Thursday, June 02, 2011

You don't say

So I decided to compile a list of marriage/pregnancy-related things people have said that have come across as insensitive, inconsiderate or just plain annoying. I am more than certain that they didn't mean it to be this way, so I thought it would be best to put them all together so we don't unknowingly end up saying any of these to others. Feel free to use the comments space to add on annoying stuff you have come across!

- Let's start from the beginning. When you meet a newly married couple, do not say, "So how is married life treating you?" Trust me, married people hate that question. It's really stupid, cliched and don't even get me started on the phrasing. You'll find that it's always single people who ask that question. Married people never ask other married people that. Because they know how annoying it is.

- You have no right to ask anyone when they plan to have a baby. Trust me, there is no polite way of asking. All versions of that question are rude, and should not be asked.

- Just because you had a baby as soon as you got married doesn't mean that is everyone else's plan.

- Do not use the phrase "family way". If you ask a couple when they are planning to go the "family way", you are implying that the two of them are not a family. What the...?!

- Another super annoying question, "So when are you giving us good news?" The only thing more annoying than the phrase "good news" here is if they spell it as "gud news". Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrggggghhhhhhhhhh!!!

- Never look at anyone and ask, "Are you pregnant?" You may end up inadvertently calling them fat.

- Never email anyone to ask if they are pregnant just because you have a hunch/feeling, etc. etc. You have no idea what they may be going through and they would not know how to answer your question.

- When someone tells you that they are on leave because the doctor has advised complete bed rest at home due to pregnancy complications, do not say, "Oh ok. Enjoy your stay at home!" Enjoy?? What do you think this is -- a Hawaiian vacation?

- When someone has preeclampsia due to which their blood pressure is shooting up, please do not say, "Relax." Preclampsia-induced blood pressure does not just go away if you "relax".

- Right after you ask someone how their baby is doing in the ICU, do not take out your mobile phone and say, "You want to see pictures of my newborn baby?" Trust me, I don't.

- When you find out that someone has had a premature baby who is in the ICU, do not chirpily call or send a message saying, "Oooh congratulations!"

- When you ask them how the baby is doing and they tell you that the baby's brain is not mature enough to do several things at once, and so when she is drinking milk, she forgets to breathe, do not laugh. You may be tickled by the idea of someone forgetting to breathe, but trust me -- a baby forgetting to breathe is not funny.


Anonymous said...

Can I say "first!"? :-)

Porkodi (பொற்கொடி) said...

mar dalo sabko! :D and can i claim gold/silver?! :O

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

also do not wish a random woman walking slowly on the street happy mothers day because u think she is pregnant. she may just be er..well rounded (True story)

Spiritual_Flame said...

"gud news".. Totally agree that it is so irritating ..

Anyways, how is Xena doing?
Wishing Xena good health and happiness all life long
God Bless you and Xena!!

Swathy said...

Bhai, I want to frame these words in bold and pass it across to people who throw these questions so randomely at gatherings/ meet n greet when I go.. It will save all of us lots of energy and time.. also, one more point: Do not say stuff like' we know it is hard to produce and raise a child.. but that one smile of it, makes your whole world.." UGH!! people, we know that, but you dont know what we want/ have issues with.. do you??
Thanks bhai, I will assume this post is for me! :)

Swathy said...

oh, oh.. and the phrase " please give us good news soon!!" .. ( another version of 'gud news' issue..)
I want to tell these people.. sure, tell me where the vending machine is.. we ll churn out the good news and give it to you!!HMPH!!:/

Swathy said...

Oh Bhai, I am gonna put a link of this in FB page please please please... :)

Anonymous said...

I'm sure I'm guilty of at least the last two -- sorry for being so thoughtless.

Obscure Optimist said...

aww...that bad huh...thanx for putting this up here.. Coz sure i must have been triggered to respond in a similar way..had i not read this...
Next time if i find myself in a similar situation..i shall keep all this in mind..

See.. This is called as experience sharing..
Thank you..

Arun said...

So how's the married life treating you?

Ooops :)

The Soul of Alec Smart said...

