We gathered in the center of our cubicle farm—the four women I share the space with stood around my desk. I am new in the office and they were asking me about my son. They wanted to see pictures and asked me about his age, his height, and told me that he has my eyes and my nose.
Then came the inevitable question: “When are you having another one? You are having another one, right?”
This happened just the day after I read an article about what not to say to first-time mothers. That article came on the heels of several others with a similar angle: What not to ask pregnant women. The 10 worst things to say to parents of twins. What no mother of boys ever wants to hear. Even something about what not to say to people who are going through dietary changes around the holidays. I am pretty sure that the question my co-workers asked me would have qualified for one of these no-no lists.
I know that these articles are usually meant to poke fun at wildly inappropriate people, but the articles’ prevalence always make me wonder: At what point—and especially why—did we come to assume that the questions and comments about pregnant bellies, dietary preferences, or child-rearing choices are malicious? Yes, the questions are sometimes silly, or too personal, or too ick-inducing. But can’t we just talk?