The moment I dreaded the most about my wedding day was the reception. The mere thought of having everyone’s eyes on me, on us, made me queasy. Little did my amateur mind know the most shocking occurrence was incessantly hearing, “When are you two having babies?”
Oh Lordy. I was not prepared for that.
Mark and I didn’t plan on breeding right away. We wanted a few years to enjoy and cultivate ourselves as just a couple. Logically, we took the necessary precautions and stuck to “our plan.”
Well, much to my surprise, things did not go according to the plan. Apparently, God did not get the memo we were ready for a baby.
Consequently, we spent five years trying to conceive. I was spared ever having a miscarriage. I just didn’t get pregnant. Not once.
People would joke, “Are you doing it right?” It was funny at first, then it fell flat after a while.
I certainly don’t blame anyone for using humor regarding the sensitive subject. I did the same thing. For instance, when I was asked the dreaded question again, I replied, “Well, we’re definitely practicing.” My response caused the inquirer to blush.
“Oh, was that an inappropriate response to an inappropriate question?” I scornfully thought.
Served him right.
Then, fatefully, people stopped asking. As bugged as I was about being asked, it hurt more not to be asked. Oh, the fickleness of a woman!
In my mind, it meant people gave up on the possibility of us having a baby. They KNEW we were experiencing infertility. I refused to talk about it, you know, because THAT’S healthy. I was mortified, though. Maybe that seems melodramatic, nonetheless it’s how I felt.
I underwent pity, judgement and superiority from others.
Women with children.
However, they WERE better than me. They were able to have children. At least that’s what I thought during the defeated state I was in.
One of these experiences occurred while at an event with the women from my church. I arrived a little late and ended up stuck at an unfortunate table. I quickly learned why there was an empty seat at their table. It was filled with snooty, young mothers.
We all know the type, right?
“HOW long have you been married?” one questioned.
Wondering why that mattered, I answered, “Four years.”
You would have thought I shot her mother right in front of her. In complete shock and horror, she replied, “Oh. You don’t have ANY children?”
You guys, did I miss something? Are we required to make babies the moment we walk down the aisle? That would be rather awkward for our guests, don’t you think?
Ironically, the snooty woman left her husband and children a couple years later. Yep, just left her kids.
Anyway, that’s beside the point and now I’m being the petty, snooty lady.
Our journey to parenthood didn’t come without its challenges, but frankly, I will never regret the years spent having my husband to myself. Those years allowed us to grow into a strong couple. Through all our challenges, we have walked away more resilient and for that I am eternally grateful.
8 thoughts on “The Day They Stopped Asking”
It’s sad when we feel judged by the ones who should be understanding. I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through this. People need to respect that families are born differently and it doesn’t make any of them any less precious.
Amen!! Thanks girl! Thankfully, I’ve learned most woman are supportive and wonderful, just a few bad seeds out there.
It’s funny how when you reach a certain point in your life things become expected of you. Oh you’re dating! When are you getting married? Married! When’s the baby coming? Most people mean well, but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t still hurt – especially when the plans are taking longer than expected. I’m happy that you and your husband had each other through all of the pain and judgments.
It’s made me super aware not to ask those questions. I let people offer that information if they want. Thank you for your comment! I totally agree most people mean well, but it definitely still stings.
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In my quest to connect with people when I was younger, I probably said many wrong things- out of ignorance, not cruelty. Your story really touched me and I’m sure touched many. But there is a breed of women, and we’ve all known some since our HS days, who seek to exclude and feel superior. What a sad life they must live to want to hurt those who are already hurting. Keep writing!
Hi Nancy! Thank you for your comments! I think we’ve all said things in our younger days that would make us cringe now. I really could handle the innocent, dumb questions, but the nasty women were the worst. Thankfully, most woman I know and encounter are kind and supportive. They make up for the nasty ones, for sure.
I remember a well meaning older woman ask me why my husband and I weren’t pregnant yet… as I was in the midst of a miscarriage. She had no way of knowing, but that’s just the thing, isn’t it?! What is it about getting married that turns our uteruses into public debate? Especially when that public debate refuses to engage women when they really need it. Like when they are having infertility troubles or losing a child?! Then, everything becomes hush hush and taboo; inadvertently shaming us. It’s only once we find our voice and begin sharing, that we realize how many other women have faced similar obstacles. But we have to find that strength within. That needs to change. If the entire world is invited into our bedrooms to inquire as to whether or not we are “doing it correctly” (and I am absolutely NOT saying that I think they should be), then they need to come into the living room, as well, to provide support when we aren’t. And, if you’re not willing to do so, maybe hold your tongue the next time you are speaking to a woman of child-bearing age… which, according to Jewish tradition, is age 90 (as per our matriarch Sarah). Or, in other words, just hold your tongue.
Mel – this was absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing.
All of this!!! To our uterus’s being on public display in a way to then being inadvertently shamed for not having kids when we’re “supposed” to have them. Thankfully, our experience has made me hyper aware of other couples. I don’t ask, unless they offer information. It really isn’t any of my business and I truly have no idea what they might be going through. I would hate if I caused anyone the hurt I experienced from essentially innocent and well-meaning comments. Anyhoo, thank you for your thoughts, Jacki and I’m sorry you experienced much of the same.