Answering “Will You Have Another Baby?” Honestly

My husband and I often get questions about the possibility of baby #2. I understand this. Roy’s over a year old now. Will he always bear the full brunt of our enthusiastic parental adoration? Will he have to share the spotlight with a sibling? The people want to know. I’m positive that in the past, I’ve asked the exact same thing of others.

Still, when I hear, “Are you going to have another one?” it takes me off guard. I’m an honest person, sometimes to a fault. Please don’t ask me what I think about that dress unless you really want to know. Plus, I’m pretty uncomfortable with small talk. I’d rather have one, long conversation than 20 short ones. So when I hear that big question, my head swims with the long, honest answer, which involves a lot of heavy stuff including (but not limited to) money, sex, death, fertility and therapy. I’m guessing that’s not the answer most are looking for.

Then I decided that if I can manage to answer, “How are you?” with a simple, “Fine, thanks,” or “I’ve been better,” I can provide a concise, honest response to the passing, “Are you going to have another one?” Lately, I’ve settled on one word: Maybe. Because it’s true. It’s not a “no.” It’s not a “yes.” Which is accurate. Maybe we will have another one.

Usually, this is enough. The conversation spirals into why they were happy with one, or with more than one, and I’m content to take the story in and forgo the spotlight. Every once in a while, I get, “Well, you’re not getting any younger.” Most days, this does not bother me, because it is true. I am not getting any younger. Neither are you. Each and every one of us is getting older by the moment. I do realize the speaker is likely trying to tactfully refer to my ovaries. But that gives me the right to tactfully take things existentially, rather than personally, right?

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  1. by Betsy

    On June 25, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Gotta’ chime in on this one, too! We get similar questions, in fact just last night we were told “It’s time to have another one. Maybe twins!” Well, we WERE pregnant with twins last year, with a lost pregnancy both before and after the twins. People just don’t think of all the possible circumstances, and really should. Had I heard that twins comment a year ago, I would have started sobbing instantly!

    I know they all mean well, and it IS just small talk, but REALLY! How about the weather instead?

  2. by Berit

    On June 26, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Betsy, I am so sorry. Heartbreaking. This is exactly what I mean. For so many of us (most?), the answer is not light and simple.

  3. by Betsy

    On June 26, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Very true. My theory: if you don’t know me well enough that you have to ask the question, do not to go there.

  4. by JS

    On June 26, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    I’m the 46-year-old dad of a two-year old. I tell people, “Definitely, in about five or ten years…”

  5. by Courtney

    On June 26, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    I say no. right now my family is perfect just the three of us. the next pregnancy would have to be a suprise unplanned miracle.

  6. by Sara

    On June 27, 2011 at 8:54 am

    I have asked this and severely regretted it. The older I get, the more I have realized that any questions around childbirth are off limits. I like JS’s response! Perfect.

  7. by Eve

    On June 27, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Well, I feel lame, as I recently asked you this. In all honesty, I did want to know the answer, as we have both had a child in the last 18 months. I find myself asking mom’s this who are in the same boat. I think I want some validation. We are struggling with the question, and for the same reasons. I have had to put a filter in place so I don’t say, “if I didn’t have to shell out $1500-1800 a month for child care I’d do it in a heart beat.” Yikes.

  8. by Berit

    On June 27, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Eve, to further complicate things: I really didn’t mind when you asked me, I think because as you say, we’re in similar situations and so going through similar thought processes, I assume. That feels more like commiseration than pressure, etc.

  9. by katie

    On June 27, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Wahhh! There are so many questions around child things that are off limits, and people don’t understand that in this day an age of tell-alls, some things still remain private. Sometimes asking in context of the conversation is OK, but mostly not. (Although there are many that are just looking for validation or reassurance.) I have several friends with fertility issues, and I know how those questions have affected them, so I try not to ask anyone *anything* and just let them *tell* me instead. Part of listening is hearing what’s NOT being brought up.

  10. by Stefanie

    On July 4, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    On the other side of that, if you were expecting number two, people would feel the need to comment on the closeness in age, and perhaps even imply you “can’t control yourselves”. People just don’t know how to get a chat going sometimes without one of THOSE questions. I like to have funny retorts prepared for such questions…I like the idea that everyone is getting older…perhaps throwing out an ” I’d have 12 if it kept me from aging” could get a whole new chat going!

  11. by Molly Guthrey

    On July 14, 2011 at 9:22 am

    sometimes I answer awkward questions like this with sarcastic humor. Like, if someone says that you’re not getting any younger, you could look confused and say, “What, you don’t think so? Well, then, my dermatologist has some explaining to do!”