Would you like to be a member of our research panel? Join here - there's (nearly) always a great incentive offered for your views.
ZOMBIE THREAD ALERT: This thread hasn't been posted on for a while.
"Was it planned?" and other stupid questions people ask...(91 Posts)
It really took me off guard this morning when I told my colleague (currently only working with a director and her, administrator starts in 2 weeks). Her FIRST comment, the very FIRST: Wow, was it planned??
It might be because I am doing a PhD so surprises people that I might want to be pregnant, but still. Are they asking if a condom broke? If my contraception didn't work or if I was so stupid as to decide to get pregnant now? How much detail about my sex life are they looking for? It makes me feel really uncomfortable because there's obviously a value judgement attached to whatever answer I give. If she had asked if I was happy, that would be different. Maybe I'm being unreasonable, but I didn't know how to respond, "errr, well, hmmm,.... you know...." and she waited and waited for a response!
I have a feeling this is going to happen again, any suggestions - including wise ass retorts - would be awesome!
I know it's just one of many inappropriate questions yet to come, but I'd like to build up an arsenal of responses! Any other stupid questions you keep being asked and have good answers for are also welcome!!
oh i hated this question, i had 2 standard replies depending on who asked:
1) wait until you are pregnant you will see how annoying that question is
2) why would you even ask that?
My Mum asked me that, again first thing she said.
My hair dresser asked me that. Didn't bother me in the slightest. I'm much older than the average first time mum, and so the general assumption is either the bump is a mistake, or a long awaited IVF baby. I'm quite happy to say 'yes, absolutely, the old biological clock finally caught up with me'.
Why do you need wise ass retorts? I don't get this offended attitude pregnant women take about everything from the odd foot in mouth comments people make, to unwanted bump touching. Just be nice. No one is trying to offend you. Most are just making conversation, and to be honest outside of immediate family and close friends no one actually has any genuine interest in your pregnancy. It's a bit like the random comments people might make about someone's new decor/car/pet... Not meant to be rude, but often are, as people don't actually care enough to think!
No-one's asked me that, but a couple of people have said 'But we thought you weren't having kids'... looks like my own propaganda worked.
Anyway, Like Worsester says, it's really that people don't really care enough to think and just need something to say in a hurry.
Get used to the comments, they will be coming thick and fast for the next 18 years or so... I just ignore anything I don't want to answer and change the subject, if its a stranger then no issue, if its someone I know then I offer up something about bowel habits or milk supply, they soon get the message. However, bump touching is strictly off limits and deserves to be met with a slap. I don't go around touching strangers stomachs, and that is way over the bounds for me. Not even my own mother was allowed. Your body, you choose what goes on IMO. But the comments, that's the way it goes I'm afraid!
FIL: "oh are you after one without a spout?" (we have 2 ds's). Our response of 'no, we just want a third child, don't care whether a boy or a girl' just sounded so bleh in response. I'd love a witty response to any other 'oh are you just after a girl' reactions, which I'm sure we'll get. I just got this undeniable urge to go and poke his eyes out .
I think the question of 'is it planned' is offensive because ...
a) it's highly personal
b) it sort of suggests or implies the baby isn't wanted.
BTW OP, I was asked that when I announced our news question 3 months after getting married at 30. If ever there was an 'expected' time to get pregnant.
I've been asked by two members of DHs family 'how did that happen?' I'm tempted to buy them a where-do-babies-come-from picture book.
Mother-in-law asked that She didn't mean any offence and I didn't take any.
Honestly I don't think people mean any harm by it, or are particularly interested in your sex life. It's just an inane baby-related comment, of which you'll hear thousands over the next few months. Just smile and say something non-committal like "well, we're really happy about it".
Hmm, someone at work asked me that. I think it's rude - it's suggests that you're either bonkers to want to have a baby in your position or feckless. Or both.
I will smile sweetly and say Congratulations if / when the same woman tells me that she is pregnant.
Thinking about why people might ask if a baby is planned, maybe the question just slips out because they have been taken by surprise by your announcement (the subtext being, oh, wow, you're pregnant, what a surprise, was it planned or was it a surprise for you too?).
I don't think a "clever" response is necessary.
I've never been asked silly questions but when we announced to MIL and FIL that we were expecting they shouted 'omg we're going to be grandparents!!' which wouldn't be so bad if DP's brother didn't have stepchildren with his new partner.
