This post was a suggestion of a friend after my last post. In fact, she emailed me her long rant with the permission to just copy and paste. She is also childless, yet she is by choice. She also gets the “when are you having babies?” question often and by strangers. Here it is verbatim because I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Because for the life of me, I simply cannot understand why it is unacceptable to chat with casual acquaintances (or even some of the closest friends and family) about what happens in the toilet, religion, or taboo topics like salaries and finances (gasp!). Yet, it is fully acceptable for co-workers you hardly know personally, complete strangers you’ve just met at a function, or even a service person (postal carrier, hair stylist, barista/waitstaff at that establishment you frequent) to ask when you plan to have children. As soon as they know you’re married (or perhaps you are a woman that has reached that ‘certain’ age), or when they know you were married recently – the ‘When are you having children?’ And ‘Do you have children?’ are the some of the first questions people ask you. How is it okay for people to basically ask when you and your husband plan to copulate – when it is not socially acceptable to answer with statements about your actual sex life, “Well, my husband and I have sex every 2-3 days, and I orgasm about 75% of the time, which I once read helps you get pregnant – so any day now!”. Oh, and try telling those same strangers you CAN’T have children (oh, I know it is messed up that I have done so, seeing as my child-free life has thus far been my choice – but man, the faces I get when I tell them that!) – they gasp in horror, apologize (not for asking, but for your unfortunate circumstances) while making a sad face and then awkwardly excuse themselves so that you are left alone in your very personal and emotional revelations (which each person should be allowed to share with whom they want, when they want – not when they are cornered!) – if you could not handle the response, then avoid the topic! The thing is – I do not think fertility issues (infertility, miscarriage, etc.) should be taboo – they are real, hard, and horrible. The problem is that the people you know are often asking for their own curiosity, while the acquaintances may do the same or be attempting small talk – though neither are prepared for the truth when the answer is short of expected. I will, you will, other people will – share with the people they want to when they are ready to share whatever it is they want to share about their personal lives. And for fucks sake – do not judge them or feel sorry for them!
And then for your another post you can address that ‘gasp in horror’ and the entirely messed up misconception that a woman without children (whether a choice or curse) is somehow not on par with the other women around her.