By Sonia-Jane Acheson
That conversation, the one you just can’t understand why anyone would start….”When do you think you will start a family? You know you need to be aware of that ticking clock..!”
“Oh my goodness, No, I didn’t know! Thank you so much for telling me. Now how about you go and f**k right off . . ” (I reply in my head).
Now this may not be the politest response, and swearing at a friend is never a good idea, but do tell me, why are we continually concerned about not offending others, prioritising how they feel, instead of protecting our own feelings?
The number of conversations I have had with my girlfriends and women in my energy groups, all sharing experiences and inappropriate encounters they have had, usually with young females, is breath-taking.
Why do some people still think it is okay to ask you when you’re having children? Let’s be clear here….
This isn’t just close friends and family, which still can be incredibly annoying and often rude; no, these are colleagues, acquaintances, distant removed family members and even your mate’s sister’s cousin?!
I have thought over and over about all the possible responses to these varying tactless questions, and no matter how many I list, it still comes down to it being an incredibly personal and independent response.
Your responses can range from light-hearted, funny, abrupt and educational
The main thing is, to have a couple of responses hidden inside your amour, ready to pull out – responses that you know will cut short the awkward topic of conversation, in a way that you remain in control and unshaken.We know not everyone has decorum, manners or even a shred of tact, so you will have to somehow find your inner strength when executing these.
Questions can come from anyone at any time, so whether you are having a powerfully strong day or a particularly low mood day, it is really very dependent on where you are emotionally, at what response will come out.
You need to be prepared
Being on same page as your partner about this is also incredibly important, especially knowing when or whether to jump in and help the other out at a social or family occasion.
Right at the top through gritted teeth, are your usual polite and very synced replies:
- “Oh yes of course, just not yet”
- “Oh yes in time, we’ve only been married a week!”
- “Yes absolutely, we still have a lot of travelling to do”
- “Oh we’re moving to a bigger home first”
- “Ah we are still being a little selfish for a while, then kids”
- “We’re waiting for the . . “
Blah blah blah as the list goes on…polite sentences that seemingly just fly out of your mouth. You don’t mean to offend. You mean to self-preserve.
The problem with the responses above is that they leave the conversation open. It allows further awkward and hugely upsetting comments:
‘’Well, you don’t want to wait too long”, and “You can do all that with kids as well you know”.
So my darling, here are my suggestions on how to deal with the question “Have you thought about having babies yet?
1)“No”. FULL STOP. Silence. Know that “No” IS a complete sentence
With a gentle soft stare, possible head tilt and slightly raise eyebrow, until they hopefully walk away, or once you feel they have felt the imaginary dagger tickling at their voice box, you can.
Yes, this is a lie. However, it is also a very personal question and one not to be discussed in the workplace kitchen, whilst Bill and Julie from Accounts are gassing behind you about bagels at lunch!
If you say this without Intention to hold truth, then for me, it is a safe boundary you are entitled to set and hold in order to protect your Self.
2) “Oh we were thinking, Thursday 11th November at 11pm, how does this sound for you?”
Yes, a little tongue and cheek here and often you’ll find an awkward pause. Waiting for a giggle or a laugh. Welcome the pause and allow it to permeate through your questioner.
They’ve earned it, give them the respect to allow them to feel it! We are obsessed by filling silences.
Don’t. Please Don’t.
3) “Why?” This does leave it open, as it bounces the questions back to them
While they too are now questioning their ‘non of your actual business’ question. This gives you a moment to breathe in deeply and gently gather your thoughts. Your next move can simply be “Really (?)”.
A powerful return without saying too much – you have bounced their question back to them.
4) Paraphrase or repeat verbatim the question back to them “Have you thought about having babies yet?”.
Often when we return a question back to someone, they realise that it’s either inappropriate, rude or unnecessary and they tend to retract it or mumble away. People also love to talk about themselves, so if they do actually pick up on this, let them ramble on, hoping it has deferred you from answering and by this time you can make your excuses to leave the conversation, place or space completely.
5) LASTLY BUT DEFINITELY NOT LEAST . . . – I have kept this one to the end, as it’s my absolute favourite.
It’s more of a shared story than a suggestion, however, as this one just blurted out of a friend in the office one day, it just may be useful for you too.
When a male colleague at work asked my friend when she was starting a family, in the middle of a hugely busy corporate reception area she replied.
“Are you actually asking me, firstly, if I’m having unprotected sex with my partner? and secondly, how often we’re having sex in order to start this family you speak of?” She looked at him.
He starred back her, in complete shock, fumbling and mumbling. As she witnessed his face turning bright red he skittered off in hast. I absolutely LOVE this story. There are soooo many reasons in this context that this is such a highly inappropriate question, HR anyone?
This was a strong powerhouse Woman day and I know they’re not all like this. Yet know that this is ALWAYS within you my darling.
The strength, courage, power and gumption is always within you to protect, hold and remain loving and kind to your Self
So, my beauty, be gentle, loving and kind with You today and in the coming weeks as the questions continue. Keep your Self safe, well and share only with those you choose, trust and love. Those are the ones who are holding your hand in this journey.
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