As mentioned in What happens when your baby is born into intensive care?, things can get scary and not go according to plan when having a baby. There’s also the simple reality that couples can have difficulty becoming pregnant in the first place.
Guess what? The way people talk about pregnancy, births and infants is often all kinds of inappropriate. I’ve experienced such moments far more times than I recall. This is because my life has moved into areas that not everyone has known first hand.
I’m here to help you be less of a (unknowing) dick to people.
Are you going to have another one?
They might not want another child. Maybe they’ve planned to have one and you’re assuming to have them explain themselves? You shouldn’t be asking in the first place, but everyone constantly asks this one. It’s a top 3 question upon meeting a new baby. When’s the second album?
Imagine though, that they wish they could have another one. They might have struggled for months and even years to become pregnant this first time. You’re being a dick.
A sub-species of the first question. Our son is actually a twin and his brother passed away. Imagine how this two-word question has made us feel the infinite number of times it’s been asked. You’re being a dick. How about, “Amazing, how old is he?”
Where’s the other one?
Again, strangely we’ve been asked this a stupid number of times.
Most often by medical staff, doctors and nurses, who read the top of our son’s documents noting that he’s a twin: “So where’s the other one?”
You work in the field, have some bare essence of awareness and make the leap. Or you know, just read the rest of the form.
Oh did you mean for this to happen?
Me and my partner look younger than we are, in our early 30s still being asked for ID by kids working in bars who look 15. Due to looking young, well over half of the people we met assumed we were in our early 20s and our baby was an accidental pregnancy. They were full of paternal concern for our unfortunate situation.
Our son was a planned adventure. But even if he wasn’t why are you asking us that anyways? What’s your best case scenario for a response?
Be mindful. It’s ridiculously easy to not be a dick.