Monday, October 27, 2008

Not Your Uterus

Aliza Hausman has a fantastic post up at BeyondBT titled My Uterus is None of Your Business. It is, unfortunately, right on the money.

Motherhood is hard. And I don’t just mean raising the babies. I mean having them. I mean trying to have them. There is just so much pressure in the Jewish community to have children.

The first year we were married, people - men and women - would ask constantly whether or not I was trying to get pregnant or was already pregnant. And if the answer was “no” and “no”, people hummed around me with sympathy and wished me luck having a baby. ...

At another Shabbat meal, a married woman whispered conspiratorially in my ear that people would stop asking about my womb once my husband and I survived our first anniversary.

“They’ll think you’re having problems,” she whispered.

“Problems?” I murmured, mystified.

“Getting pregnant.”

She's right on the money. Unfortunately, countless people in the frum community are just... rude! When we first got married, a few friends threw me a surprise birthday party. Serach wasn't feeling well at all - so of course, they assumed she was pregnant, despite her even saying "No, I not pregnant." (Not that it was any of their business.) In an insane twist, when she had to have surgery months later for something, a friend informed me that people apparently had suggested that she either miscarried or had an abortion.


She would also get questions such as "Oh, did you wait?" (Favorite response: 'No, God waited.') A close friend from Cleveland lamented to us when we came to visit once a couple of years ago how so many friends from New York would call him to say hi, and in the context of conversation, ask "So, is your wife pregnant yet?" He found it incredibly rude, and noted that if they wished to inform people if she was pregnant, they would. If they didn't, they wouldn't. At some point, it becomes obvious; and if she isn't pregnant, it is simply insulting and rude. Either they are trying and it hasn't happened yet, or they don't wish to get pregnant at this time, or perhaps they're having trouble getting pregnant. In any of those situations, it's not anybody else's business.

Thankfully, there are numerous organizations in the Jewish community and outside of it that help people who wish to have children and are having trouble for whatever reason. From a friendship side, if a friend wishes to confide in you, leave it to them to choose to do so and make yourself available. You probably should not, however, be asking questions unprompted.

It's just none of your business.


  1. :applause: (for the link, AND your input)

  2. Wait, wait, you're saying that jewish people by and large are rude and show little regard for social grace!!


  3. Seriously. It's incredible how invasive people are.

  4. It's not uterYoU, it's uterUS!

    - Homer J. Simpson.

    Seriously though, these people deserve to be punched.

  5. "There is just so much pressure in the Jewish community to have children."

    This sounds there is so much pressure in the Jewish community to get married.

    How about just - there is so much pressure in the Jewish community to do exactly what people expect according to their rules?

    How about - people spend way too much time worrying about what other people are doing?

    How about - no, forget it, this can go on and on. But, just - I wish people would worry about themselves and stop worrying about other people so much. There's a lot to work on for yourself without pointing out what other people may or may not have to work on/be dealing with/etc. Other people's lives should NOT be gossip material, they are LIVES. If you crave gossip and intrigue THAT badly, go watch a soap opera.

    Ugh, okay, I'm gonna stop this rant before it grows.

  6. I thought this was going to be a pro-choice post. ;-)

    Religions that don't successfully proselytize must work feverishly to increase the fertility rate. Otherwise, they'd never last.

  7. great post!

    some ppl are very insensitive

  8. Going through infertility problems was all the more painful because of others insensitivity. Even 20 years later (my oldest is 19 now) I can still remember some of the stupid remarks.

    Good post.

  9. Very true even after you have kids. If there is a big gap, people comment too.

  10. Same is very true in the secular community, though people are actually given a few years.

    I have to say the same is true for other things, not just pregnancy. For instance, I'm constantly being asked about when I'm getting married (I'm single) or whether I have a boyfriend yet, or worse still, whenever I'm in the company of friends some of whom might happen to be single males of marriageable age, the inevitable questions follow which annoys me greatly.

    I think people should learn to use their common sense. I doubt they would like everyone else to bombard them with personal questions constantly.

  11. ::applause:: to Ezzie and Erachet.

    The same thing you describe with nosy people asking if you are pregnant also happens when you are dating.

    "So, are you seeing anyone?"
    If I was, I wouldn't be blabbing about it to you.

    "So, I heard you went out with so-and-so, what happened? He's such a great guy"

    etc., etc.

  12. What a great post! When people look at me funny because :Gasp: I am married for over a year, I want to just scream "No I am not pregnant, I just got fat!" Because, even when they don't think they are being obvious, and girls are the worst, we know you are looking at us!

  13. I've given up on people on this one!

  14. Fantastic post
    Thank you

  15. Conversely, I got pregnant before my first was a year old, and I got asked if it was a "surprise."

    Actually, no, I have PCOS and I have to take medication to get pregnant. Do you enjoy knowing about my ovaries?!

    I think people think they're being nice. I think that people should learn that if you have something to share, you'll share. End of story.

  16. Rachel Inbar has some articles about people's sensitivity or lack thereof on this site:

  17. There is so much that the frum community needs to learn about sensitivity toward this issue.

    I always wonder why anytime a frum woman says she isn't feeling well, people assume she's pregnant. There are actually other reasons why people feel under the weather sometimes, even frum women.

  18. Can we PLEEEEEEASE agree to never use the words Uterus or Ovaries again around here?

  19. [claps for Erachet]

    I look forward to moving from the "Ooh- are you BUSY?" to the "Ooh- are you EXPECTING?" stage... Sheesh. It never ends?

  20. Wow, I'm glad to hear that my article and your post generated so much feedback. I think everyone should keep their ovaries to themselves, don't you agree? I'm only interested in sharing mine with my husband.:)