Over the 2 weeks or so, I’ve had at least 3 people ask me (sometimes alone, sometimes in a group) when we’re going to have children. I’m not an overly emotional person (kind of a robot, sometimes, actually). But this question always gets me. What am I supposed to say?
For people that I know well, I have decided that I am going to tell them that we’re working on it. I want to avoid the constant questioning eyes “Are you pregnant today?” “What about today?”, but if someone is a good friend, I’ve decided that it’s easier to tell them what’s going on, than to lie or be subversive.
For people that I don’t know well, I’m a bit stuck. I sometimes respond with a sing-songy “Someday”, or “When the time is right”.
When I’m on my hormone medications, though… all bets are off. My new favorite response is, “When God feels it’s time” or the snarkier, “Well, it’s not really up to me at this point.” People usually catch my drift, then move along.
This weekend I was at a bridal shower, and the conversation turned to babies. I successfully navigated through the conversation and thought I was free & clear. Until I got up to get some water, and the hostess turned to me, and asked, “So, Lara, when are you going to have kids?” EVERYONE in the room just looked at me. And I really only know the bride well; I’m friendly with the hostess, but everyone else was new to me. The response was one of those, “Well, um, it’s not really up to us at this point, so we’re just waiting”. That shut EVERYBODY up. Topic was officially closed. Dun, dun…
A friend asked me yesterday about this, and I made the decision to tell her. I wouldn’t consider her a good friend, but I just wasn’t in the mood to be coy about it. So I spilled the beans. I should have thought more about this – she’s not overly compassionate, and her response just kind of angered me. What was the response? None. None at all. I told her that this is one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through, and she flipped the conversation to start talking about her soon-to-be mother-in-law. Why am I friends with people like this? Ugh. Time to purge, I think… Anywhoo…
I did finally talk to my mom about it last night. Yes. All my friends knew before my mom. I just didn’t want her to worry, you know? But I decided that it would be easier if I could tell her everything that’s going on in my life — hormone shots and all. She told me that she and my dad had a hard time conceiving, and had to take her temperature for “a really long time”, but they never had any medical work-ups done. My brother is now 37 years old, so that makes sense to me. She was 31 when he was born (my dad was 42), so I’m sure that the pressure that they got from family was excruciating. She has never once pressured me for a grandchild — which I’m sure is because her parents or my dad’s parents kept that kind of stuff coming. My mom is SO self-aware, and would never want to say anything that would be hurtful to me.
Back in August we were planning my dad’s 80th birthday for November. The family decided that they wanted to go skiing in February of this year. At that time, I decided that I should mention that I would hopefully not be allowed to ski because we were hoping to start a family. We ended up not going skiing, and I ended up not pregnant, but my parents have never asked me about it (although I’m sure my mom was wondering!).
Public Service Announcement: Unless someone has already talked to you about starting to try to have kids, don’t ask them if they want to have kids. Make no assumptions. If someone opens up to you, listen. Talk to them about it. But don’t make that the only thing you talk about. Let them know that you’re always willing to listen, but that you don’t want to make that person feel like it’s the only thing going on in their life.