Inevitable Question. Awkward Answer.

This past weekend marked the first wave of the inevitable “do you have kids” question where the only answer available to me was “no.” Up until this point, my answer has always been not yet, hopefully soon, or something of the sort. But “no” is an awkward answer that leaves people looking at me like I must be crazy. At which point, I tend to verbally vomit way too much information all over them in a failed attempt to make an awkward moment somewhat less so. The thing is, everyone wants kids, or so society tells us. And the truth is, I do. But my reality is so much more complicated than that and doesn’t easily fit into a soundbite that will explain everything and leave everyone comfortable. I am quickly finding that people are very confused when you tell them you don’t have kids, and when the question follows regarding future kids and the answer remains probably not, the confusion deepens. It is simply an expectation in our society that we all have children. To  not have them means there is something fundamentally wrong with us and we become the “other”, living far outside society’s norm. I am relatively new to all of this but it doesn’t take long to foresee the lifelong quizzical looks I will receive followed by thinly veiled judgement. And so I struggle with how much information to divulge. I am aware that I don’t need to share any more information, but I am an open person and feel uncomfortable giving less than the whole answer, especially when the person is clearly confused by my simple answer. But once I start down the whole “because of health reasons,” the questioning looks increase, followed by concern that makes me feel like I need to explain more, and obviously that can turn into quite a long story to have on a regular basis. And I worry that the person will feel like I’m some wierdo that just dropped her whole life story on them, when in reality I am just trying to honestly answer what is supposed to be a simple question but is really a very complicated answer for me. I am sure that at some point down the road, I will develop a canned speech that I can pull out to answer the question in a precise and easy way. I will learn what works with people and what doesn’t and my answer will become easier to share. But for now, my answer to the inevitable question remains incredibly awkward.

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5 thoughts on “Inevitable Question. Awkward Answer.

  1. I loathe this question and the looks the answer often produces. Here is the way I’ve chosen to handle this: I say, “We would love to have a child, but due to circumstances beyond our control, children aren’t in our future.” If the person chooses to further inquire, I explain the PNH. Usually, they are so confused that they don’t ask anything else, lol.

  2. You should have pre-made laminated cards that explain it so you can hand it to them, let them read it, then answer any follow-up Qs. 🙂 I think it is slowly becoming less of a societal norm for every woman to have or want kids, but it’ll take awhile til it fully catches on. When I get that question (and I’m not even married yet LOL) I have to answer that I simply do not want to have children which, in the eyes of those who believe in that societal norm, makes me seem selfish. Some of my reasons are selfish, but I try to explain that it’s better than becoming a mother who had children because it was expected of her.

  3. This question has made me feel very un-easy as well and over time just the question of when and why has unfortunately brought up responses like “oh it’ll happen when the time is right”, “don’t give up” and other phrases that make me even more upset as other people just don’t know how to respond to your “no”. And it’s not something that will be going away any time soon. For me, letting them know immediately that we’ve decided to no longer pursue that path and that it’s brought us comfort and peace in letting go, has been a bit easier. I think they sense the finality in the answer. Well some do, others will just never get it.

  4. I am so happy to read that pretty much word for word I have had the same thoughts! One time right after learning about my husband having pnh one unlucky person got to experience asking me that question at the wrong time. He (which is even more annoying when a man interrogates you about not having children !!!) kept asking after do y’all have children.. Why not? (Incert disgusted face). Then I got a lecturer about not getting any younger. A weird little laugh snuck out of me and I said “I’m sorry I’m just laughing bc I think it’s weird the closer I get to 30, the more people feel privileged to my personal and medical information. What if I had a miscarriage last week? What if we are infertal? How awful would it be that people were constantly reminding me of those things right?” needless to say the look of horror on his face enabled him to stop questioning me;) part of me felt bad for unleashing all my frustration on him but another part of me felt really good for standing up for myself and teaching him a lesson to not be so careless with his hurtful interrogation just because an almost thirty has no children.

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