Friday, October 10, 2008

"Are You Done Yet?!?"

If you have more than one child, than you almost certainly have been asked if you are "done" having children, or if you are going to have any more. And, after you've produced Child #4, the question is asked with more incredulity, sometimes even outrage.

My more sarcastic self would like to say (and has said on occasion), "I don't know. But, while we're on the subject of asking personal questions, how much money do you make every year?". Because, let's be honest, it is nobody's business how many children I have. (A few other sarcastic favorites are listed at the bottom of this page, under "My Least Favorite Comments & Questions".)

That's why I continue to live in this country where we are guaranteed certain freedoms. I have the freedom to choose the size of my family. Or, to choose who plans my family. I have the freedom (along with my husband) to choose how I take care of this family. And, as Spiderman has taught us, with these freedoms/powers, comes responsibility, which I exhaustively addressed in a previous post (

And, I'm sure some people would argue that they have the freedom to ask me such a personal question. Yup, they sure do. As much freedom as I have to answer, "That's none of your business.". But, most of us (especially women; myself included) have been conditioned by society to give explanations for just about everything.

So, ladies, this post's for you!

I concede that while a sarcastic answer is momentarily satisfying, it certainly eliminates the opportunity to educate the person asking the question. But, the "education issue" also raises the dilemma of how to educate a stranger (usually) during a 90-second conversation. So, over the years I've developed and/or borrowed a few "educational sound bytes" that usually work...

"I'm not sure, but you could try asking God. That's what I do."

"We never refuse a Gift."

"I sure hope I have more!" (say it with a genuine smile!)

"I'm interested in knowing why you want to know?"

"I am interested in keeping my heart healthy, and my heart grows bigger and stronger with each child."

I know many large families who have lots of other quick answers to the "done yet" question, some answers which are similar to mine and some which are very different. (See "You May Want to Check Out..." at the top of this page for a GREAT website!)

My point is this: in large part, how you answer is dependent on who you are.
What are your beliefs, feelings, personality traits? All of these things directly influence your answers.

There are (at least) two lessons that can be learned from all of this:

1) Be careful what questions you ask other people. Just as most people think your fertility and intimate relations are up for discussion, so you may also inadvertently ask a deeply personal question of them. (i.e. "You're pregnant? Are you having a boy or a girl?") Just as you think you are expressing genuine interest in their lives, so do some people asking you a personal question.

2) A little English 101 lesson: Cakes are done, my friends. People are finished. (Just something that bugs me!)

Here's a little bit of a cautionary note: Some people are not interested in being educated, and these are usually the people who persist in asking rude, personal questions no matter how politely you answer. For these poor souls, I am giving you permission to use any of my sarcastic answers (or develop one of your own!), followed by a quick, "I'll remember to ask my many children to pray for you." (And, DO remember to pray!).

It is hard to resist turning around and laughing at their eyes bugging out of their heads....


  1. I found your post and I love it. I am recommending you to my daughter who just had her third and final child but secretly wished for more.
    I had who knows how many, depending on how you count them. I bore 2 had one misscarriage, then my youngest died at 22 months. I adopted 3 more and had guardianship of 3 others. I fostered alot more, most long term and did multitudes of daycare stints. I somehow took in several other lost souls in one way or the other (not counting stray animals). So when someone asks me how many kids I have I just look up and begin to count mentally and I usually get stuck.." you want me to count only the living? or the ones still around? or maybe, just the ones I had for more than 90 days???" You get the point, there's just no way to know for sure and I'm not done yet, now I'm on grandkid number 7, no 8, no..oh, I don't know.."

  2. Good for you! What a big, strong heart you must have! I wish you and your wonderful family lots of love to share along your *continuing* journey. :-)

  3. I loved your post.
    I am visiting by way of my mom reva.
    I also have heard the question many times and so rudly at that.
    I am 29 and my youngest is 7 months old. I had a few "friends" do the "arent you done yet or you should know how that happens by now",comments. I I've noticed that the 1st time you tell people your pregnant their excited for you some are still a little excited for the 2nd but by the 3rd they say"oh, again was this planned".
    I know that my 3 were all very very wanted the littlest one was a suprise but wanted just as much. And I would probably have more but my hubby was an only child and only planned on 2 so I was happy to get 3. But I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks they same you do. Kids are always a blessing and the more you have the more blessed you are! So to all those other people mind your own buisiness.
    ok sorry to rant on your blog for the first time visiting.
    Have a great day with all your little blessings!

  4. Amber,
    Rant away! I sure do! Don't you wish the people would realize that it's OK that it takes all kinds to make the world go 'round?
    I'm glad you enjoyed the post! Keep on reading AND commenting! It helps to know that people are reading it at all!