My feed

to access all these features


To ask for discretion re future siblings in front of DD?

33 replies

RunningWithScissors · 11/05/2011 11:16

After many miscarriages, we are unable to have a sibling for DD (3). DD has asked to have a sibling, and has been told gently why she can't have one, but clearly won't really understand.

I am perfectly fine with people asking me whether we are going to have any more children, as it is a natural question to ask (even though I always have to paste a smile on while answering), but people quite frequently ask me when the next one will be on the way while DD is there.

I don't think that this is appropriate, and wouldn't do it to anyone else, just in case there is a problem of some sort; do you think IABU?

OP posts:
FabbyChic · 11/05/2011 11:19

It's a natural question to ask, people would not think there might be a problem, I do feel you are being unreasonable.

YOu can always just say time will tell.

RunningWithScissors · 11/05/2011 11:21

But FabbyChic, DD is hearing my answers to these questions...I wouldn't want to give her any flase hope. I'm absolutely fine if it's just me being asked.

OP posts:
Guildenstern · 11/05/2011 11:23

I don't think I understand - you've already told your daughter that you sadly can't have another child, so why can't she hear you tell this to other people?

Birdsgottafly · 11/05/2011 11:24

If you answer 'time will tell' they will ask again in the future. Just be honest in as much as 'we are not having any more, i don't want to discuss it'. It can be put nicely.

If you have one child people often don't think that there may be an issue with having another or that you haven't had issues previously.

Bramshott · 11/05/2011 11:25

Of course YANBU, but the thing is, people ask without thinking that it might be hurtful/difficult Sad.

Can you just have a stock answer like "that's not possible I'm afraid", with a smile which hopefully clearly indicates that you don't want to discuss it any further?

Hopefully as your DD gets older, people will stop asking quite so much.

Northeastgirl · 11/05/2011 11:25

I would never ask anyone if they were hoping to have a child, even if they had one already. Could you tell them (big a big fake grin on your face) that you're very happy with your daughter and have no plans for another child ie make it sound like it's your choice. If people are tactless and keep asking you why not, you can just stand your ground and say it was the right thing for you and your family. There are advantages of being an only child and if your DD sees you focussing on those, she may accept that approach

roomonthebroom · 11/05/2011 11:27

I'm so sorry for your losses :(

We are in a similar situation- DD is six and we won't be able to have any more (following an ectopic pregnancy and several failed IVFs).

We went to have lunch with one of DD's classmates and her stay at home dad. The guy is a total buffoon and most of the mum's give him a wide berth because of his inappropriate comments, but I though I'd give him a chance. When we were eating lunch he said to DD 'would you like a brother or sister?' DD looked at me as she is aware of the reasons for the lack of sibling, so I said 'OMG, I'd never thought of having another baby before you mentioned it, but now you have mentioned it, I'll head home now and get on with it. Come on DD, let's go now'. We got up and left. Apparently he told one of the other mums (who has an only DD for the same reasons as me)about it and she explained how insensitive he had been. He did apologise and perhaps I was rude to say that to him, but it was either that or burst into tears in front of someone I hardly knew.

So, no, YANBU at all.

Birdsgottafly · 11/05/2011 11:29

Your DD is to young to understand what having a sibling would actually mean to her. Does she see other babies in prams looking like dolls? The reality is different. Toddlers go through stages of wanting different things, if you had a baby she would probably be happy to swap it for a puppy or kitten afer a few months. My eldest had tried to do this deal in a pet shop.

Are you sure that it is not you having difficulty coming to terms with this and not your DD's reaction?

QueentessentialExcel · 11/05/2011 11:30

But does she need to know for definite at the age of three?
Most people dont let there really young children in on these things.

I have had these questions from ds1 and ds2. With ds1, we were planning a second, and we were still just saying "Time will tell".
With ds2 we knew we would not have any more, and again the stock answer is "time will tell". At some point they will no longer ask. They dont need to know the details, about infertility, or age, or really bad spd and pnd which would prohibit us from having a second. At that age it is not necessary, and in fact a bit cruel to dash all hopes.

If people you know, and will meet again ask, just say "time will tell" infront of your dd, and explain later that you cant have any more but prefer to not talk about it in front of dd.

ChristinedePizan · 11/05/2011 11:30

I would go with what Bramshott has said. It's such a difficult thing - people who have never had any fertility issues are crashingly insensitive about the issue IMO

RunningWithScissors · 11/05/2011 11:31

The way people ask is usually something along the lines of "ooh, when's your next baby going to join us?" (at nursery) "when's the next one on the way?" "when is DD going to get a little brother or sister?" etc; which I'm concerned that she might find confusing and upsetting.

I guess that it's to do with the fact that I find it upsetting to be regularly asked (and also find it fairly tactless, given that I'm on the wrong side of 40), but I'm used to it and expect it; I guess that I'm just trying to come to terms with the fact that she is now upset by the lack of a sibling as well.

OP posts:
roomonthebroom · 11/05/2011 11:34

You make an interesting point birds. My DD used to talk about wanting a brother or sister a lot which used to upset me, but now she doesn't mention it at all really and seems to accept it won't happen. I think she likes it being just the 3 of us, so it has become easier for me to say 'I can't have any more' without welling up. This response usually stops any further questioning too.

sleepingsowell · 11/05/2011 11:35

I think if YOU are matter of fact about it, so will your DD be.

