We live in a world where everyone is offended by everything. Which can make it hard to write a post like this because I don’t want it to fall into the category of ” no one can say anything these days!”
Because I agree- people take offense to way too much.
But sometimes I feel like it is justified- and there are still some things out there that need to be addressed.
So I’m going to do it.
I recently went with a friend to help out a local shop owner\blogger package her product that she sells. There were about 30 women in the room– just random people who answered her plea for help on Instagram.
What I’m saying is- most of us didn’t know each other- only the one or two friends we came with.
Anyway, we were sitting on the floor- in our own little circles working on our packages when a lady next to me and my friend started talking.
In an obnoxious, loud tone she hollered to us:
“So who are you? What do you do?”
She came off a little abrupt- but we were polite. My friend answered her and then asked her what she did and she went on to tell us that she was a mom of four and a photographer.
The conversation then turned to me and she asked what I did. I told her I stayed home with my two daughters.
She then asked their ages.
7 and 5 I told her.
Then a pause
In a loud, somewhat crass tone she snipped:
“So being that we are in Utah aren’t you going to keep going and have more?”
My heart sank for a brief second even though I could have bet 100 dollars she would ask me that. It’s not the first time I’ve been asked by strangers if we are going to have more kids.
I already struggle with the fact that we “only” have two kids.
And I struggle with being judged by others who may not know our story who might think we are being selfish for just having two. Whether people actually think that or not- I don’t know- but it is part of my insecurities that tie into our infertility.
In the moment that she paused when I told her my children’s ages- I knew what she was going to ask next.
You see, when you have older kids like mine- my youngest already being 5- people are going to wonder.
If you have one or two children and your youngest is a little older- I think people should understand that there just might be a reason why you haven’t had another baby in five years.
Whether it is infertility or by choice.
And you shouldn’t have to answer that question to anyone- especially someone you don’t even know.
After this lady asked me about our family planning situation (seriously- who does that?) I didn’t miss a beat and answered her back and said curtly:
“Well, if we could. We would.”
I didn’t say it in a particularly polite way either. It surprised me probably more than it did her.
She literally closed her mouth, and turned around and didn’t say one more word to us that night.
I am proud that I didn’t burst into tears, or feel sad and depressed. I could have chosen to be more offended, but instead I chose to feel empowered. I was truly proud of myself for saying what I felt. For being blunt.
Because sometimes people need to be talked to bluntly. Especially if they asked a question bluntly themselves.
I was shocked, actually, that a complete stranger would ask someone about their family plans. I know it was an innocent question but because of our journey I can’t help but be more sensitive to personal questions like that.
She had no tact, and I can only assume- no real experience with someone who suffers infertility. Maybe she has never been told that asking someone why or why not they aren’t having more babies is not exactly a good conversation starter.
Ask about the weather, ask where they are from, what they do for a living- but do not ask someone when the they’re going to be having another baby.
However, if someone is going to ask a stranger about their plans for reproducing then they should be prepared for whatever answer they get.
I can’t help but wonder- what if this had happened shortly after our failed IVF or IUI? Would I have burst into tears? I can guarantee it would have added another dagger to the heart.
What if she asked that question to someone who was going through a miscarriage, or a failed adoption? How would it make them feel?
My point is. People need to think before they ask questions.
I might be over-reacting but in a way- I feel like I’ve paid my dues. I can’t have children when I want. I can’t have the four children I always hoped I would. And because of that- if you ask me why I’m not having more kids- I’m going to tell you like it is.
I do like to take the high road but sometimes I have to stand up for myself and say it like it is.
I could answer politely and say “we’ll see what happens!” but in my mind I would be thinking:
“Well, we’ve been trying for four years to have another baby, spent thousands of dollars on treatments, had two surgeries, and have had over a dozen failed procedures. So that is why I don’t have more children.”
Infertility awareness is important. And this is why. Some people simply are oblivious to what they are saying or asking. And I don’t think they should get off so easy all the time.
I realize that spreading awareness should not come in angry words or out of hurt or frustration. So if you can respond in a way that is diplomatic and polite then I encourage that, but if you feel the need to speak your mind- I support you 100%.
You don’t ask someone if they are going to have more kids if you don’t know anything about them. You don’t know someone’s struggle.
You don’t know that it may have taken someone ten years to get the one or two that they have.
You don’t know that someone might be in the middle of saving every penny they earn to be able to afford IVF, doctor’s fees, and medication.
You don’t know if someone has had countless miscarriages over the years and is just grateful for the child they have.
And you may not know that their heart breaks just a little bit more when they are reminded of those things by someone who isn’t in their circle of trust.
To someone it might be just a simple, innocent question.
But by spreading infertility awareness I have to do my part by requesting it become a question you don’t ask without thought or without knowing someone’s situation.