I was buying white hydrangeas and drunken goat cheese at my favorite little market the other day. I’m obviously pregnant at 19 weeks and I was holding hands with my 18 month old son, Luke. The store owner has met me several times, and had also met my 3 year old son. “You have two boys? Do you know what you’re having next?”
“Yes, it’s a girl,” I smiled.
“You’re DONE,” she deadpanned. Please, never say this to anyone.
I have been surprised by how many strangers have told me with such certainty that I am done having kids since I’ve been “out” with my third pregnancy. Am I? So far my feelings on that subject have changed from day to day and tend to hinge on how badly my three year old fights with me about putting on pants that morning.
To be honest, I never thought I really wanted children until I really wanted children. No one is more surprised than me that I am a soon-to-be mother of three. On my way home, I recalled a particularly scathing moment just a few years ago when I was baby shamed at a bridal shower…for not having babies. “Why don’t you have kids? Don’t you want children?” Please, never say this to anyone.
My journey to motherhood began before I knew I wanted to be a mom at the prying of strangers, and now it seems as though the same number of strangers are telling me that I’m done having kids. Entering my thirties somehow opened my reproductive plans up for public discussion and I have yet to see the end on the horizon.
“Maybe she is psychic and knows something you don’t,” my dear friend said tonight when I told her about my strange flower and cheese shopping exchange. Maybe. Or maybe it’s time to let us decide for ourselves when we’re done, or when we’re just getting started.