’s business. The questions about when my family might be expanding were worse when I only had one child. After I got married, both my husband and I were asked about our plans for having a baby at least a few times a week.

Once a woman has one child, most people assume her fertility is intact. Or that she is financially able to manage more than one kid. Or that she wants more children. None of those are smart assumptions to make. There are all sorts of reasons that a women might decide she doesn’t want more children after having one, but again — it’s none of your business.

Getting pregnant wasn’t easy for me the second time around. (Side note: I was single the first time I got pregnant. Of course, I had no issues conceiving then.) My husband and I tried for awhile, and I had even made an appointment with a fertility doctor. Fortunately, I became pregnant before the appointment came around. The whole ordeal was stressful, emotional, and made even more difficult by people asking when I was going to have another baby because, at that point, I had no idea.

Even though I was doing everything I could to conceive, nothing was working. For all I knew at the time, my husband and I were incapable of making a baby together. But, no one knew all of these things as they casually tossed out questions about my fertility. I guess since I got pregnant so easily the first time, they figured I was choosing not to get pregnant. Nothing could be further from the truth though, and the questioning made me feel even more like a failure and had me wondering what was wrong with me.

Now, as grateful as I am for being able to have another baby, my pregnancy and postpartum period was physically and emotionally difficult. I suffered from hyperemis gravidum, and a scary C-section, and I can’t imagine putting myself or my family through that again. My children are eight years apart, and starting over has been a bigger challenge than I expected. Add to that living in a high cost area, thinking about private school and college for two kids, and we are done. We still get asked about baby number three. Look, folks, it ain’t happening.

I have friends who had it even worse than I do. They’re unable to conceive again even after years and years of trying. A few women I know did get pregnant, but then they lost their babies. There’s even a woman or two in my circle who wasn’t interested in having kids at all, accidentally got pregnant, and then made sure they could never get pregnant again. They all get the question, and it makes everyone feel uncomfortable.

Here’s the thing: I understand that people get excited about pregnancies. Nothing lifts the collective spirits of a group more than a new baby. However, there are a lot of factors that go into getting to that point. For some women, getting pregnant (or staying pregnant) is a sensitive topic. They’re struggling to provide for their family now and another human to care for would break them. Or, they’re just happy with the kids they have and don’t want anymore.

Unless you’re a good friend, a close family member, or a doctor, you may not be privvy to that information. Although it’s usually well-meaning, asking a woman when she’s having another baby is a very personal question, and one that I wish people would stop asking.

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