Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Why You Shouldn’t Ask “So When Are You Guys Having Children?”

I’m sure most of us are guilty of asking somebody some form of this question at least once in our lives, I know I am. The thing is, I never will again because of what I’ve learned and experienced since becoming a mother myself.

Phrasing the baby question so matter of factly, whether you’re saying it in jest or not, is insensitive. It can imply that having a baby is expected, simple and uncomplicated. And neither of those is true at all.

Being a parent changes your life entirely - and for mothers specifically, changes your body in ways you usually can’t completely undo. Some people don’t want to make that sacrifice and I applaud them for realizing that before they have children they neglect or resent. Having children is NOT something you should just do because you get older or get married or your parents want grandchildren; it’s something you do because you genuinely want to. People who choose to not have children shouldn’t be made to feel guilty or selfish.

Having a baby is not always as simple as everyone makes it sound. I’ve met many other moms since having Little C and come across many who have had some sort of problem along the way. And honestly, the ones who didn’t seem to have any problems probably just haven’t talked about it. Sometimes, no matter what you try, it just doesn’t happen. And then begin the ovulation tests, fertility tests, frustration, stress and disappointment. But even when you do conceive quickly and easily, it doesn’t mean you’re safe from all complications.

I want to share my story mainly to let other women know that if they face similar problems, they are DEFINITELY not alone. When Little C was about 2 ½, we decided we wanted to have another baby. Getting pregnant wasn’t the hard part, your parents weren’t kidding when they said it only takes one time. I ended up not going to the doctor until I was about 10 ½ weeks along but when I did, I was hit with the news that there was a baby, but there was no heartbeat and the baby only measured at 6 ½ weeks. I was devastated and heartbroken and unsure of what to do. As it happened, I didn’t have to decide how to proceed because I miscarried naturally several days later. Afterward, it was difficult and frustrating because I just wanted to heal and move on but unfortunately the body doesn’t heal overnight. We had to wait a few months before we were able to try again to make sure my cycles had returned to normal. And then I was anxious that it would be really difficult to conceive again or that I would conceive and have another miscarriage.

Thankfully, 4 months later, I became pregnant again and 2 weeks ago, we were blessed with an amazing, perfect and healthy addition to our family. In all honesty though, I think it took until I was about 20 weeks to stop worrying that something would be wrong every time I headed to a prenatal checkup. What helped me through the ordeal was discovering that I was nowhere near alone; I quickly learned that between just 4 women I knew, they’d had 6 miscarriages. I’m sure there are many more that I don’t know about because women don’t tend to talk about it. And who can blame them? Talking about it brings up feelings we’d rather not relive and many people don’t know how to respond so they end up saying something inappropriate or insensitive; it’s easier to avoid the situation altogether. If telling my story can help one other women feel a little less alone in her struggles, it’s well worth any tears and awkwardness I may face. To cast a positive light on everything, I will mention that between us 5 women who’d had miscarriages, we now have 10 healthy children and 1 more on the way soon!

So in the end, if you’re ever curious about anyone’s baby situation, please consider phrasing your question a little differently. Perhaps, “have you thought about having any [more] children?”

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