Our Insensitivity to Family Planning

The questions started a week after we were married, “So when are you going to start a family?”

Seriously? We just returned from our honeymoon, my husband was in grad school, and we had no idea where we would be living in six months.  Having a baby was the last thing on our minds.

However that question didn’t stop. While my husband and I built up experience in the professional world, friends and family wouldn’t stop the nagging. I started telling people that if they wanted to hear the pitter-patter of little feet in my house, then I would put boots on my cat. Finally I had to tell my mother that the more she asked that question, the less I felt like starting a family.

We waited over 11 years to start our family.  We did it on our time schedule. However during this time span I came to realize that as a society we are really insensitive to others in regards to family planning.

When we ask the question, “so when’s the baby arriving?” We’re being insensitive to our friends about whether they even want a child.  People do decide not to have children; a baby isn’t for everyone. Or that same question might be hurtful: how are we do know whether the person on the receiving end has been trying only to be heart-broken every month when she realizes that she hasn’t conceived?

Honestly, it wasn’t anyone’s business whether we wanted children, whether we were trying, or whether we were having complications.  The whole process was between me and my husband, and for everyone else there was no basis for them needing to know.

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3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Fay Gibson said,

    Totally agree. People just either dont know what to say or just say too much to new couples and they never take into consideration that there might be something private going on behind the scenes or that you honestly dont want to have children.

  2. 2

    Helen Lehmann said,

    Yes, agree as well. Have known enough couples dealing with infertility to know that this is a subject that is just as well to be left alone. Waaaaay too personal.

  3. 3

    Khara said,

    Very interesting Ellen. Clearly this is a common societal question. I never saw it as insensitive. More as normal. Definitely will try to be more mindful in the future. Unless its one of my (GROWN) kids or a close friend. Then I would probably still ask!


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