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To tell or Not to tell…

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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.  

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About TresLaLa

I'm really just a thin girl with a lot of extra padding...

8 responses »

  1. People can really suck. Sometimes they don’t realize it and just mean well and sometimes they just suck. Sorry you have to deal with insensitive peeps. For what its worth, I say tell when you feel like it – even to the stranger in the food store line. And keep your snarky comments ready to go to make the assholes uncomfortable. 😉

    Reply
  2. Wow, I think it’s a really personal question to ask someone. Surprised so many people have asked you. Perhaps that’s a cultural difference.
    As you say hard to know what to say.
    You could try random responses for people your not so close to for entertainment purposes.
    “Never I hate kids, they smell”… ” Once I can afford them” … “When gay marriage is made legal”… Might take the sting out it for you.
    Wishing you all the best with your journey.

    Reply
    • I am definitely going to have to try some of those responses! I don’t think most people actually see this as a personal question. Which is really hard for me to wrap my brain around… For years I had built-in excuses: “Once I graduate from grad school.” Then, “Once Matt graduates from grad school”. Then, “Once we go on our dream trip to Africa”. I realize now that I shouldn’t have given such time-bound responses… :-/

      Reply
  3. I know the feeling and I hate it. My family leaves us alone and my friends have heard me complain enough about Tony’s family that they leave me alone but Tony’s family is HORRIBLE. I flat out told them that the doctor told me I most likely couldn’t have children and that didn’t even stop some of them from asking. If they are rude enough to ask me, I am rude enough to tell them it’s none of their d@mn business. I’m sorry for what you’ve been going through. Its hard enough on me when we aren’t even certain we want children. I’m sure its horrible for you when you’re actually trying to get pregnant. 😦 Hang in there girl and just trip them when they walk away or take other vengeful actions 😉

    Reply
    • I am a fan of other vengeful actions, so that’s a good option! 🙂 Thanks for your comment – I’m sorry that your family doesn’t seem to understand. So frustrating!

      Reply
  4. I’m a new reader that just stumbled upon your blog after reading your comment on the BERF blog. I cannot begin to share how similar our story is to yours. As I was reading, I was nodding my head “yes” and feeling like I could have written those EXACT words. Thank you so much for sharing and helping me realize I’m not the only one! I’m 32 and my husband I have been been together for over 15 years, married for almost 8 (high school sweethearts, awww!), so you can imagine the bombardment of “kid” questions constantly. I’ve resorted to giving the standard answer of, “Oh we’ve been working on it for quite some time” and usually that makes most of our family, or very extended friends of the family, pause and think about their next choice in words. It’s so hard when it seems EVERYONE is preggers or has just had a baby.

    Reply
    • Love your response — it really does shut people up, doesn’t it?!? 🙂 And yes – it does seem like every.other.person.in.the.world is preggers. I am SO happy for them, but it does get to me sometimes. Honestly, though, every pregnant woman that I know also had fertility issues, so it’s hard not to feel so excited (kind of like thinking: if they can do it, we can do it!) Such an odd way of thinking, but it definitely helps me!

      Reply

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