Don’t Ask

I have a small favor to ask the folks who don’t know me very well, yet insist on asking me when I’m having children: Please stop.

I mean, I know you’re probably just trying to make friendly conversation. Or maybe you’re wondering why it’s been almost four years since I’ve gotten married and haven’t started talking about “trying” (a euphemism, by the way, which makes my ears seize up with second-hand embarrassment and my brain explode from TMI imagery).

Even if it was your business, Folks Who Don’t Know Me Very Well, there’s only one answer I can honestly give to your question: I have no idea.

Should I start sitting each of you down when the subject comes up, so that we can go over the many factors in my (and countless other couples’) lives that dictate baby-having plans?

Maybe I’ll build a PowerPoint presentation that details appropriate A1c levels for PWDs who want to get pregnant. I’ll include a couple of pages that outline the side effects of the Beta Blocker and ACE Inhibitor I started taking a few months ago. We can talk about Category C, D and X drugs and the relative odds of my giving birth to a six-eyed, gilled-and-flippered baby with mad telekinetic skills.

Perhaps I’m being dramatic, but still. As Kerri and Nici and Layne have all demonstrated, it’s more than possible to have Type 1 diabetes and give birth to a fat, happy baby. It’s also scary as hell, and takes an unthinkable amount of planning, testing, measuring and tracking. And the only thing that scares me more than being pregnant with Type 1 diabetes is the thought that I might never be pregnant with Type 1 diabetes. You never know, right?

Even if I wasn’t dealing with diabetes and idiopathic cardiomyopathy (translation: my heart’s weak, no one knows why, and it makes me feel like an idiot), asking me when I’m having children is asking me to predict the future — and I can’t do that. Maybe I’ll get my A1c back down below 7.0 and my heart back to normal in a jiffy, and bust out a litter by the time I’m 36. Maybe I’ll find an infant in a basket, floating down the St. Johns River or left on my doorstep. Maybe we’ll be one of those couples who adopts a couple of kids and then randomly and unexpectedly has one of our own. Maybe I’ll move to a farm and adopt a herd of pygmy goats, and turn into one of those people who talks about her “children” for several minutes before you realize she’s referring to pets instead of people.

Even if I wasn’t dealing with a single health issue — or, perhaps, especially because I am — my reproductive life shouldn’t be up for small-talk discussion. No one’s should. Ask me about my insulin pump. Ask me about my diagnosis. Ask me about carbohydrates and needles and my CGM. Ask me how much I weigh and how old I am.

Just don’t ask me when I’m having kids. I don’t have the answer.

If all else fails, I'll take nine.

Image via Mistvan/Wikimedia

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18 comments on “Don’t Ask

  1. krissy says:

    Can I just say, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! As a Type 1 for the better part of my life and now married for 8 years AND at the age where EVERY OTHER FEMALE in the same age bracket as me has a child/children by now or is pregnant OR is constantly talking about how she wants to be pregnant…..it was refreshing to read that its not just me with the “Oh, God, I don’t even know” response to the constant questioning! Maybe? Maybe not? I dunno? All perfectly rational answers from my perspective!

  2. Kim says:

    You speak my truth.

    “When are you having kids” always equates, in my mind, to “When are you two going to start having unprotected sex?”. It’s a rather creepy question, and I get it all the time. I made a post on my blog a while back, hoping that it could head off any further inquiries, but that doesn’t always work either. If I have news – I’ll share it, gladly. But until then – it’s just all kinds of awkward.

    Le Sigh.

  3. Jess says:

    I LOVE this! People ask me all the time too! What’s the deal with that?!? I should borrow some of your snappy comebacks next time someone asks me. My usual response is, “Why, I already have 14…” (number of students in my class). That usually gets some funny looks!

  4. April says:

    Great post! I can’t say that I know what it’s like…heck, I’m not even married. But the whole Diabetes-Pregnant thing is terrifying. Honestly, I think pregnancy in general is terrifying, but Type 1 adds a whole new level. I just don’t understand people that ask such personal questions and think its ok.

  5. Fiona says:

    Well said! Would you mind if printed this out, made about 100 copies and handed them out when someone asks me that question?

  6. Kerri. says:

    Immediately after our wedding, it became a *wink wink* “When are you having babies, you two?” festival. I couldn’t stand it. For all the reasons you outlined (minus the heart issue) and for several private ones of my own, we weren’t sure of anything … other than the fact that the questions about family didn’t help matters.

    And now that we have our daughter, you’d think they’d stop asking, right? I mean, we have one and everything went okay and it should be the end of the discussion, right?

