Friday, July 06, 2007

So...will you be having any more children?

People think they can ask new moms that question, especially if the baby isn't the firstborn. If the child is the newcomer to a large family (define large at any number you wish), folks might ask that with a laugh or with a semi-serious "how could you have more than the statistical average?" attitude. Either way, it's what the late Ann Landers would have called an MYOB -- a Mind Your Own Business.

When there's a disability in the mix, the questions and the disapproval grow exponentially.

I am hearing impaired. It may or may not be genetic; I don't know. There is no medical indication of the precise cause. I focus on treatment: hearing aids, training in lipreading, and the like. Most important, being hearing impaired doesn't disqualify me from bearing children or raising them.

My 15-year-old son, "Amigo", is blind and is on the autism spectrum. His vision impairment is genetic. Both Husband and I carry the gene for this autosomal recessive condition. No, we didn't know it, but it's really nobody's business but ours. Our daughter, "La Petite", may or may not be a carrier of this trait. It will only matter if the man she marries is also a carrier. Given that there is no test at this time (although there is a study in progress), she might never know. Should she have children, knowing that they might be blind? MYOB, turkeys. She'll make that decision. she knows more than anyone what it means to live with a blind person.

So...will you be having any more children? Or the other question: since you know your children might be disabled, will you have any more? Most of the time, I greeted that question with a blank stare. It really didn't deserve an answer. A business-style card that says, "Mind your own blankety blank business" would have been handy.

Well, new moms and moms-to-be, if you get that intrusive question, don't you wish you could just hand them this? Then you won't have to answer. Your questioners didn't deserve your time, anyway.


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9 Comments:

Blogger Karianna said...

Hmmm. This one hits me hard because I have a 6 year old son on the spectrum.

He was thrown out of preschool when I was first pregnant with his little brother.

One afternoon, he was running around a family-"friendly" restaurant. I ran after him, huge belly in tow. And of course I heard the comments about how DARE I have another child when my first was such a "brat!"

Originally we thought we would have three kids. Now that we have two high-energy boys, we're wondering about that plan!

But for someone else to question our desire to have more... cruel.

7/06/2007 1:56 PM  
Blogger Kimba said...

I am continual amazed that people just don't get it! There is a huge difference between asking a genuine question & being intrusive and inappropriate!
Thanks for stopping by, I enjoy reading your blogs.

7/06/2007 2:01 PM  
Blogger Jennifer aka Binky Bitch said...

Wow, it's really nobody elses business, now is it!?

Thanks for your comment at my blog. I also try to smile at people when they have a cranky baby, seeing as I am an expert at having cranky/colicky babies!

7/06/2007 2:50 PM  
Blogger Donetta said...

I have two special needs kids. Do I get the looks to, my shame I find an out when I say that they are adopted. This is a shame that I have allowed the answer. I know what it is to have that response from people. Life is life. They would ask me if I would adopt again knowing what I have now...At the Russian orphanage my son was on the side with the "un-adopt ables". The workers kept saying to me are you sure you want him?
"HE IS MY SON! I told them and then they (with amazement) stopped asking me. The Americans come over and want some perfect child.
Every child is perfect life does not give any of us guarantees. All life is life and I celebrate life. To bad other qualify it!
I'm sorry to hear of the hurtfulness you have experienced. Your kids sound wonderful!

7/06/2007 7:17 PM  
Blogger Tere said...

Yeah, that's definitely a MYOB!! People can be incredibly insensitive sometimes. Which is why I usually just tune them out and go about my business. It's that or constantly being frustrated at everyone for their stupidity!

7/06/2007 8:09 PM  
Blogger shannon said...

i'm not a fan of anyone asking "WHEN" we'll be having babies.

7/06/2007 8:12 PM  
Blogger Butrfly4404 said...

You know, THIS is why I don't like meeting new people! Really! THIS question! Because telling people that I have step-kids leads to asking if I have my *OWN* kids, which leads to telling them my daughter was stillborn which leads to (Seriously- EVERY time)..."So are you going to have another one?" I DO wish I could just say, "Well, that was rude!" But then I'd have less friends. People don't really mean any harm by it, but they should realize that it really isn't any of their business.

Also, about the genetics thing: My mom was pregnant with my sister when my brother died from heart disease - and THEN found out that she, too, had the heart disease and might not make it through labor. She did it anyway and EVERYONE asked her "Why would you do that?" MYOB! We also found out a few years later that my other brother inherited Retinitis Pigmentosa from her side of the family (alopecia areata too!). Man! was she upset! She had no way of knowing, but I don't think if she could have seen the other diseases popping up later, it would have changed her mind to have my sister.

Oops, that was long. Totally feel you on this, though! Good post.

7/07/2007 6:23 AM  
Anonymous Erin said...

People can be so rude. We just got home from vacation, and one night when we were out for ice cream a man looked at our 3 beautiful sons and said, "They have protection these days, you know." Can you believe that? Beyond rude, closer to fighting words.
My son is asperger's or PDD-NOS (he's a little between diagnoses right now), and at one point my husband and I questioned if that meant we shouldn't have any more children. I say balderdash. We have a wonderful 4 month old right now. We get asked ALL THE TIME whether or not we're done, and we are told that we should stop having babies. It makes me angry, quite frankly.
Thanks for this post, thanks for coming to my blog!

7/07/2007 1:05 PM  
Anonymous Jenna said...

I might have to punch someone who phrased the question as you reworded it to state what they really meant. I mean, seriously, punch. Friends of ours had a child with DS first, then had twins who were diagnosed with autism at 2 years and then had another child... and can't imagine their lives without ALL of their REALLY AWESOME kiddos. (I love those kids!) People need to think before they open their mouths!

(Blog Blasting!)

7/08/2007 11:46 AM  

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