The Question that Stings

“When are you going to have kids of your own?”

The dreaded question that every childless woman above a certain age has surely heard. I know that most people mean well but the inquiry about someone’s family planning is a personal thing with our without infertility struggles. This morning I was at church, as I am every week. After initially setting up the Sunday School classrooms I ducked back into my office to grab some remaining supplies for class. My office is connected to the church nursery and the only way to gain entry is by walking through the nursery. Of course there were several children present as well as a couple older ladies chatting over coffee. I politely paused to say hello and make some small talk. After a few minutes one of the older ladies in the nursery asked me the dreaded question “When are you going to have a little one?”

I find this interesting and even without infertility issues I can’t imagine asking someone about there reproductive and procreative plans and decisions. If you are close enough to a person to be privy to this kind of information — you probably already know the answer. If you aren’t — then why are you being so intrusive?  I of course don’t want to be rude so I fumble to string together an excuse about how we are wanting to have a house first. After a surprising double take she tells me that a house isn’t necessary and sometimes “surprises happen”.

I explain that it will be “at least two years” and she was taken back to rebuttals with “well you’d be a fantastic mom with or without a house” and flashes a smile.  I grab the supplies and dart out the door. I have no doubt in my mind that the person who asked me was being sincere and only wanted to know when I could cherish having my own baby to care for and raise.  As I walk down to finish setting up the classrooms I am overcome with emotion and have a mini pity party while setting tiny chairs around the preschool tables.

It’s conversations like these that remind me over and over again of my barren womb. Sometimes I think being around Christians makes infertility so much harder because they’ve got these expectations that you’re meant to have kids. It’s frustrating and the question “do you want kids?” hurts so much because who doesn’t want kids? My answer today to appease questioning individuals comes with the painful realization that it may not be two years, in reality it could be much longer.

Adam and I are looking into adoption agencies and while we haven’t solidified anything the reality is we will need a good chunk of change before we can start. Having endured two years of infertility treatments we are carrying a bit of medical debt. When we start the process of adoption we want to be able to gallop ahead and not have to pause for finances. I know there are grants and programs to help as we have loosely looked into them but the whole process seems to be a daunting uphill battle. Growing our family will be so much more than your average nine month wait.

I know it will be worth it in the end, but being faithful and patient is just so hard.

For those reading I feel that my feelings are best summarized by Emily Bingham who hit the nail on the head with her facebook post that went viral…

“Before you ask the young married couple that has been together for seemingly forever when they are finally gonna start a family … before you ask the parents of an only-child toddler when a Little Brother or Little Sister will be in the works … before you ask a single 30-something if/when s/he plans on having children because, you know, clock’s ticking … just stop. Please stop.

You don’t know who is struggling with infertility or grieving a miscarriage or dealing with health issues. You don’t know who is having relationship problems or is under a lot of stress or the timing just isn’t right. You don’t know who is on the fence about having kids or having more kids. You don’t know who has decided it’s not for them right now, or not for them ever. You don’t know how your seemingly innocent question might cause someone grief, pain, stress or frustration. Sure, for some people those questions may not cause any fraught feelings — but I can tell you, from my own experiences and hearing about many friends’ experiences — it more than likely does.”



  1. Amy G | 24th Feb 16

    Ugh, the dreaded question. I haven’t really gotten it at our own church, but when we were at my parents church for Christmas, I got asked twice in one night. And my younger sister and her husband were in the process of announcing their pregnancy to extended family at the time, so it was hard to mentally let it go. It’s so irritating that people don’t realize how awful that question can be.

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