I had my first child when I was 18 years old; it was literally less than a month after my high school graduation and I was going into college. Needless to say, no one was rushing me to have another baby at the time.
So, I don’t think anything could have prepared me for how quickly people were going to be expecting me to plan another child after having my last one. It’s been mind-blowing! Literally, days after my now 9-month-old daughter was born, I was getting those questions: “When are y’all going to try for another?”, “So when is the next one?”, “Have y’all started thinking about when you’re gonna start trying again?”
Ladies. Gentlemen. I am 2 for 2 in having traumatic, unexpected, and complicated deliveries. Both required an epidural. Both happened weeks earlier than they were expected to occur. Both included NICU stays for the baby and ICU stays for me. Both were c-sections. And to top it off: the most recent one required TWO incisions in the shape of a “T”, a significant loss of blood, all while having the flu (which made the recovery process a nightmare)! Not to mention, I was in the hospital at the beginning of a global pandemic. Y’all. Let me breathe.
With all of that being said, my response has become a simple, universal “I’m not ready for that conversation”. It gets the point across that I am not ready to talk to you, my husband, or anyone else for that matter about further plans for my uterus. I can literally still feel the incision every day and am working very hard to reconstruct that part of my body so I can feel comfortable in the clothes I would like to wear. I can finally enjoy a good drink, grab an espresso when I need a pick-me-up, order a lovely Caesar salad or deli sandwich if I need to, and request my steak be cooked medium. I would like to just enjoy my body as MY body, and not a baby-harvesting, milk-producing machine. But I don’t say all of that. I don’t need to vent to everybody. I simply say, “I’m not ready for that conversation.”
Now, I want to be clear. I am well aware that most people who are asking these questions have good intentions. They are simply happy for my family and get joy from seeing our family expand. I get it. Totally. I’m even aware that I’m probably at fault for asking the same questions to other women at some point, and I have made it a point to be more aware of what I say when that topic comes up with other women. I do not want to bash those who ask about the possibility of a next baby, because my experience has not been that people just want to be nosy or invade.
However, it’s ok for you not to have an answer for them. You don’t have to say “1-2 years” or “whenever Susie gets into preschool” or “whenever we get a bigger home”, or whatever pops up in your head when someone asks you to give them a timeline of something you don’t have and truly aren’t ready to discuss. Telling that person, “I’m not ready for that conversation yet” means I don’t have an answer for that AND I want to talk about that right now, without being rude or making it awkward. (Disclaimer: Obviously it’s your body, and it’s important to choose yourself over niceties sometimes, but let’s be honest. No one wants to go off of Aunt Sheryl or Cousin Whitney and make the whole room feel uncomfortable. But we DO want to get our point across.)
So, stand firm in it! You can say it with a smile. You can say it with a side-eye. You can say it with frustration or exasperation. You can say it with an assertion. You can say it with glee. It’s your body and your business, ladies. You have that conversation only when and if you’re ready. When those Christmas zoom calls and FaceTimes come from family and friends who may want to know when to expect that next baby, remember to let them know you’re just “not ready for that conversation.”
Leonis Rousseve lives with her family in New Orleans East. Originally from Lafayette, LA, she has been living in NOLA for about 9 years. She has been married for almost two years and is the mother of a 6-month-old daughter and 13-year-old son. Leonis works remotely as a social worker with a major health insurance company. She enjoys reading, binge-watching TV shows, and hanging out with friends and family at festivals, brunches, Saints parties, and other fun activities in NOLA!