OMG! The last one is really dumb. How can someone find that funny? I'm in full agreement with the ones on "family way" and "good news" etc., having faced them myself. The others too, I'm sure, will tick me off no end when the time is right :( My additions are:

1. "Stork visiting?" doesn't make you any more eloquent or less intrusive about a question that's as personal as this.

2. Do not just assume that the couple is having "problems conceiving", and start dishing out advice!

3. Do not comment about a baby's complexion, size, length, gender or facial features.. you may inadvertently hurt the parents.

Sayesha said...

Yeah that's safe I think. :D

Wah wah aaj sab bewde pernission maang rahe hain! :P

#Ipanema Girl,
Hahahahahaha!! Did you retort??

#Spiritual Flame,
Xena is doing okay, thanks for asking. :)

LOL at the vending machine analogy! Did you use that on anyone? Hahaha! :D Yeah, you can put it on FB. :)

Huh?! I don't remember you EVER being insensitive about Xena!!

Chalo I saved you from getting gaalis! :D

It is treating me very well, thank you. So when are you going to give us "gud news"?

#The soul of Alec Smart,
Woah, good list! Regarding #2 on your list, I know someone who goes beyond giving advice! Starts to do havan and what not! :/

Anita said...

completely agree with you.. esp this: "when r u going to give us good news?" .. It is the most irritating of the lot..
and the most ridiculous one - baby plans - I am sure only the baby knows about it!

Sudeep said...

I think 'how is married life' is a ok small-talk starting point for a newly married one (rather than how was the honeymoon trip or worse what all did you do on your honeymoon - pun unintended). Kaafi saal shaadi wale ko nahi puchna chahiye uspe main agree karunga.

Yest Neha's cousin gave birth to a premature baby (we were not aware that it was premature) and we called up to wish her parents. Jab bola unhone ki under observation hai baby toh all your posts came back to my mind.

Sudeep said...

Going sasural for a few days and I am sure to be bombarded with the plan for the good news.

Shraddha said...

I had this very embarrasing experience in my sis-in-law's engagement. I had put on a bit of weight and my ready-to-wear saree was not helping me hide any of it...
my mum-in-law's friends (and some of their equally insensitive kids) were asking her and me "so, good news huh?"!!! right there at the engagement function! one of them even gestured at her tummy and asked me in sign language!
Well, I guess, according to them, being married for over 2 years and not having kids as yet is a sin!

nidhi said...

can you please print multiple brochures of this and hand over to all Indians who consider it their birth right to ask others about their "family planning" plans!!

or maybe we should have this article printed in all Indian newspapers. My standard reply to any questions on good news is, we are both very happy and enjoying that good (news) enough for you?

ferret said...

Ok, i have to add two more to the list
1. Do you cook?
2. Does he cook?

none of your business!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

mythalez said...

That is indeed a useful 'not to say' list

To add to it on similar lines, A single person doesn't like to be asked "Why don't you get married?" ... implying that his/her current life is pretty drab or incomplete :D

Pujya said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Arun said...

Impolite Indian Inquisitiveness is the flip side of having a close(r) knit desi community.

Baatein unkahi si said...

I can say ditto to this. Have myself experienced almost all of these once and am experiencing it now too !!
Wish people were a little more sensitive

rt r said...

I wish baby Xena all the best things in life.

About not asking someone when they plan to have a baby-

A few of my colleagues have asked me, "are you planning to start a family anytime soon?", and I did not find it annoying.

The only assumption they are guilty of is that married people have kids sooner or later, and I think they can be forgiven for that. I am uber-sensitive at times, but I do think that a certain amount of personal questions is allowable, as long as people don't prod any further.

I agree with the rest of the points you mention, people are just horribly rude to say such things.

rt r said...

And one of the worst is when someone asks you, "any good news?", and you answer in a way that you think will stop the questions in the future, but the next time you talk, there's the question again. It's as if they never heard your reasons.

To me, the best option seems to quit talking to such people till they mend their ways, which is most likely never.

Endless Road.. said...

Sayesha, I came back to read your blog after a few days and i was completely stumped!! Your,your husband's and Baby Xena's courage is exemplary. Although I'm not yet a parent, I know I can only half as much imagine how hard it must be to see your baby fighting everyday. But I really really do hope that Xena has an absolutely fabulous life ahead and you as parents with your baby. Lots of love and blessings to Xena!

