“Was it planned?”
A mother has posted on UK website Mumsnet, asking how to deal with the question, and some of the responses she’s had are hilarious.
“About to go public next week on third pregnancy,” the mum, calling herself welliwasntexpectingthat wrote.
“So far have just told parents and both sets asked either, ‘Was it planned?’ or said, ‘I take it it wasn’t planned.’ I’m fine with this from them but I know I’ll get it from friends/colleagues, etc, and whilst I could say, ‘I’ll tell you when it becomes your business,’ I don’t want to, so how can I close it down politely?”
When you think about it, it is a pretty rude question. Basically, it translates to: “Did your birth control fail when you were having sex?” It’s not the sort of question you’d ask someone normally. But when you’re pregnant, it seems that the usual privacy conventions don’t apply.
Women replying to the post reported getting the question from all sorts of people – a mum at the school who’d never spoken to them before, the girl serving them at a bed shop, their boss, their accountant, etc.
Not surprisingly, some of the suggested answers weren’t the polite ones requested:
“A woman asked me three times, yes three times, and I couldn’t help myself, so I said, ‘Well, me and my husband were f***ing like rabbits without contraception. Does that answer your question?’ She looked awkward and needless to say didn’t ask me again.”
“‘Well, we know how it works so what do you think?’ has been my line. Or if I was moody, ‘Well, we weren't doing it up the bum so it was no surprise!’”
“A colleague of mine answered that question with a sweet smile and the words, ‘No, we were trying out a new brand of condom and I have given it ‘no stars on Amazon. Or it may have been my husband's fingernails. Now f*** off.’”
There were plenty of handy one-liners suggested:
"Sorry, I must have misheard you, I just thought you said, ‘Was it planned?’”
“Did you mean to be so rude?”
“Did you mean to wear that dress?”
LISTEN: Mamamia's all-knowing pregnancy podcast, Hello Bump asks an expert on advice for sexy times when you're up the duff (post continues after audio...)
A few women replying felt that it wasn’t a rude question. One woman, whose second pregnancy was unplanned, went into detail:
“I had no issue in saying that my daughter was an accident. She knows that too. It's really not a big deal. We love her very much but in an ideal world would not have had her so close to our son and should not have assumed that breastfeeding him was an effective contraception.”
As for responses that would politely shut down the conversation, there were a few:
“My shutdown was a big smile and, ‘We're really pleased.’ Neither confirming nor denying.”
“I used to do a little fake laugh and say lightly, ‘Wow, that’s a bit personal,’ or, ‘Why do you ask?’ It doesn’t come across as rude but subtly shows people they’re being rude."
“You could say something like, ‘You get asked all sorts of questions once pregnant, don’t you?!’ Just bat a rhetorical question back.”
How would you deal with the question?
Too much noise and not enough time?