“I feel so bad for her. She has not had a child yet”
This comment was made about a young woman whose wedding had gone viral on social media just a year ago. She had not even clocked two years in her marital bed. Yet here was someone she didn’t know watching her uterus and feeling bad that it had not birthed a child. Not even two years into marriage.
Welcome to the digital age of womb watching. Social media has increased the number of people watching your womb and “feeling bad for you”
But social media is not the bad guy here. Because you take away people’s ability to slide into your DMs or comment on your picture about when the baby is coming and you will have an aunty yelling across the church parking lot asking “Eii Aba you are still not pregnant” (True story)
So this letter is to all the “well meaning” aunties. (For the sake of this letter if you are a womb watcher, YOU are the aunty we are talking about – man or woman)
Dear “well meaning” aunties,
At this point should we even call you well meaning? “Well meaning” is defined as having good intentions. Here are some examples of questions that have good intentions behind them: 1. Would you like some more food? 2. What can I get you from the store? 3. Would you like a million dollars?
These are typically questions that convey care for the person you are querying. What benefit does “When are you having a baby” have except for quenching your baseless nosiness.
It is clear that you know better. You know how we know you know better? Because you were the same ones who taught us to not poke our noses in issues that are none of our business. Were you not the ones who would knock our head for asking invasive questions like how someone died or probing on the reason why you are not speaking to twenty family members? And in true African form you would shut us up swiftly with a “you don’t ask those questions”, without educating us on why we shouldn’t.
So dear well meaning aunty, on behalf of all women and men who have had to endure your questions on their child birth clock, here is a hearty “SHUT UP! You don’t ask those questions”
But unlike you, I will educate you on why you should not ask these questions.
1. First and foremost, it’s none of your business.
Can we finally address how creepy it is for strangers or even family members to ask when a couple is having a baby? Let’s break it down. You are essentially asking when the husband’s penis is going to meet with the wife’s vagina at the perfect ovulating period to produce a baby. Why are you so far deep in the marital bed? We get it, it takes a village to raise a child, but it does not take a village to conceive a child. The village should not be in the marital bed, asking questions about why they are not pregnant yet. The village’s job is to mind their own business and leave the two people involved in making a baby to make the baby – when THEY want to. The nature of pregnancy and raising a child is such that, the village will definitely be needed at some point. I promise you, a month (or any amount of time) after they are married is not that point.
2. God opens the womb, not your probing questions.
Now this is a point I am shocked I even have to make. Upon all the all night services that you have dragged us to, all the times that you have given us the death stare for not paying attention in church, we still have to educate you on the fact that children come from the Lord. Are we really the ones to remind you of how Hannah’s rival tormented her about not being able to conceive? Do you really want to be the tormentor in someone’s story? What may be a harmless question to you could be the question that torments another woman. Again Aunty, you should know this story like the back of your hand but just to remind you, the bible specifically says that it was God who closed Hannah’s womb and the same God opened it when He was ready to. So what can you do? Join the Hannahs in your life to pray if you are so concerned about their children. Prayer opens wombs, not your questions.
3. You are exposing your own ignorant sexism.
Raise your hand if you have ever heard an aunty refer to a couple’s struggles with infertility as just the woman’s issue. I once heard a “well meaning” aunty ask a wife to come for special prayers at church for God to open her womb. The husband who was sitting next to her was never offered this invitation. (So even when you listen to us and pray for the Hannahs in your life, some of you still get it wrong) Refer back to point #1 and see how a baby is made. A man’s penis comes into contact with a woman’s vagina at the perfect ovulating period. Almost a hundred things have to go right at the exact same time in order for a sperm to meet with an egg. None of everything I have just said involves just the woman. Enough of your archaic and quite frankly sexist thinking that leads you to believe infertility is just the woman’s issue.
These three points do not begin to scratch the surface of all the reasons why a couple should not be badgered with your questioning for a child. Can you imagine coming to eat all the jollof you want at a wedding only to turn around and berate the couple for children whose school fees you will not be responsible for. Couples could be facing difficult issues of infertility, oligospermia, erectile dysfuntion, miscarriage, fibroids etc and your questioning could be reminding them of the pain that they face behind closed doors. Or couples could simply want to travel or enjoy their freedom without having children and that too is none of your business.
So dear aunties, you are an important and vital part of the ecosystem that raises a child. BUT we humbly ask you to shut up! You will be welcomed into that child’s life at some point. Now is not that point. Allow yourself to be invited. Don’t badger in with your questions.
But as for the social media aunties who are so far removed from that ecosystem. Those who will neither babysit nor cook jollof for the baby they keep clamoring for – shut up! Abeg go and google female uteruses since you’re so concerned about them.