I cringed soooo hard and could see my SIL/BIL doing the same (luckily the kids weren't there). Particularly because when DP and I spoke about how we'd announce it he'd suggested 'you're going to be grandparents' and I totally vetoed it because I thought his brother and brother's partner would be really hurt by that.
They didn't mean it to sound hurtful but my heart really did break for SIL.
Sheep - this is what I'm waiting for! I have 2 DS and guarantee that when we go public everyone will think its ok to go 'is it because you want a girl' and then when we get nearer to 20 weeks it will be 'oh so you will be finding out what you're having wont you?' - which actually I won't, as it just fuels people like that to whisper 'it's because she wants a girl'
Although my mum will be desperate for me to find out as, and I quote, 'we only want another grandchild if it's a pink one'
I feel your rage. Gosh its an idiotic question I wouldn't even bother to answer it!! Maybe just respond with 'well thats an intersting question' then let them squirm for a bit when they realise what a strange thing it is to ask. I completely understand what you mean about studying and being pregnant, I am in the third year of an undergrad after many gap years I am 33 now, decided to go back to school. I know nowhere near a phd, but... Well we were trying for over a year, a few strategic breaks for exams and such, but I thought, women work and get pregnant so why wait!
I like to ask if it was planned. Because I love to know about unexpected twists and turns in other people's lives. I like surprises, I wonder how other people feel about them.
I was unplanned. So was DH. So were all our siblings and most our parents & our own children. No shame in it. <<Shrug>>
Oh god! I did this once and I STILL cringe. I don't know why I asked it - and she's a friend I met through MN. It was just a thing to say. Fuck knows why.
Haven't checked the thread to see if she mentioned it <cringe cringe cringe>
I have also been asked 'was it planned' and also (by SIL) 'how long did it take'. Took me by surprise a bit and I didn't manage to reply at the time. Should have said 'um...about 3 minutes'
I often get asked whether we'd been trying for a long time (again, I'm older and everyone had given up on us having children). It doesn't bother me at all - in fact I'm somewhat flattered that people are interested in my pregnancy and our family planning... If questions do truly offend you then a vague reply 'oh, you know...' or 'yeah, sort of... not really' or a joke tends to deflect the question. As someone else said, I doubt anyone is overtly trying to offend you, they're either interested, nosey or tactless, depending on your pov...
Not so much a question, but I keep being asked/told "you're still here?" (As in, 'you haven't had the baby yet'?) - I know they just mean it as general chat, but when you already feel huge/tired it gets irritating!
I have asked really close friends this question (as I was genuinely curious and at the time DH and I were talking about kids but hadn't decided to actively try), but for anyone else I wouldn't DARE ask that. I wonder what motivates people to ask that question.
I got pregnant on honeymoon and a surprising number of people have had the audacity to ask me whether it was a slip up before the wedding. I mean, it's not like you have to be married these days to have a child together, but seriously, what a ridiculously personal question to ask someone.
I've also been asked whether I'm having triplets. TRIPLETS (I'm having a singleton FAOD). Cheeky cow.
I was asked if it was planned and how long we'd been trying by s friend but I think she was hinting that she thought i should have told her before, I waited til I'd had a scan too cos I wanted to be sure everything was ok.
We have 2 ds' and am waiting for the 'are you trying for a girl' which we weren't, it'll be sil who'll say it as they will soon have one of each and that's perfect apparantly so I must want a girl!
Thanks for all the responses, interesting + food for thought + some made me laugh.
I should say - though I see it came off that way - that I wasn't offended. I know my colleague and she's really not like that. Just really uncomfortable. I can see, as someone pointed out above, that she was probably really surprised herself and not sure what to say. I wouldn't hold it against her, as I'm sure your friend doesn't offorfox!
I was just really taken aback and want to be better prepared for the next time I'm asked!
Oh I got a stunner from my MIL, we told them I was pregnant and she said "oh lovely, have you don't this because your hours have been cut(at work)?" -her exact words.
All I could do was stare at her like she's just smacked me with a trout.
Followed by Erm, no, and a raised eyebrow from me lol.
To which she then realised shed just accused me of deliberately knocking myself up with an unwanted child and trapping her son (totally the opposite btw we had been trying, this she knew because dh can't keep shtum, and were married with children already etc) and promptly followed with "ill just put the kettle on shall I?"
Quite funny now but I wasn't amused then
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.