If You Can’t Say Something Nice…It’s Because You’re An A**

**Fair warning: I’m pregnant, ranty and have just plain had enough. If the title wasn’t already a dead giveaway, there are bad words in this post. If implied and actual cuss words offend you, then this may not be the post for you.


Once upon a time, I had witty comebacks. People would look at our ever-growing family and say stupid things like, “Don’t you know what causes that?” and I would reply with a saucy smile, “Yes, and we’re really good at it.”

“You people need to get a TV.” (If you think watching TV is more fun than sex, then you’re obviously doing it wrong.”)

“Are you finally going to make him get fixed?” (Why? He clearly isn’t broken.)

It started with my third baby (some crazy number of kids, three) and it’s steadily gotten worse over the past fifteen years. It’s rude and it’s offensive, and I’m done with the self-deprecating humor crap.

I don’t know if it’s that this is my twelfth pregnancy (that’s 12 bouts of extreme morning sickness, thank you), our eighth baby, or that I’m over 40 and y’all are still saying this crap, but I’ve had enough. I’m done being funny. I’m done hoping that you won’t make inappropriate jokes about our sex life. I’m done cringing before your judgmental anti- pregnancy rudeness, and crossing my fingers that for once you’ll decide to be Elsa and just let it go.

Because nobody ever freaking lets it go.

One nasty comment is not ever enough, and don’t feed me that “I’m just joking” or “You need to get a sense of humor” crap.

When you make these kinds of “jokes” to us, you’re asking us to apologize to you for the fact that our children are alive. When you say I should make my husband “tie a knot in it” do you even realize what you’re saying? You’re standing in front of me and talking about my husband’s balls. Let me just say right now and for the record that you do not have permission to discuss my husband’s balls with me. Also off limits are his penis and any of my lady bits, and I swear to you that the next person who thinks it’s funny to tell me that “It’s a vagina and not a clown car” is going to be picking their teeth up off the ground. I’m not even playing here.

It’s offensive as hell, and it’s about time that someone told you so.

About a month ago, as I desperately wished for a woman I was friendly with to drop the subject of my-husband’s-vasectomy-that’s-never-going-to-happen (She didn’t stop for 11 minutes, yes I timed her, and this constitutes sexual harassment, btw) I realized that the witty comebacks and the funny replies that disguised my pleas for acceptance and mercy were being heard as banter. I was sending out the message that talking to me this way was okay because I was helping to make it a joke. I wasn’t making it stop or go away, I was saying quite clearly that I was okay with my sex life being a topic of conversation, the butt of jokes, and the object of derision.

I also realized that nobody knows it’s offensive and that they should stop because I’ve never told them so. My participation has implied agreement (that I agree this is a ridiculous and/or irresponsible number of children) and that it’s worthy of being mocked. The world was constantly stepping over the line because I’d never bothered to draw the stupid line!

A few weeks ago, I decided to draw it good and deep. Y’all’s mamas might not have taught you manners, so now I’m going to be that smack upside your head. I’m done joking and playing around. If you’re behaving like an ass, I’ll tell you so.

I should have started this years ago.

Instead of the witty repartee, I now have one stock answer. It goes like this:

“Don’t you know what causes that?” You’re an ass.

“Are you finally going to make him get fixed?” You’re an ass.

“That’s way too many children.” You’re an ass.

Then I follow it up with the mom death stare, and within moments they apologize. Every. Freaking.Time. And they should, because being a jackass is not okay.

I refuse to ever again apologize for the fact that after 20 years I still really like my husband, and he really likes me. I refuse to try to make you okay with the fact that we’re Catholics and mean it. I refuse to make excuses for the fact that my house is filled to the brim with children we love and would not ever want to live without. I refuse to listen to anyone’s “advice” on what the state of my husband’s balls or my vagina need to be; if you don’t use them you don’t get an opinion or have permission to discuss them. Ever. I refuse to spend even one more minute fighting back tears and silently begging to world to say nice things about the fact that this latest baby is alive, because F you if you think you have the right to an opinion on whether or not my children are alive.

