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Wedding Woes

I always wonder where these people with these questions live.

Dear Prudence,

My husband and I both had twins from our first marriages. I was pregnant with our son when his sister was murdered, leaving her newborn son alone in the world. We ended up adopting his nephew and raising him as our own. The boys are 4½ now. We currently have moved to another state and for the first time have to deal with the stares and questions our little family gets. Some of them are borderline intrusive, like asking if we used IVF or were trying for some world record. We struggle with how to deal with these inquires without peeling back the entirety of our painful history (he lost his first wife to cancer, my ex hasn’t been seen in six years, the murder, etc.). We used to live where we had family in the area, and everyone knew our story. We didn’t have to trot it out to strangers in the grocery store. Can you help us?

—Family Scanning

Re: I always wonder where these people with these questions live.

  • "Yep we have 6 kids, busy house!"
    OurWildKingdom
  • "We are blessed to have these kids in our lives." 

    It's the good non-answer and if you use it every time they'll know that they aren't getting more details from a complete stranger.

    STARMOON44MissKittyDangercharlotte989875OurWildKingdom
  • Agree with the PPs.  This should be a short, ready-to-go answer that shuts down the conversation.  It's not peoples' business and the LW and her H shouldn't feel any compunction to "answer" questions or even be that nice about it.

    Speaking of rude questions...though my aunt thought it was funny and wasn't offended.  My aunt has 4 kids.  I also have a sister.  My sister and my oldest three cousins take after the maternal side.  Dark brown hair and eyes.  But I have coloring from my dad.  As a child, my hair was a light golden blond and I have blue eyes.  My aunt was running errands with all of us one day (except my youngest cousin, who wasn't born yet).  And a stranger saw her with us and did a double take.  He asked, "How'd ya manage the blond?"
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    ILoveBeachMusicOurWildKingdom
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    VarunaTT said:
    Honestly, I'm tired of people thinking they have a right to assuage their curiosity.

    "That answer is none of your business.  Thank you."
    This. These kind of intrusive questions make me so angry. 

    banana468ei34OurWildKingdom
  • Tbh I've heard comments - my friend has 4 kids - and she just fluffs it off as 99% of them aren't rude. They're mostly along the lines of "wow big family" or "wow 4 kids!"
    Tone is 100% of how people say things
    OurWildKingdom
  • Tbh I've heard comments - my friend has 4 kids - and she just fluffs it off as 99% of them aren't rude. They're mostly along the lines of "wow big family" or "wow 4 kids!"
    Tone is 100% of how people say things
    I think a lot of the time it's people saying things without really thinking.  Almost more in a "making conversation" way.  Especially if it is said more like a comment, instead of a question.  Still not cool.  But not nearly as bad as the LW's examples, ie  questions about IVF or "jokes" about setting a world's record.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    OurWildKingdom
  • I think there's a big difference also between taking offense at comments like, "Oh you have your hands full today!" which can sound dumb but often like an attempt to empathize vs. the intrusive comments of, "Oh you don't look anything alike - is she yours?  Did you have IVF to have her?  Do you think you'll have more or are you getting snipped??" 


    charlotte989875ei34ILoveBeachMusicOurWildKingdom
  • My mom is an older mother (41 when I was born - and this was 30ish years ago when this was less common) and she has dark italian features while I was blonde haired and blue eyed and when I was young people would come up to her ALL the time and ask her about "her adoption". I thought I was maybe secretly adopted a LOT because of how frequently it happened! Like, even if I *were* adopted, is it really responsible to come up to a woman with like a 7 year old child and ask about it?? What if I didn't know? Come on people!
    My mom also occasionally got the "is she adopted?" question about me, because our coloring was so different.  Or "Is she yours?", with a quizzical expression on a stranger's face.  She's told me it hurt her feelings a little bit, when people would say that.

    Ironically, once I grew up and my face and figure took shape, I look so much like her.  As adults, we've occasionally gotten comments when we are together like, "Wow!  No one would mistake you two for mother and daughter."

