The Questions You Shouldn’t Ask
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Some questions are really just none of my damn business!
When I was in high school, I had a running coach that I really admired.
She was fit, she was talented, she was fun…all the things that I wanted to be when I was an adult.
But I was puzzled.
My coach was happily married and in the prime of her (from what I could gather) childbearing years. So why didn’t she have babies?
It seemed logical to me. Happy couple + nice house + stable jobs = time to start a family!
I voiced my opinion frequently to my coach, as did other girls on our team.
Why don’t you have kids?!
When are you going to have a baby?!
Are you pregnant RIGHT NOW?!
In hindsight, I’m sure we were really annoying.
At the time, though, these questions seemed perfectly harmless. I never considered that questions like these were horribly intrusive and honestly none of my business.
As far as I know, my former coach never had children. I don’t know the reason.
Maybe she didn’t want kids (unthinkable to me at the time, although now I HEAR YA!).
Maybe her husband didn’t.
Maybe she couldn’t get pregnant.
Maybe she could get pregnant but had a miscarriage. Or several.
So you may be asking, why is this relevant to my life now? Why am I thinking about these things that happened twenty years ago?
Well, it is only in the last year or two that I have come to realize that my former habit of asking people question about when, why, if, and how they are going to have children is none of my damn business…because you never know what’s going on behind closed doors.
I have seen friends struggle with infertility or suffer a pregnancy loss and the tricky part is, these are often silent tragedies. People don’t talk about them.
So my well-meaning yet intrusive question of “When are you guys going to have another kid?” might get asked to a couple who has been desperately trying to conceive for months with no luck…or worse, a couple that just miscarried.
You just don’t know.
And twenty years later, I finally get it.
I think it’s a topic all women should explore, or at least those of us who have that desire to ask if someone wants kids every time we encounter a woman of childbearing age.
Because another thing I have come to grips with is the fact that it’s okay for people to NOT want kids. Much like I used to believe that every woman should breastfeed, I also thought every woman wanted to be a mom.
This is not the case.
More and more, I feel proud of the women I meet who have decided that a life without children is the life they choose to live. Just because society says that a woman can’t be fulfilled until she experiences motherhood doesn’t mean that it’s true.
But no matter what path a woman chooses, it’s her right to do so without a bunch of questions from everyone around her.