The only appropriate response to a pregnancy announcement is “Congratulations!” If you’re shocked, disgusted, shaking your head, or feel the need to otherwise comment about my children’s existence; then you’re a jackass and I’m done pretending otherwise.



About Rebecca Frech

Rebecca Frech is a Catholic author, speaker, CrossFit coach, and the Managing Editor of The Catholic Conspiracy website. She is the author of the best-selling books Teaching in Your Tiara: A Homeschooling Book for the Rest of Us and Can We Be Friends? She is a co-host of the popular podcast The Visitation Project, and is a columnist for The National Catholic Register. She and her husband live just outside Dallas with their eight children, a German Shepherd named Dave, and an ever-multiplying family of dust-bunnies.
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16 Responses to If You Can’t Say Something Nice…It’s Because You’re An A**

  1. Viterbo Fangirl says:

    *STANDING OVATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!*

    • Teri Lucas says:

      Congratulations! Well said. And enjoy this new little person.


    • Brian says:

      More like…STANDING OVULATION…amirite???

    • A Nobody from Nowhere says:

      Hurray! In a case like this, using the A-word is a spiritual work of mercy.


    • Laura says:

      Bravo!!!! (says this mom of 10, plus 7 in heaven)— I have used all the comebacks you used to used, except the most recent– just never thought about the fact I was approving the conversations by participating. 🙂 My youngest is now 9, so I guess I’m off the hook. But I will tell you, the first words out of my mouth whenever anyone tells me they are pregnant is a hearty “congratulations, how exciting”!!!! because I remember the deflating feeling of having to joke about, or justify our latest addition.

    • Nancy says:

      My dad’s comment (there were 6 of us) was always “Which ones should we get rid of?”

  2. Ellen Kolb says:

    YES!!! I wish I’d had as much sense when I needed it. Sometimes I’d just stare open-mouthed at the person making snide remarks about my babies. Sometimes I’d return a wisecrack. Your reply is far more appropriate. Carry on.

  3. Ann says:

    You go girl! I’m sorry people are jerks.

  4. Kristina Gillespie says:


  5. Vanessa says:

    I was just catching up with your posts – I’m a few weeks behind – and I wanted to take a moment to say Congratulations! I’m so happy for you! Babies are awesome, and each one deserves to have someone in the world happy that they’re here.

    And seriously, the comments you’ve had to deal with, yes, those people are a**es! Sheesh, babies are a blessing, don’t they know that?! Good for you for telling them so!

    I was over 40 with my youngest and wanted to sleep all the time, too. It gets better. I’ll be praying for you.

    And punch that doc with his “advanced maternal age” crap. If you’re pregnant, obviously you’re not “advanced.” Advanced is for woman who are beyond the childbearing years, IMO.

    Congratulations again on your latest bundle of blessing! I’m sure she or he (do you know?) will bring you tons of joy and laughter. 🙂

  6. CrazyHairclaire says:

    Nice. I like it. I cannot imagine the exhaustion of having to field unsolicited comments.

  7. Eileen Zimak says:

    As Catholic women. we must strive to be like Out Lady. I’m sure people said horrible things to her about her Son. Let’s think about how she responded, and let’s pray for each other. Sorry to sound preachy, but there is enough vitriol in this world; we don’t need to spread more around.

    “Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.”
    – Mother Teresa

  8. Patrick says:

    Very nicely done, good for you and thank you.

  9. Jenny says:

    yaaaaaaaaaas, Gaga. Co-opting this for future encounters with inappropriate questioners.

  10. louiseyvette says:

    This was great! I’m amazed you don’t have a ton of comments.

  11. Dan Lane - also known as Dad says:

    To paraphrase a passage that occurs in the Bible only twice, you are my daughter and I am well pleased with you. I have heard people make comments like that before and they are absolutely wrong. When your mom was pregnant with your younger brother, a friend of ours made a comment: “Well, we all know what you’ve been doing” and your mother’s reply was, “Yes, and we’re damn good at it!” Never talked to him again. This response needs to be a part of every parent-to-be class. BTW, dads get those comments too.

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