It felt like every week I was at the grocery store. I would pull into a cashier’s lane, load my groceries on the conveyor belt, and pull my cart towards the end. One look at my precious boy’s face, and I got all the coos and oohs and aahs. “What pretty eyes.” “He’s so sweet.” “He’s so cute.” “He’s so good.”
And then the next question inevitably came. “When are you going to have another?”
Even though the question came every week, it still caught me off guard. It took me five years to bring this little boy home. Through unknowns and losses. Getting pregnant, for me, is a gamble. It’s going face first into massive unknowns. It’s a huge leap of literal faith to get to the other side of a pregnancy.
And they are asking me to do it again.
Of course, they don’t know my story. Sometimes, I give them a TL;DR version, impressing upon the fact that it’s scary for me to get pregnant. It doesn’t mean I won’t do it again. It just means that there are a lot of steps between here and there.
Sometimes, that helps. And sometimes it just fuels more uncomfortable questions while I’m trying to type in my member rewards number and pay for my groceries. They are asking me to do something I have little to no control over. But pregnancy isn’t talked about that way. It’s talked about like “if you stare at your husband too long, you get pregnant,” and “if you get pregnant, you have a baby.” When it doesn’t work that way for a lot of women. At. All.
I wouldn’t walk away so annoyed if I didn’t know that there were other things to talk about in the world. Weather. Groceries I’m buying. Even how old my son is or what our plans are for the weekend. Fun trivia facts. I might even delve into politics and religion if it meant avoiding the baby talk.
Actually, most of the time, I’m not annoyed. I know that our culture has made it okay for women to be asked about their reproductive decisions, and that it’s okay to make judgment calls on these decisions. Even though these really aren’t okay, it’s hard to make a big ship turn around quickly.
That’s why I keep writing about this. Because our culture has made these questions and comments common, it can feel isolating when you can’t answer them with the common answers and reactions. But you aren’t alone. And maybe one day, one interaction at a time, we might change the conversation. Even in the grocery line.