Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Would you like to know my bra size, too?

I'm getting to the point where I brace myself just a little bit every time I tell someone that I'm pregnant with twins. Although about 2/3 of people say something polite or enthusiastic or otherwise innocuous, the other 1/3 either indirectly or directly ask whether or not this is the result of fertility treatments.

Now, obviously, I'm not shy about sharing the fact that we got help getting pregnant -- Exhibit A., this blog. The difference is, I'm volunteering the information. You're not (inappropriately) asking. If a good friend asks, I'll gladly tell them that these are fertility drug twins, though chances are, if they're a truly good friend, they already know. But when acquaintances and people I'm not close with (certain work colleagues, for example) ask, I have to stop myself from saying, Pardon me, but were you raised by wolves? Did these wolves teach you that it is OK to ask a woman you don't know well intimate questions about her reproductive health? And, wow, talking wolves?

I've encountered three basic variations of the question so far:

1. "Do twins run in your family?" Maybe I'm being paranoid, but it always feels like a loaded question to me. They're hoping that if the answer is no, I'll elaborate further. No, I probably won't.

2. "How did that happen?" Umm....do you want a biology lesson, or do you want me to tell you that I was using fertility drugs? Right, thought so. Hey, why don't you tell me what prescription drugs you've taken?

3. "Was it on purpose?" This is the most absurd and offensive of all, and I've actually gotten it twice. I know there are people in the world who really really really want twins, who hope for them when they're doing fertility drugs and/or transfer multiple embryos when they do IVF in an attempt to get them. But to my knowledge, no naturally fertile woman subjects herself to unnecessary fertility treatments in an attempt to get pregnant with twins, and I can't imagine that any doctor would allow it. I'm not quite sure why this particular question bugs me so much -- maybe just because it's the closest thing to simply asking outright, "Were you on fertility drugs?" but it's asked in such a wicked retahded manner that I resent it even more.

Once I become more visibly pregnant, I'm sure strangers will ask these questions, too. I suppose I could come up with some zingers to retort with, or perhaps be prepared to give them a more mature and measured, "That's a rather personal question." But isn't that in effect the same as just saying yes, fertility drugs?

I don't know. Maybe I just shouldn't tell people that it's twins. Unless, of course, they ask when I'm due and I tell them and they say (inappropriately) "but you're already so HUGE!!" At which point I'll simply be forced to reply, "Well, it's because I took fertility drugs on purpose."

3 Comments:

Anonymous Heidi said...

Yes, I would like to know your bra size... :-)

Just tell people that you were aiming for quadruplets and next time you're going to take twice as much of the fertility drugs...that you're really hoping for a litter

10:04 AM  
Blogger SER said...

Yes, the question about twins running in your family is almost certainly aimed at figuring out whether you had fertility treatments. My friends who have had twins reported the same.

Some suggested replies to these questions:

1. "When did you last have sex?"

2. "When was the last time you masturbated? Who were you thinking of at the time?" (I guess you could append that last part to #1 as well.)

3. "What's your salary?"

4. "What were your SAT scores?"

5. "Are you asking if we used fertility drugs? I hope not, because that would be quite rude."

6. Blankly stare at them and ask, "What do you mean?", thereby forcing them to retract the question or ask straight out and realize their rudeness.

7. Reply with a complete non-sequitur - e.g, "The weather is humid today; perhaps the daisies are dancing?"

I also like Heidi's suggestion.

I know I've posed this question before, but, seriously, what is it about anything related to reproduction (trying to conceive, infertility, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, parenting) that makes people feel so free to ask, interfere, and opine (and grope) in ways that they would NEVER do in most other areas of life?

11:18 AM  
Blogger Fiona said...

SER, I love your number five - pointing out how rude it is to ask.

I know what you mean though about people assuming they have the right to the most intimate information. My husband and I are not trying to conceive at the moment (and I have fertility problems), but we're still had several people ask us if we need some tips on how to do it right! I asked the last one if they made their own instructional videos and she was stunned into silence and decided I was being rude! At least she never asked me again.

Another thing that peeves me is people assuming they can touch your belly when you are pregnant. I don't think so!

Hope you don't mind me jumping in by the way but I came across your blog and enjoyed reading it.

2:10 PM  

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