“So? Do you want kids?” or “How’s your childbearing situation?” You’ve certainly heard these and similar questions more than once, and at first you may not have reacted particularly confidently or perhaps even snottily. How to understand these questions and how to deal with them appropriately?
Behind the questions are usually curiosity and sympathy
If you look at it objectively, such questions show interest in the other person and you can assume in a positive sense that someone takes an interest. Now these phrases don’t just come from friends and family. Sociologists think it’s human. We humans are social beings and we function in relationships.
However, behind such questions is often not curiosity, but judgment. Every society has its conventions. Everyone has their idea of what they think is right and what they don’t. If someone else does something that does not fit into this idea or convention, it can be irritating. It seems strange. So it’s quite possible that someone is using such remarks to express that they find something unusual. Also as a message: You’re weird, you’re doing it wrong.
This phenomenon can be observed more and more frequently in both directions: both as a lack of understanding of childlessness and the desire to have children. And both often combined with accusations of selfishness.
What is the best way to react?
Often these questions catch you off guard. Especially when they come from people where you didn’t expect it at all, like a casually known colleague from the other department or distant relatives at a family reunion. They are quickly perceived as disrespectful and encroaching. Perhaps the demand also hits a sore spot, such as an unfulfilled desire to have children or a miscarriage.
An indication that one’s own limits have been exceeded and one feels attacked is an angry reaction. Or you are surprised and start to explain yourself even though you don’t really want to.
How to respond confidently to sayings? Possibly the best way to do this is to use a rule: short, not very emotional and with a friendly smile. For example, one might reply: “For us, it is just right as it is.”
An elegant response would also be: Instead of replying, start another topic. This behavior signals to the other person: I don’t want to talk about that. Most people would realize that this is the end of the subject.
But you can also approach it humorously and exclaim: “That’s a cute question!” and then change the subject.
What to do in case of stubbornness?
Unfortunately, there are also incorrigible people who follow up, give tips, or keep banging out slogans. Then you’re allowed to get more drastic and say you’re starting to find it annoying. If you experience such situations again and again, it helps to have certain answers in mind. For example, you can formulate counter-questions such as: “How is your husband, by the way?”.
We advise you not to invest too much energy in possible arguments with your colleagues, friends or acquaintances. This can often lead to major upsets and then burdens the further togetherness. If someone goes beyond your limits repeatedly, even though it has already been signaled to him or her more than once, there probably won’t be much you can do about it.
Here it is advisable to make it politely but firmly clear that you do not wish to discuss this topic, ignore further enquiries and leave the situation if necessary.
- Conversation between two women: Tirachard - pexels.com