Stone said...

I know how it feels, know what I still hold grudges against the people who said bad things about my baby when he was in NICU for 3 months.

Rudest stuff I heard -

1) arrey your baby looks absolutely normal now ...(my reaction ..WTF.. you mean, was he alien before)

2) Koi baat nahi, my wife's cousin's aunt's neighbour's baby was also born premature.

and there are some you visit as if paying condolences for something..and say.."jaisi bhagwaan ki marzi"

Seriously, I don't know what's wrong with people, what pleasure they get from passing insensitive/rude comments.

Alice said...

Good you made this list.. now I am forewarned. :)

From the other side of the fence .. single most irritating question posed to single people - "So when are you giving us the good news?"(regarding marriage). Unfailingly asked by married people, never by other singletons. My retort is "Woh chodo. You tell me when are you giving me the good news." (obviously only works on those who don't have kids yet).
And another equivalent of # 3: By newly engaged kids (yeah.. kids just a few months into their first jobs)"So when are you getting married?" Again.. that they chose to get engaged the moment they stepped out of college doesn't mean everyone else should follow suit.

Good to hear Xena is better now.. uske aur gunda-gardi ke kisse sunaana..

Hema said...

Thanks for speaking out the thoughts in my mind Sayesha! Love ya...
May be, I should share this with my ever inquisitive acquaintances who keep asking the same question time and again "when are you planning?"
Still worse, they ask parents about their son's or daughter's family planning. It's totally sick.

Arun said...

I get gold on the vanished post "A Crappy Job"!

Aditi said...

Congratulations on Baby Xena and hope you and the baby are doing well now. I dont comment at all though I read your blog often.

After reading your posts I needed sometime to process all that you went thru. Seriously my mind went blank. I hope things will be all good and better now.

I so agree with your list. Just yesterday I had a colleague ask me when I will have some good news. I gave a blank stare till she got frustated and went away.

Arun said...

Nobody would be more surprised than I if I had gud news!

Ragini said...

In a remote corner of rustic Uttaranchal.. my mother was asked as to how many kids does she have.. the interrogator was this absolute (toothless) stranger..
My mom pointed at us 2 sisters.. the old haggard turned sympathetic and said 'chalo ab issi mein guzara kar lo'...
been some 15 yrs since and i still remember it..
Do ppl even realise that the impact does not come with an expiry date!!

diyadear said...

Wish some of the so called "elders" also come and read this post of yours. :)
I coulnt agree more..
OH and another one to be added is - When you give them the good news the next question is -
Was it palnned orr... ???
*** one tight slap ****

Sandhya said...

I agree with you. That 'When will you give the good news' question is so irritating. A cousin once asked me repeatedly when I was planning to have a baby. I told her "you promise me first that you will take care of my baby for the first 2 years, then I will give you the good news". No questions asked after that. ha ha.

A mother myself, I can imagine the joy Viv and you might have experienced when you first held your baby after all the struggle 3 of you went through. I salute Viv, Baby Xena and you for your courage. Both Baby Xena and you have shown extraordinary fighting spirit. How is Baby Xena doing now?

bluejay said...

I can't believe this.. BRONZE!!! :D
I totally agree with all these annoying questions ppl ask!.. Trust me.. people have asked me some of these so many times.. "So how is married life treating you?".. AARGH people!!... and once I got really annoyed at the... "So any gud news yet?" I replied.. "Aah.. yes!.. My flatulence has gone for now.. are u interested in any other bodily process of mine?!"

Meenakshy said...

Baby ko to ghar le aaye.. ab agle ki taiyyari kab hai? ;)

Straight n Simple said...

The most annoying question I have ever come across is 'How is baby making coming along?'....Was tempted to punch the person in the face...the chat window did not let me do that. It is true that there is no polite way of asking that question.

Ketaki... said...

I had a tough pregnancy and finally had a baby in July. Because of that, I didnt get to read your blog for the longest time. I am finally back at work and I was catching up and congratulations on the baby.. :) Xena's a nice name.
I just wanted to tell you that I feel your pain as I read this post. I wish you didnt had to meet suching annoying species. Take care, love to Xena..