Baby Pressure

My facebook feed these days is full of weddings and babies. Last May, four good friends of mine got engaged. My friend L in Nancy, S who was an assistant in Bar le Duc with me, J’s two cousins, and our friend A all have newborns, whether it’s the first or the second, or in L’s case, two at once. My friends E & O from college had a baby over a year ago now.

As for the weddings, I don’t mean to sound like I’m complaining. It seems like I’m hitting that second wave—the first wave being the friends who got married straight out of college at 22—that first wave being something most of my friends and I knew we didn’t belong in. I’m very happy for these people and since J and I are living together + PACSed it feels like we’re pretty in sync with the trend.

But when it comes to the babies, I think I’ve hit a saturation point. This weekend J and I went to our friend A’s (see above) because her first-born was turning 3. We knew we wouldn’t be the only ones there but it turns out there were three other girls between the ages of 4 and 6. Add in two newborns (who were actually very calm) and it felt like a babyfest. Two of the moms were again expecting. I felt like we’d fallen into our lives three years from now and it was off-putting. We had fun, nonetheless—a couple of the girls were really cute and J loves kids so he had a wild time. But we were both happy to go to a party later that night with only people between the ages of 21 and 29 (=no babies).

Add to the current ubiquitousness of babies the fact that French people don’t hesitate to ask you when you are going to have some yourself. This first started happening to me last June when I met most of Ju’s extended family for the first time. Since there were, again, two newborns, everyone had babies on the mind and seemed to expect us to be next. “When will you get started?” his uncle asked me. “Um, not yet.” “But when?” GAH. Rinse and repeat.

In some cases the nosiness seems called for. At my yearly meeting with the banker he asked me if we had any plans in the making, for a house or for a child (though honestly it still seems a bit like prying…). But most of the time I still find this a horribly nosey question! My own parents haven’t bugged me about this, and yet French friends and acquaintances seem to think it’s a normal question. It all got me thinking that maybe we should really be having babies SOON, and then I realized that was nuts because I can’t imagine my life with babies yet. For serious. At all.

The problems with this question that French people seem to find so simple are numerous. It assumes 1) that you anticipate having no problems getting pregnant, 2) that you want children, 3) that you both know exactly when you want them, and 4) that you want to share that information with everyone who cares to ask. Am I forgetting anything here? My English friend L who just had twins actually responded to someone once, “How do you know I’m not infertile?” (And then she had twins eight months later.)

I may soon start answering the same way.

Is anyone else having this problem? Does it happen in the States too?

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2 thoughts on “Baby Pressure

  1. It’s funny, most people with kids I know keep telling us to wait, we’re still young! And to travel and have lots of fun first, lol. And the MIL isn’t to keen on being a grandma yet (I think it = old lady in her head), so no pressure there. I think once my internship is done and I find a job though, it might change. If people know you have a good job, etc, it might just seem like the next logical step. Dragging out the student thing means people don’t expect too many grown up things from you yet!

    also, now that I’m in HR, the question is illegal, so maybe make it a joke next time “what is this, a job interview?”

  2. Interesting to know! I guess most people know J and I have stable jobs (I mean mine’s for life if I want it though that thought is pretty terrifying). But they also know that we rent a 1-bedroom place, J leaves all the time to go rock-climbing (I mean seriously that would have to change!), and he’s a year younger than me! I will keep the job interview joke handy…

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