    Here's the rundown.  I have my dad's coloring and my mom's shape.  My sister has my mom's coloring and my dad's shape.  So, as adults, my sister and I look like both our parents.  But don't look anything like each other, lol.  When we're together, we've probably gotten the, "Oh, is one of you adopted?", much more than my mom ever did.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Tbh I've heard comments - my friend has 4 kids - and she just fluffs it off as 99% of them aren't rude. They're mostly along the lines of "wow big family" or "wow 4 kids!"
    Tone is 100% of how people say things
    I think a lot of the time it's people saying things without really thinking.  Almost more in a "making conversation" way.  Especially if it is said more like a comment, instead of a question.  Still not cool.  But not nearly as bad as the LW's examples, ie  questions about IVF or "jokes" about setting a world's record.
    Yeh those comments are basically unnecessary. I mean when I see a large family, I often wonder if they're all their own, friends, adopted, etc. Basically I wonder what their situation is.
    Do I ask? Nope. Not my business, but I sure as hell wonder in my head. Humans are naturally curious.
    CharmedPamSTARMOON44OurWildKingdom
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    On the topic of people saying rude things to mothers - my mom always looked very young for her age. When she was 32, she had me (I was 18 mos.) and was pregnant with my brother. A woman came up to her in the store and said "You should be ashamed of yourself!", looking nastily at me and my mom's pregnant belly. Can you imagine?? 

  • CharmedPamCharmedPam Chicagoburbs member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    It’s natural to see them and go “woah, they have a lot on their plate”.  And then it’s also natural to try to figure out age gaps and such.  Heck - I’ve done it - but how many people are asking these questions outloud?!? Like, who knows not to keep those questions INSIDE your head?

    charlotte989875MissKittyDangerVarunaTTOurWildKingdom
  • kerbohlkerbohl member
    Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer
    The families around me are often huge - like, my mom is one of 12 and my dad is one of 9 - so families with four or more kids just wouldn't get a second glance from me.  I know it was more of  a generation thing, but big families are still the norm for my extended family, though big usually at this point means 5+.  And then the close in age thing - blended families are getting more common as well.  I feel like that wouldn't get a second glance from me either.  This also does make me wonder where these people live that this seems so abnormal in any way that people feel compelled to comment.
    imageimage
    OurWildKingdom
  • ei34ei34 member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    My three look (and are) close in age, and the commentary from strangers runs the gamut from empathetic "you've got your hands full!" to nosy bordering on inappropriate.  I don't have a painful back story attached.  I don't have a good response to offer LW but if she were reading this I'd just tell her I'm sorry people are so nosy.  The biggest irony is when I'm out running errands solo no one literally no one talks to me.  Cashiers barely even make eye contact. 
    charlotte989875MissKittyDangerOliveOilsMomOurWildKingdom
  • VarunaTTVarunaTT member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited August 8
    I know my reply was short, but I love @banana468 statement of "question is one that isn't supposed to be asked in the first place." 

    Look, we all wonder things sometimes.  For an extreme example: I've probably wondered about how every single person in my life has sex, their O-face, and other inappropriate shennanigans that I would never ever ask.  So I really don't get why people get so hepped up when you tell them, "That's an inappropriate question to be asking me."  B/c it doesn't really matter what you feel, in your curiosity, you don't have the right to get that itch scratched.  You're allowed to wonder in your own mind, but you're not allowed to just spout off things that really aren't your business to be knowing, whether it seems innocent to you or not.

    ETA:  I'm hyped up about something at work right now; I didn't think anyone here was arguing the right to ask intrusive questions.
    charlotte989875banana468MissKittyDangerOurWildKingdom
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    banana468 said:
    I honestly wouldn't be offended at "you've got your hands full" kind of comments - DD gets these with 1 year old twins because it is true. However, asking about the way the babies were conceived/adopted is inexcusable.

    But people are often tactless.    It's only as we start to speak up that people learn that the correct question isn't "How do I respond to these questions?" but, "How can I give a non answer?" or better yet "How can I answer in a way that advises the questioner that the question was out of place?" 

    I had this conversation with my aunt regarding the stress that people suffering from infertility experience when asked, "So when are you planning to get pregnant?" and her answer was, "Tell them that you're trying."    My answer was, "The question is one that isn't supposed to be asked in the first place." 
    I know. My first example is a comment mostly made in empathy while the others are non-of-your-business kind of questions. Those are two totally different things.
    charlotte989875
  • VarunaTT said:
    I know my reply was short, but I love @banana468 statement of "question is one that isn't supposed to be asked in the first place." 

    Look, we all wonder things sometimes.  For an extreme example: I've probably wondered about how every single person in my life has sex, their O-face, and other inappropriate shennanigans that I would never ever ask.  So I really don't get why people get so hepped up when you tell them, "That's an inappropriate question to be asking me."  B/c it doesn't really matter what you feel, in your curiosity, you don't have the right to get that itch scratched.  You're allowed to wonder in your own mind, but you're not allowed to just spout off things that really aren't your business to be knowing, whether it seems innocent to you or not.

    ETA:  I'm hyped up about something at work right now; I didn't think anyone here was arguing the right to ask intrusive questions.
    Oooh the next time I have this conversation with my aunt I'm going to use the O face analogy.  Love it.
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