Mad Men star Christina Hendricks doesn't want kids. And she doesn't feel bad about saying so. The red-headed bombshell recently gave an interview with Health magazine in which she confessed that she and her husband, Geoffrey Arend, "decided they're not really interested in having children." But for some reason, people can't seem to wrap their heads around such a concept. It's almost as if when Hendricks tells people this, they casually laugh it off and then buy her a pack of Aden + Anais swaddling blankets.
Okay, so it's not really like that, but in the interview, Hendricks talked about how she and Arend recently got a puppy, and everyone's reaction has been similar: They think it's great practice for when they eventually have a baby. No. "We got a puppy, and that’s my idea of starting a family," the actress said. "People say, 'Oh, that’s practice for parenting,' but if it’s practice for anything, it’s to be a mom to another puppy." Preach.
When two people who are in a romantic relationship get a pet, it's a fairly common reaction to make some sort of "oh, this is perfect preparation for when you have kids" comment. But aside from the fact that having a baby is way different than having a dog who you can leave home alone for hours on end, that's not the case for everyone, which makes such a statement extremely presumptuous.
My husband and I knew we wanted to have kids together before we got married, so it wasn't necessarily offensive when people made the "baby practice" comments to us after we got our pup, but it was a little awkward. Who wants to discuss their non-existent family with the person they're not even yet engaged to out in the open as if it were a topic as banal as the weather? It is a little bit rude, particularly if you're not especially close with the person who says it. But what do you say? I happen to be an extremely non-confrontational person, so I'd often laugh off the comments and go along with it, but I like Christina's approach. In fact, it's kinda the perfect answer. It's shutting down the question in a light, but totally-get-the-message-across way. No, actually it's practice for being a mom to another puppy.
We may have become a more sensitive society over the years, but we certainly seem to have collectively grown more brazen in asking probing questions about people's fertility and pregnancy plans under the guise of "just making conversation." I don't think people have ill-will in asking such questions, but when you think about it: It's rather inappropriate. You never know what somebody is going through. I recently learned this the hard way when I found out a friend was suffering from infertility for two years before she conceived (I asked her a few times when she was going to have a baby); and when people constantly asked me when I was going to have another a few months before I became pregnant with my second. Answer: We just didn't want another baby yet, so back off.
Again, I'm under the assumption that such questions and comments are merely done out of curiosity and innocence, but perhaps we should all take a step back and think about what we're about to say or ask before it comes out of our mouth. And perhaps those of us on the receiving end should take a page out of Christina's book and give a direct "quit interrogating me" kind of answer.
Have you ever found a pregnancy or fertility question uncomfortable?
Image via Raven Underwood/Flickr