Baby bullies – are you one of them?
Do you feel forced to explain why you aren’t planning more children? Or are you guilty of hounding your newlywed friends about when they’re going to start having babies? Welcome the world of the baby bullies…
Keeping Up With The Kardashians star Kourtney Kardashian recently admitted that her mum was "completely obsessed" with her getting pregnant.
"My family would love me to have a baby, but my mum is completely obessed!" Kourtney revealed. "Once, she asked my assistant to find out when I was ovulating. She even called my gyneocologist and told me when the best time was the have sex with my husband!" It seems that the reality star is feeling the 'baby bully' pressure - and she's not the only one...
Did you have your mother-in-law ask when you’ll be having more children before you’d even left the maternity ward? Or maybe you’ve experienced the pitiful looks when you explain that you’re happy with what you’ve got and no, you aren’t pregnant and don’t plan to be again - ever.
If the answer is yes, it looks like you’ve been a victim of the baby bullies – those who prey on new mums, newlyweds or single friends asking them to explain the future of their uterus. And having one, two or even a house full of children doesn’t make you immune to the questions.
It’s not just us mere mortals either – even the celebrities have to fend off the nosey baby bullies. You just need to look at singleton Jennifer Aniston, who is constantly pressured to explain why she isn’t a mum, or Cameron Diaz, who famously defended her decision against the bullies saying that she’d be a great auntie.
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But what about if you are the bully? If you’ve ever asked a newlywed friend if they’ll be making babies as well as love on their honeymoon or have mindlessly asked a friend with three boys if she is going to try for a girl next time – you are guilty as charged! It is easy for a simple conversation to turn into a full-blown baby bully moment, leaving your victim pulling all the polite excuses out of the bag.
To get to the bottom of the baby bully pandemic (well, sort of), we asked our MFM mums to share their experiences. Here’s what we found…
The baby bullies confess
“I can’t help myself… whenever one of my friends or family get hitched, the first question I ask is, ‘Are you planning children?’ I do it at work too – I must have a reputation as being a baby spy, but I do have the tendency to watch what my female work colleagues for any suspicious baby bumps when they return from their honeymoon,” says Susanne Robertson.
MFM user E.T puts her hand up, too. “I’m a baby bully! I forced my husband to try for a baby soon after our wedding. He wanted to wait for a year after marriage! No way!” exclaims E.T.
Mums who’ve been baby bullied
“I was asked when my baby was a week old when I was having another! We had only got out of the hospital as he was premature and struggled to feed. Don’t they ever just realise that you may be happy with just one, you are unable to have another or you may be struggling to conceive? ” says Karel Garrett.
Karel’s not alone. “My son is 14 weeks and before we even left the hospital, we were asked when the next one would be! Also I always get, ‘Would you have another considering the difficult birth you had?’” says daniella morris. She adds, “It’s really quite annoying as it’s the topic of every conversation whenever I go to the mother-in-law’s house…”
The gender balance of your family also gets the baby bullies going, it seems.
“I do hate it when people always expect you to want a baby of another sex. If you already have a boy you should then want a girl - why?” asks Charmaine.
“I have three boys and am always getting, ‘Are you going to try again for a girl?’…err no. I was also told after my third beautiful little man, ‘Oh that’s a shame, well, never mind, may be a girl next time.’ None of my children are or will ever be a shame. A girl would have been lovely but no more or less than my son is. Why don’t people mind their own business!” threelittleboys tells us.
The reverse baby bullies
“I'm always being asked the opposite. I've had people actually say, not ask, ‘You're not having anymore are you?’ Damn rude I think. I have seven kids, we didn't just pop them out, one after the other ‘cos we haven't worked out what's causing them,” says theoldwomanwholivesinashoe. “Whether you want none, one or twenty one babies that's your business, I'd certainly never badger anyone about their choice,” she adds.
How to silence the baby bullies
Sometimes, baby bullies will silence themselves. MFM user audrey1234 reveals how she put her foot in it: “There is a man in my work, and I was talking to him a few days ago. I know he has no children and he's in his 40s. We were looking at Jack (my 16 month old) and I said to him, 'When will you be having children?' He replied, 'Me and the wife broke up two weeks ago.' Oops!”
When all else fails, MFM mums suggest these tactics…
“My dh wants to start telling people outrageous stories to see their reaction - his favourite thought so far is wanting to tell people he is unable to perform in the bedroom!!” Yes, Karel Garrett, we agree that would shut them up!
“Must admit at the moment a few of (my partner’s) friends have asked him if the telly is broke,” says mummabear, “I nicked a line theoldwomanwholivesinashoe often quotes to busy bodies, ‘Yes we have a TV, but it's been stuck on the porn channel the last three years! Some eyebrow twitching at that one!!”
Make sure you have a one-liner up your sleeve, too. If brave enough, try one of these…
- When your colleagues get nosey: “Sorry, but I want to keep my private life just that - private.”
- When your mother-in-law pressures you for more grandchildren: “I want to enjoy the children I already have.”
- When people question your boy/girl ratio: “Try for a girl? No, I’m trying for a 5-a-side football team…”
- When people think you’ve had enough children already: “Who would’ve thought sex leads to a baby?”