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Miss Manners: Friends and family ask invasive pregnancy questions

by ballyhooglobal.com
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Dear Miss Manners: After several years of dealing with infertility and undergoing various treatments, my husband and I are expecting our first child.

Since many of our family and friends were aware of our struggles to get pregnant, I have received a few invasive questions that I’d prefer to not answer: “So, did you guys do IVF? Donor embryos?” etc. I find it jarring to be asked about something as personal as the circumstances surrounding conception, but I know some are just too curious to help themselves.

Can you suggest a response that signals it’s incredibly rude to ask such questions? Every response I come up with ends with a few choice four-letter words, which I know Miss Manners would strongly condemn. I’m in great need of your grace and tact.

Consider this practice at dealing with childishness. As parents, you will gauge your answers to the maturity of the questioner. This is such a case. Miss Manners assures you that mature people do not go around asking others how babies are made.

In a tone of excited confidentiality, you could say, “What happened is that the stork has scheduled a visit with us.” Then, before they can react, “We’re sure you want to congratulate us.” The tone to use is the same one in which you will soon say, countless times, “Say ‘thank you,’ dear.”

Dear Miss Manners: I am the relative and legal guardian of a woman who was born severely disabled. Now middle-aged, she still has the mentality of a toddler. I promised her and myself, when we were children, that I would take care of her (for reasons that are not relevant here).

The problem? All kinds of people, who probably mean well, keep telling me what a great person I am for taking care of her, how wonderful of me, how selfless I am, etc. Miss Manners, I am none of these things. I take care of her because … she needs someone to take care of her. Period. Why praise me for doing something that needs to be done? What would be the alternative, in their eyes? Have they no loved ones?

The adulations are getting nauseating. Family members, friends and health care workers have all said something along those lines at this point. What do they expect me to say in response? “Yes, I know?” That sounds self-congratulatory. When people praise me like this, what I hear is: “I’m so glad I’m not in your shoes. I would never give up my life to do something like this.”

Sorry for going on and on. What do I say, in a “Miss Manners” way, to people who keep saying things like this?

“I’m sure you would do the same. Any feeling person would.”

New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.

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