Please Stop Asking About My Uterus

Brian and I have been married for three years, and we’re nearing 30, so the question of children comes up more and more frequently these days. Many of our friends are starting to have babies (or at least starting to think seriously about having babies), so it’s a hot topic of conversation. This is all normal and fine. We’re not there yet, but I do like talking with friends or family members about future plans, and I don’t mind good-natured kidding about the imminent pitter-patter of little feet. I get jokes.

baby booties

What I do not like, however, is total strangers or remote acquaintances prying into my reproductive plans. It happens all the time, and it’s rude and it’s weird and it’s none of their business. Apparently, after you’ve been married five minutes, people who know nothing about you think it’s OK to discuss your lady parts. This is how the conversation usually goes:

Woman I’ve Never Met Before (at a party or barbecue or Navy function): So, do you have children?

Me: No, not yet.

Woman: How long have you been married? When are you going to have kids? You shouldn’t wait too long, you know! Young people always think they have so much time, but by 35… (knowing chuckle, implication that my uterus will become menacing and inhospitable any minute now)

Me: Well, we’ve only been married three years, so we’re not in a hurry. Plus, we’re really enjoying living in Italy and traveling and drinking wine and eating unpasteurized cheese… (trying to change the subject) Speaking of which, do you have any fun trips planned soon…?

Woman: Well, you say that now, but I know so many couples who have gotten pregnant here! There must be something in the water.

Me: (Blink, blink)

Stop SAYING that. I can’t count the number of times I have heard that idiotic phrase in Hawaii and now in Naples, almost always from Navy folks and their spouses. There is nothing in the water. Navy people just have a lot of babies. There is no need to make up silly explanations for it; I know how this works.

I always want to respond: You know what I take with my water? Whiskey and Ortho Tri-Cyclen.

Photo credit


1 tracey { 02.12.12 at 8:38 am }

it would be hilarious if you responded that way. f ’em.

2 Margaret { 02.12.12 at 8:41 am }

That would be awesome! But ah, politics and that human urge to be likable and part of the community…

3 dk { 02.12.12 at 10:03 am }

Lol. I can just imagine your face after one of these conversations: -_-

Anyway, I won’t be inquiring about your lady bits anytime soon :)

Nice post!

4 Heather Shellen { 02.12.12 at 11:23 am }

Gill! To you I say AMEN! My rant is probably less like comment size and more like Memoir size (coming soon to a book store near you. Maybe….not really.) But yes, leave our reproductive organs alone! I have a more personal reason to be upset about all of it which I won’t get into here on the interweb but the truth is, you don’t know where women are coming from or what they are dealing with when it comes to making babies. And you know what else? It doesn’t stop after the first one! Charlie was hardly crowning and people were already asking me, “Are you gonna have another one?” ANOTHER ONE?? How about I figure out if I can even keep this one alive first.

Anywho, the point is, I am with you. And I will love you and your uterus whether or not there is a baby living in there.


PS: Whiskey? I am trying to love it. It is not easy.

5 NayNay { 02.12.12 at 12:57 pm }

HAHAHA. I heard whiskey washes Ortho Tri-Cyclen down wonderfully.

6 Gillian { 02.12.12 at 1:12 pm }

Tracey and Margaret, I think I’m gonna lose whatever is left of my filter one of these days.

Haha, DK, that is exactly what my hard face looks like! It’s OK, we’re allowed to talk about the adorable hapa kids we’ll have someday.

Heather, I love you and your rants. If you don’t know what someone’s story is, it’s not cool to get all up in her business about bebes. (BTW, Charlie is one of those trick babies who try to lure you in…) Mm, whiskey is pretty darn good. Try some with ginger ale.

NayNay, that’s what I heard, too!

7 Melia { 02.12.12 at 1:13 pm }

Amen, sister! It’s really insensitive for strangers to pry into your reproductive matters. I even hesitate to ask, “Do you have children?” until I’ve built trust with someone, because you never know what situation people are in. Maybe a couple is having trouble conceiving; maybe they aren’t having kids because they can’t afford to yet; maybe a woman has recently miscarried. It’s not in everyone’s life plan to have children now (or maybe ever). So butt out, people!

8 Gillian { 02.12.12 at 1:35 pm }

It’s true, it’s a loaded question, one I’ve been more cautious about asking as well. I’m tired of random people bugging me about having kids right this second because it’s not the right time, but it would be much worse if the situation were more complicated. Butt out indeed :)

9 Sara { 02.12.12 at 8:08 pm }

Ha! “You know what I take with my water? Whiskey and Ortho Tri-Cyclen.” You should totally respond with this.

People suck. They still demand why I can’t have more, and when I respond, “Well, I have an 85% chance of dying and having what happened to Sage happen all over again,” they seem to think that those aren’t bad odds, that “doctors are quacks” (the same ones that saved us, I guess), and that my daughter needs a playmate, which trumps, um, me being alive. I feel like wheedling them back about why they won’t adopt when we can do it for free in our state and so many kids need homes, but I tend to mind my own business… I guess I’m just a weirdie that way!

10 Gillian { 02.13.12 at 3:32 am }

You mean your health is more important than other people’s need for you to have more babies? So selfish, Sara! That is crazy — I can’t believe people would be so insensitive and obnoxious. Haha, you would be justified in shooting that response back — they’re lucky you’re a better person. (Also, ever hear of quality over quantity? If you have one rad kid like Sage, I think that’s much better than a busload of little monsters.)

11 Heather Shellen { 02.13.12 at 11:24 am }

Preach, Melia. PREACH!!!!

That is all. xo.

12 Patrice { 02.13.12 at 11:24 am }

My husband and I are moving on to our 4th year of marriage and dancing around 30 also. We have lived in Houston, Belize and now middle of nowhere East Texas. The conversation is the same wherever you go. Fine, ask if we have children, but why is the deemed appropriate follow up question: “Do you want to have children?”. What if we did and couldn’t? How would it make me feel if people kept asking that? Only one of many reasons that question is inappropriate. Regardless, we haven’t felt we have reached the point in our marriage that we are ready to have the “is it time for children conversation”. What makes it all the more worse, is both my husband and I are the oldest and only children in our families who are married. We get enough reminders from our direct families that grand kids would be nice at some point. Even they are more gentle than the perfect strangers probing into my reproductive values. The more painful dagger is the creeping sense of selfishness that seeps in from time to time. To most, we don’t have a valid reason for not having children. For us, the reason is validated each Saturday morning we stay in bed until 11 after having been out late the night before, or when we return from a weekend jaunt out of town for no particular reason. I am a woman with an expanding, enjoyable career and I have a husband I adore, what part of my life is void? Finally, to all the people who do want children or have them, Bravo! Just because children are not in my eminent future does not mean I do not want to hear how your little one is doing or celebrate in the joy of your pregnancy. I do not need all the gory details, but don’t feel like you have to avoid the topic of your pregnancy and precious child in my presence. I respect your reproductive values as long as you respect mine. Phew…had to let that out!

13 Gillian { 02.13.12 at 3:13 pm }

Let it out, lady! You’re among friends here. Why should you have to justify why you don’t want kids right now? Y’all are happy with your lives and with each other, and I think it’s wonderful to enjoy that time together. That doesn’t make you selfish. It’s pretty darn mature to recognize your own timeline and not drag a baby into the mix before you’re ready. I hear that once you have a kid, it’s a permanent deal, so people should let you enjoy your lazy weekend mornings and carefree travels without guilt-tripping.

14 Kathleen { 05.24.12 at 2:31 pm }

Amen to all of the above. Such a pet peeve. I’m not even married, let alone engaged yet, and I get the hints and nudges.

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