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.