Q: I know I can’t be alone in this. Ever since I got married, it seems that my interactions with kids are seen as “practice” for my own future children. People I hardly know hear that I’m babysitting my infant nephew and tell me, “Have fun practicing!” People I know fairly well, but with whom I’ve never discussed my ovarian dreams, hear that I work at a children’s hospital and tell me, “You’re going to be such a good mom!”
Given that I’ve never talked with these people about my desire to be a mom, the comments feel intrusive to me. The first assumption is that since I’m a married woman, I want to have child after child. Maybe I simply love interacting with kids but don’t want to have my own. The second assumption is that if I want to have kids, I will be able to conceive and bear a child. The possibility of this not being the case is a daily reality for me—I work in a children’s hospital and see maternal and fetal medical anomalies every day.
As full disclosure, I love kids. And yes, my husband and I want to have kids. Within the next few months, we’ll be pulling the goalie. (…In the meantime, my husband jokes that the only “practicing” we’re doing is the making of a child, not the having of a child!)
My question is this: How do I respond to these statements of assumed motherhood in a way that protects myself and also supports other feminist women who bristle against similar statements?
Have you encountered similar assumptions? Is there a polite way to tell people that it’s not their business? Sound off in the comments!