“When are you having the next one?” I have been asked this question since my little girl turned one: “When are you having the next one?” To be honest, I really don’t like this question, though there is a part of me which has to guiltily acknowledge that I have possibly posed this to mothers, due to the societal expectation for fertile/married/partnered women to pop out offspring every two years.
It seems like a harmless question really, “When are you having the next one?”, but just like: “When are you getting married?” or “When are you planning on starting a family?”, it can be quite loaded for the questioned parties. It can be painful, or just too difficult to answer.
I can remember our difficulty in trying to conceive our first, after some medication left me with cysts, a blighted ovum, thin uterine wall, and a very early pregnancy loss. It was very hard, turning up to baby showers, having well-meaning folk ask, “So…when are you having one?” whilst indicating warmly at the heavily pregnant woman in the corner.
I found myself wondering how to provide a socially acceptable answer, which didn’t leave the other person feeling horrendous for asking. I’d dodge it by murmuring mildly, “Ah, yes. Well, one day. It will happen when it happens”, and reach for a mini quiche so I didn’t have to talk anymore.
Very recently, within this past month actually, I had a chemical pregnancy. We were completely surprised to see the faint line on the home pregnancy test, as we are just in the middle of moving overseas. But we grew used to the idea of a new little bundle. Then it ended. Very quickly, and quietly. And I thanked the little one for being a part of my life, even if only for a short time.
But of course, this month has been the month of questions. To be asked that question whilst you are quietly passing out a chemical pregnancy, what do you say? Or just over the past couple of days, I have been asked no less than three times, “When is the next one?”. And it hurts a little.
Like countless women before me, I take a deep breath, shrug, and smile brightly, “Not just yet. Waiting until we are all settled before I think about having the next one”, when all I want to do is say “This is a very private question. I didn’t think my fertility and reproductive capabilities were of such interest to you.”
They don’t mean any harm, it is a perfectly socially acceptable question to ask apparently. But it doesn’t make it any easier. Especially as there seems to be no socially acceptable answer.
I’m not writing this article for sympathy, I am writing it for awareness for mums who struggle to fall pregnant again, for women who are happy with one baby, and for those who have heard that question multiple times and are worn down trying to find a diplomatic way to answer it without upsetting/punching anyone.
I am writing it, so that hopefully people can either stop asking it, or, if they can’t, be prepared for an honest answer which may or may not be what they want to hear. I am writing this to salute the women in my life, some of whom are regular travellers done this well-worn path.
I am blessed to have my little daughter. She has been my ray of sunshine through this mini storm that we are sailing through. She is healthy, loving and happy. If I never have number two, I will be content, as she is my miracle, as all babies are. I am blessed indeed.
Written by Beck Hendropurnomo 
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