As if the previous post on the one question no one should ever ask was not convincing enough to make the point land, consider something less obvious: Each and every woman has her own experience around child rearing. While we may see the overt implications of asking a question about pregnancy, as with yesterday’s anecdotal case to do mostly with body image and weight, there is another very good reason not to ask about children and pregnancy period.

It is none of our business.

Women share the universal experience of having to come to terms with our own decisions about children. Whether we wanted them, and got to have them; whether we miscarried or aborted, whether we were unable to conceive, made choices that favored finance, career, ambition or worse, never had the liberty to make decisions for our own bodies, we all have a trigger when it comes to the pregnancy question.

In a perfect world, our triggers would flood us with the feel good brain chemicals of serotonin and oxytocin. We would be drawn immediately to the memories of rainbows, butterflies, perfect pregnancies, healthy and living children. Women everywhere, when asked the question about pregnancy would be overcome with warm and fuzzy memories of romantic tales related to child rearing.

Or, we’d proudly celebrate our decision not to procreate, without judgment from ourselves, our families or our cultures.

And although this is the experience of millions of women around the world, it is also a common experience that when it comes to children, things didn’t go the way we were hoping after fantasizing about it since the day we were ”promised” the possibility of children on the first day of Mensa.

We may even think a woman’s declaration that “I’m not pregnant, I’m fat” (referring to yesterday’s post) could be the worst response we could get, if we are silly enough to ask the “When’s your baby due?” question. But consider some of the responses that we mostly wouldn’t have the courage to say out loud…

“I wanted to be pregnant but my husband didn’t want children.”

“I’m not pregnant, but I was twice, both ended in miscarriages.”

“I am pregnant, due in 4 months and it has cost us upwards of six figures for fertility treatments.” It has ruined my marriage and our finances.

“Assault I suffered prevents me from having children.”

“I always wanted children but I’m too old now.”

“My only child died.”

These are just a handful of the not so warm and fuzzy experiences you can trigger by asking if a woman is pregnant, when her baby is due, does she have children, etc. Since most of us don’t have the courage to answer honestly (which is something we need to work on) I will humbly respond on behalf of most women when I say its really none of anyone’s business.

Let’s lead with something neutral and less potentially excruciating next time we are making small talk with someone who may or may not be pregnant, overweight, or just plain sick of dealing with the topic when we are supposed to be mingling at a networking event. And women, let’s work on the courage to answer genuinely if we are so inclined.

Click to access the login or register cheese