I recently met someone I was at school with, and as happens in these situations, we each asked what the other was doing these days, where did we live now, were we married, etc etc.
This all went ok with us both providing the information requested of us without any huge surprises, but then we moved onto another subject which always comes up in these scenarios, and that is whether we have any children. The school friend told me she had 3 children, and then told me what each of them were doing now, and then she asked how many children I had. Well of course my answer was we don’t have any children. Well, I wish I had been able to take a picture of her face at this point because, honestly, it was a combination of disbelief and utter disgust – a combination I would never have been able to imagine prior to this encounter! In addition to the disbelieving look of disgust that I got, was complete silent for what seemed like 5 minutes, although I’m sure it was only a few seconds in reality. Eventually she glanced at her watch, stuttered and mumbled that she needed to be going and rushed off!
What was that all about? Yes, I’ve had the look of surprise many times before, when I tell people we have no children, but seriously, does this make us some kind of lepers? It certainly seemed like it if this person’s reaction was anything to go by!
What actually annoyed me about this was she never stopped for a second to think that maybe it wasn’t by choice that we didn’t have any children, she simply seemed to assume we’d decided not to have kids.
Yes, children are something I guess all people in relationships consider at some point, however that does not mean that having children is what everyone wants, it also doesn’t mean that even if you do want to have children, it actually happens for you. There are many different reasons why it doesn’t happen, and there are many medical reasons why some either cat have children or advised not to have children.
All I’m trying to say here is, don’t assume someone has children and more importantly don’t be shocked or disgusted if they don’t, as you don’t know why they don’t have children, and your reaction may leave them feeling inadequate, hurt or broken.