Today’s women face a lot of expectation. We graduate high school and are confronted by a predetermined set of goals bestowed upon us by other individuals.
- Graduate from college
- Find a job
- Marry the man of your dreams
- Have a baby
- Live happily ever after…
This list is our gift from general society and veering away from it often seems to be cause for alarm. These expectations have become so ingrained in our minds that many of us think it’s okay to constantly call them into question. The whole baby thing, for example, is apparently no longer a private, personal decision – it’s a conversational topic open to the masses.
The Spotlight on Fertility
Prior to the birth of her gorgeous daughter, Luna, Chrissy Teigen addressed the fact that she and her husband were facing infertility and a need for IVF. She is quoted as saying this:
“Anytime somebody asks me if I’m going to have kids, I’m like, ‘One day, you’re going to ask that to the wrong girl who’s really struggling, and it’s going to be really hurtful to them.”
Could this quote be any more on point?
Once a couple has gotten married, or been together for a significant amount of time, their ability and desire to have a baby becomes a constant topic of conversation.
- Never mind that they may not want children, or simply aren’t ready.
- Never mind that they could be struggling with infertility.
- Never mind that they might have just suffered a heartbreaking pregnancy loss.
They’ve been together for awhile… they need to expect questions like these, right?
Wrong. There are no circumstances where any of us will ever fully understand the internal struggles that other individuals may be facing, or the choices that they are making. Anyone’s choice to have, or not have, children is something incredibly personal. That choice doesn’t deserve a constant barrage of questions.
My Fertility Story
Take my own story, for example. My husband and I were married in 2011 and from the moment we’d spoken our vows, questions about our desire to reproduce rarely ceased. Our unique situation, however, that made these questions slightly distressing.
You see, my husband is a full-time wheelchair user and I suffer from PCOS – two individual circumstances that add up to one difficult time getting pregnant.
We knew that IVF was in our future. We also knew that it would be a financial, mental, and physical hardship to endure. While having a baby was more than worth any difficulties, we were also well aware of the need to be completely prepared for the experience.
As people quizzed me about our hypothetical children, I found myself becoming overwrought with sadness. If they’d only known what I would have given to just get pregnant the “normal” way?
But how could they? Our fertility struggles weren’t exactly something I wanted to make public. I just wished the questions would stop. After all, our choice to have children was no business of theirs.
In 2015, the mystery surrounding our lack of procreation was solved when I gave birth to a beautiful little girl. I had hopes that this would quiet the questions and force people to leave us alone. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Now we’re faced with… so when can we expect baby #2?
It’s never ending.
Learning to Think Before I Speak
I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite – I too am guilty of asking, “So when are you guys planning on have kids?”
Human nature has gifted most of us with an annoying knack for curiosity. Despite this, however, it’s essential that common courtesy still takes precedence over bad habits and irritating characteristics. Unless you personally know what a person might be facing, try to keep your comments and questions to yourself.
After my own experiences with this sort of circumstance, I’ve made a genuine effort to abstain from asking people about these sorts of things. If people want me to know about their personal standing on kids, they’ll tell me without any unnecessary (and awkward) prodding.
You can’t ever know what is happening in someone’s head and whether innocent questions are causing them grief and pain. While you may feel caring and genuinely interested, your intrigue might just be a little more salt being poured into an open wound.
It’s time for us to support one another and respect our rights to self-preservation. Whether it’s your sister, friend, or neighbor from two doors down – grant them the privacy they deserve. I’m sure they’ll let you know when they’re ready to talk, or deliver any big news.
Do people ask you about the state of your uterus and the frequency of your unprotected sex? How do you respond to the well-intentioned but tactless questions from loved ones? Share your thoughts below!