Friday, November 1, 2013

Publicly Personal aka Rude Questions

I know I have woefully neglected the blog.

Oh well.

Life happens.

I'm blogging today and that's good too.

It's not fun stuff today because I'm going to take a minute  (or 5) and stand on my blogbox.  (Like a soapbox only on the internet.) I will eventually get pictures of all the fun halloweeney stuff, but today I have an issue.

You see, last night at a Halloween party I overheard one woman asking another woman a very deep and personal question.  The fact that I could overhear it should suggest that perhaps it was an inappropriate place.  I mean, we were all sitting there.  Now this person is family to the woman she was speaking to but that doesn't actually make her question appropriate.

She asked, "Did you get the wish of your heart?" Everyone knew what she was hinting at because of the boisterous loud conversation previous to that about babies. But then another person clarified, "She's asking if you're pregnant."  To which the woman answered that she is not currently pregnant.

Wow. Can. of. worms.

(I will fully admit that I wasn't brave enough to speak up about it in that moment- but I have my own reasons that're nunya. And I'm speaking about it now because it's BUGGING ME.)

What a totally personal question to ask! I mean think about it for a minute: there's biology involved, perhaps the timing isn't right, perhaps the ph balance is off, perhaps one or both partners is infertile.  There's emotions involved, perhaps she longs to be pregnant and shared her longing and her sadness that she wasn't and hope that soon she would be (in a previous conversation where the family member learned about her "wish of her heart") in an attempt to be real and vulnerable, not an attempt at a popular status update or fodder for future party conversations.  There are relationships involved, namely between the woman and her husband.  Maybe there are issues and they're not having sex (back to biology here).  Maybe they're stressed out and it's messing with their chemistry (again, biology or chemistry or sciency stuff).  Maybe she wants a baby but her husband doesn't, or vice versa.  Maybe she longs for one physically but can't figure it out financially and is thus holding off.  Maybe she worries about her health and has crazy bad morning sickness for 9 months and is hoping to have a newborn even with all the sacrifice it means.  Maybe she's had miscarriages before and is scared.  Maybe she was pregnant last week and miscarried but isn't ready to shout from the rooftops her pain.  Maybe she started her period that morning and her hopes were once again dashed.

And maybe the questioning woman was feeling awkward and didn't have much to go off of and so she brought up the one nugget of information so she felt included.  Maybe she is naive and didn't think it would hurt her feelings.  Maybe she felt like because they are family its ok? (Family trees do not make you inherently privy to details in another's life. That's a soapbox for another day.) Maybe there's a whole can of worms that she didn't mean to get into, she just needed something to say.

Whatever the case was, my heart hurt for the woman being asked such a private question in such a public setting.

So let's all take a moment to think before we speak.  And on the occasions that our mouths vomit questions before we realized the damage, let us be willing to own our mistakes and say I'm sorry.

I'll step down now.  You can get back to your Facebook overload of cute costumes and sugar comas.

Happy November.
27 days until my birthday if you want to send me a present :)


  1. Very well said. We never know what is going on in someone's life, so if it is brought up, it should only be brought up by the person it involves. They will talk about it if and when they want/need to. Amanda

  2. Amen. Amen, amen, and amen. "Are you pregnant?" is a question that should never, ever be asked unless it's by a woman's husband or mother, and only then in private. When people are ready to tell you they're pregnant, they'll tell you. And until then it NO ONE's business.

    Good blogbox.

  3. I want to send you ALL the PRESENTS!!! All the time. Not just for your birthday. Good Humans are hard to find, but you are a Good Human. Inappropriate asking (and telling) is everywhere and sometimes all we can do is remove ourselves from the environment. Cell phone conversations in public places irritate me, and I have overheard inappropriate conversations when just walking around the neighborhood for exercise. The best I can do is hum and keep walking. Another big problem for me was Open Mic Day at The Mormon Church (testimony meeting), when inappropriate public disclosure hurt my ears. This is not an easy problem to solve, and you are not alone in being hurt by it.

  4. Amen my friend! Amen. Though I totally have family that would do that... and it's always ALWAYS awkward.

  5. Well put, Maggie. I am often amazed and appalled by the questions people think are appropriate for them to ask. I remember many years ago, Ann Landers suggested a good retort for those "overly personal" questions: "I can't believe you would ask me that!" Sometimes in stressful situations we forget that simply because someone asks us a question, we are compelled to answer! Fawn