If you're comfortable with it you could say something like "we can't have any more children but luckily for us we got it right first time with DD" or something like that?

and then she hears you being strong and fine about it plus it's some positive affirmation to her that not only is SHE great, but that you're more than happy with the family the way it is.

NerfHerder · 11/05/2011 11:38

It's so unfair that people ask these questions.

I hold my hands up and say I used to be one of those idiots, until I had a m/c myself.

Now I never ever ask- it's an unfair question, especially if your child is present.

I'm very sorry for your losses runningwithscissors. YANBU at all.

SagaciousCloud · 11/05/2011 11:40

I do understand, horrible isn't it, because I have been in the same situation myself. But you do need to find a way of dealing with this. Your DD will not at the moment understand any of the emotional nuances that you do, so this is your issue and not hers. Indeed she will probably ask you again and again for a sibling at completely random times.

With my DD, I told her (several times over the years) that I was too old to have any more children. With close friends and family (who really should have known better, but there you go), I told them I had one too many miscarriages.

With other people I told them either DH had had the snip (true) or that we just didn't want anymore children (not true on my part), and repeated as necessary. There is no need to say anything else.

GloriaSmut · 11/05/2011 11:41

I'm always amazed at the sheer nosiness of people - it would never, ever, occur to me to conjecture on future babies for precisely the reasons the OP mentions. My tactic with busybodies is basically to ignore the question or answer it as simply as possible but I can see that it is difficult to be non-committal without giving a small child false hope. Perhaps just "I'm afraid that isn't going to happen" would be the best response? Only it takes the most appalling cheek for the Nosey One to ask why and if they do I think I'd say, as politely as possible, "that's not something I'd like to discuss, thank you".

aldiwhore · 11/05/2011 11:42

I am having no more, pure choice, and yes the questions however well meaning are irritating, but for me there is no sadness attached. I wouldn't worry about your dd, my youngest is 3 and hears me saying 'we having no more' very often, I've told him and my eldest that both me and the husband are happy with our family, and left it at that.

You've been appropriately honest to your dd, and people will always ask, so I woudn't worry about her reaction. I think the issue is more related to your sadness and losses than about her... I don't mean that to sound harsh in any way and can't explain myself very well but as you've suffered so many losses the constant questions are bound to stir sadness in you.

I'd probably use the 'grapevine', much as I don't like gossip, if you tell a gossip that you can't have any more, soon enough those other mums at nursery will stop asking. One of the mums at pre-school recently lost her baby at 9 months, she told only the 'gossip' to avoid people asking where her baby was.... and it worked. There is unspoken support for her as she wished there to be, because she used the grapevine.

I'm sorry for your losses, and totally understand that the 'are you having more' questions will sting. x

stillfrazzled · 11/05/2011 12:00

TBH, after two mcs in 3 months last year and a very scary pregnancy (after which people actually asked whether I was DISAPPOINTED to be having another boy!) I favour honesty.

'After x number of mcs I doubt it will happen for us, but luckily we do have our fabulous DD' or similar.

Simple, truthful and hopefully educational, too.

Sorry for your losses.

Tee2072 · 11/05/2011 12:03

I actually think it is one of the rudest questions you can ask someone. I'm also unable to have more than one child and if people, especially 'strangers', push and push I tell them exactly why.

I will tell my son exactly why as well when he is old enough to understand Mama's health issues and how much of a miracle he was.

Em3978 · 11/05/2011 12:09

My usual answer (after 'Hell no! You must be joking!' - bad pregnancy etc first time round, amongst other things) is
'why would we want another when we got a fantastic one the first time round' :) tends to shut people up.

alternatively 'OOh do they sell babies at supermarkets now? cos thats the only way i'll manage another' that kinda works too.

It all depends what mood I'm in and who I'm talking to.

Acanthus · 11/05/2011 12:09

I'm sorry for your loss, OP.

I don't think a three yo will really be upset by the lack of a sibling for very long though, those that have them often find them an annoyance at that age!

Maybe she is picking up on your sadness about it. Or maybe she is less upset than you think she is? After all, even 3yo who lose a loved one don't react in remotely similar ways to adults or older children.

foreverondiet · 11/05/2011 12:25

How insensitive, I think the best answer might be along the lines of something like "sadly there will not be any more".

foreverondiet · 11/05/2011 12:28

On thinking about this, one of my friends had this, endless questions, eventually they decided they did want a sibling for their DS and so decided to look into adoption. Once they told people they were looking into adoption all the insensitive comments stopped.

Their younger DS is now 5, and the other one 16 so never say never!

gramercy · 11/05/2011 12:36

I really don't think people mean to be rude and tactless.

I remember asking people the same question years ago and then after experiencing infertility myself I was mortified that I was so crass. But until you have known the difficulty of conceiving or experienced miscarriages it just doesn't occur to you that others can't reproduce to order.

I used to answer people flippantly, such as "Why improve on perfection?" but in the end I just bluntly replied "Unfortunately I'm not able to have any more children." That shuts 'em up. And as time passes, people ask less. When ds was two people used to ask all the time, by the time he was four I think people begin to suspect that either you have decided not to have any more or you have some problems.

RunningWithScissors · 11/05/2011 12:51

Gramercy, I agree that people are not trying to be rude or tactless; I do think though that, even if I wasn't conversant with the concept of secondary infertility, I wouldn't ask a 40 something about future offspring.

I agree that this is probably something that will pass in the next couple of years as DD gets to 4 or 5; but seems to be peaking in its intensity at the moment.... I would say that I get asked on average about 3-4 times a week Confused

OP posts:
Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.