    No.

    *wink wink* “When are you having another one?”

  7. Emma says:

    “And the only thing that scares me more than being pregnant with Type 1 diabetes is the thought that I might never be pregnant with Type 1 diabetes.”

    My sentiments exactly. Deciding to have children is a huge deal anyway – add diabetes on top of that & it’s positively gigantic. I, too, am terrified. If only people knew just how difficult preparing for a pregnancy would be… Thanks for expressing it so clearly!

  8. Stacey D. says:

    I could not agree with you more. And just wait until you’ve been married double that amount of time! The questions get even more persistent. I hardly even answer people anymore when they ask. Or tell them I have a child already (aka the hubby!). People cannot realize how sensitive a subject that is for some of us. Or they wouldn’t keep asking. I wish more than anything that I could just get pregnant + pop out a baby or even go and pick one from an adoption agency anywhere. But you know what? It doesn’t work that way. There are so many things to be considered when having a child. And how they are being considered is indeed the business of only you and your spouse. I am cetainly with you and wish that people would leave us the hell alone!

  9. Tina Kicklighter says:

    Bravo! I am constantly taken aback by the rudeness of People Who Don’t Know Me Very Well and the personal questions they ask. Well put, J!!

  10. Kaitake says:

    Ah, people can be incredibly insensitive when they think they’re being well meaning and friendly!

    I get the added drama of close family members deliberately NOT asking, as they know hubby has a vasectomy. So that must mean that I don’t want kids?? Um no, actually quite the opposite. And imagine our surprise and dismay when we went through a year if pre-IVF workup to discover we don’t qualify for publicly funded fertility treatment. So yeah, this post certainly hit a nerve for me. 😦

  11. Great post. Now, here I am, a guy: on the opposite side of that. And feeling THE SAME pressure from those same questions, from this side of the tango dance partnership. No, even us guys, would rather not get the questions – from those we know or don’t know well. Thank you very much. Now, I had a question to ask… about an “insulin pump”…

  12. Wendy says:

    Awesome!

    I don’t have diabetes, but my oldest daughter does.

    I’ve got 3 daughters and I’m 38.

    I can’t tell you HOW MANY TIMES some random stranger has asked if we’ll be “trying for a boy”.

    Just writing that makes me want to SCREAM!

  13. My Aunt, who just met our baby over Christmas, admitted that she didn’t think we’d ever have a kid because of my diabetes. You either get the “when are you having kids?” or you get the “you CANT have kids!! Haven’t you seen Steel Magnolias???” Diabetes, frustratingly, means that everyone thinks they can have an opinion on the state of your uterus.

  14. Elizabeth says:

    I’m amazed at what people think is their business, really! (And I find it obnoxious that people are asking you “when” rather than “if,” like it’s EVERY married woman’s goal to have babies.)

    I’ve been pretty lucky, honestly, in that I don’t get as many prying questions as some people tend to. It’s common to be asked if I have kids, and maybe a relative or two asked about when we’d have kids after I was married, but it was never too bad… and they stopped asking once I was diagnosed with diabetes, except for friends who knew we HAD been trying for a baby and were now curious to know how diabetes affected that.

    It’s probably very frustrating to be reminded of how complicated it all is, but maybe you can just brush people off with, “We’re not to that point yet, but thanks for asking.” My husband’s response was always, “We’re not trying yet, but we’re practicing!” Ha. 🙂

  15. Nicole says:

    Excellent post, and right-on. Especially about the pgymy goats.

  16. Sysy Morales says:

    LOVE this post. I’m the oldest of 6 (one of us didn’t make it so I’m the oldest of 5 now) and anyway I’m also “latina” and dang people I know are all about asking me that question. Now that I have the twins (I’m almost 28) people can’t help but ask me another senseless question, “oh honey, you can’t have two children, you don’t look old enough?” So now when people ask when I’m having more or how I even have two with diabetes, I just do this…I look them straight in the eye and just gaze until they start feeling self-conscious as if they might have said something weird. After a couple seconds of strange staring I suddenly break it up, smile and walk away.

    I swear it works every time hahahahaha.

    Anyway, you just do what you gotta/wanna do. We got your back!

  17. kate says:

    haha, i can also relate to this! married 5 years, have 1 daughter – which I carried and had a wonderful pregnancy – that was before I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. She was born when I was 28, I was diagnosed T1 at age 30.

    people keep asking “when we are going to give her a sibling” but they have no idea how complicated that is now. we want to, trust me! but it’s not so simple anymore.

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