Posted by: CeCe | January 9, 2013

A sorrow unspoken

It’s been a long time since I’ve updated this blog, partly because I’ve been busy, and partly because I’ve felt uninspired, and everything I’ve attempted to write has seemed contrived and pointless.  Other times, I’ve sat in front of a blank screen, wanting so much to write everything that’s been on my mind the last few months, from the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut that is still so painful, to issues on gun control, to the election, to a million other things, but then closed the tab, having not written a single word.  But now, I’m going to write about something deeply personal to me, and it’s a subject that is difficult for me to approach.

This subject is inspired by a single question, uttered by many people whom I love dearly but don’t see nearly enough, and it cuts me to the quick each and every time: “So when are you and your husband going to have kids?”

Usually I’ll answer the question with a shrug and a smile, and a simple, “It just hasn’t happened yet.”

Sometimes that’s enough.  Other times they want to press harder: “But don’t you want kids?”

One time, when I was in kindergarten or first grade, I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I hadn’t yet developed my one true wish for my life, to become a teacher, but I did have one desire at that point:  I wanted to be a mom.  I once drew a picture of an adult version of myself, holding a red balloon in one hand, and the hand of a smiling child in my other, and the arm holding the balloon wrapped around a baby.  Oh yes, I wanted to be a mother.

But I hate it when people ask those questions.  They don’t know about me drawing that picture, or how many times I gladly chose to baby-sit kids, even for free, simply because I love them.  They don’t know what a special place in my heart my friends’ children all hold.  So they’re asking me these dreaded questions, and I think to myself many things, but I don’t say them.  I think:
-Maybe I don’t like kids.
-Maybe I like kids just fine when they belong to other people, but don’t want them getting in the way of me getting what I want.
-Maybe my husband is infertile.
-Maybe I am.
-Maybe I’ve cried at multiple negative pregnancy tests, so many times I quit taking them, and quit hoping.
-Maybe I’ve cried for one day every month, out of desperation and disappointment.
-Maybe I’ve stopped crying, because my heart just can’t bear it anymore and I’m beyond tears.

But I don’t say any of this.  It’s too personal, too painful, or it would bring up too many other questions.

If either of the first two were true, the person who asked the question would think I was weird, because everyone knows that “first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes blah-blah with a baby carriage”.  The house with a white picket fence and the dog are implied, of course.  The natural order of things is that once you’re in a committed relationship, you have kids.  It’s like the sun rising and the tides.  Everyone knows that.  And if you don’t follow that plan, well, you’re an aberration.

If the rest are true, and I even hinted at it, I know what would follow: “But there are fertility treatments!”

Sure, if a person has $16,000 laying around, and is willing to risk it knowing that it may not even work.  I don’t have $16,000 laying around.  Do you?

Or they’ll say, “Well, there’s always adoption.”

Yes, there is.  And it also costs upwards of $10,000, and can take six months or more.  I don’t have that much money, any more than I have $16,000.

The question is so uncomfortable, I have no idea why people ask it.  Would it be acceptable for me to ask a hypothetical friend or relative who is expecting her fourth, fifth or sixth child when she plans to stop having kids?  No, that would be rude.  But it’s okay for people to ask me when my husband and I are going to have kids, apparently, when there is no possible answer to that question that wouldn’t make me an aberration, or that wouldn’t be too deeply personal or hurtful.

So why ask the question?  Stop.  Just stop.  Don’t ask it.  It’s none of your business.  If your childless friend wants you to know why they’re childless, they’ll tell you that they don’t like kids, or they don’t want kids, or they can’t have kids.  Or they’ll tell you that they’re waiting for one thing or another, like finishing college, being married for a certain amount of time, or starting their career.  Maybe they’re waiting until they buy a house, or they’ve saved up for the hospital bills.  If they want you to know, they will tell you.  If they don’t, they won’t.  If I want you to know why my husband and I are childless, will tell you.  If I don’t, then I won’t.

If they choose not to tell you, please respect them. If I or they have chosen to remain childless for now or forever, let it remain their own private decision, unless they choose to confide in you.  It’s none of your business.  Allow it to remain a sorrow unspoken.

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Responses

  1. CeCe, I can understand your pain. Since I have gotten remarried all I have heard is so when are you two having children. I always say it will take a miracle and move on.

    I cannot have anymore children. My first wife made me have surgery after our second child was born. She went on to have three more babes, and I barely see mine (and not by choice but you know that).

    God knows I love children and would love to raise a few more. Like you we cannot afford to adopt, and my surgery is not reversible. So hope for a miracle CeCe, and know that there is another couple out there that feels your pain.

    • Thank you Eddie, I appreciate that! And I’m sorry to hear that you do understand my frustration.

  2. People can be insanely insensitive when it comes to these things. Personally, I am one of the “aberrations” who doesn’t want kids, and I’m perfectly okay with that. I laughed when I read that part because people really do look at you like you’re an aberration when you say you don’t want kids. I get a lot of “Oh, you’ll change your mind.” It’s like they just can’t accept that a woman does not want children.

    Bottom line is, it really shouldn’t be anyone’s business. I am sorry that you have to endure these difficulties on top of idiots continuously pointing it out. People just don’t tend to stop and think about what they are saying sometimes.

    • Thank you for your kind comment. I’m also glad you laughed, I had hoped that this post wouldn’t be *too* horribly heavy, considering the subject matter.

      I have several friends who have chosen to remain childless. I have other friends who have two or more children. I figure whatever people want to do, it’s their choice, so long as they’re not hurting anyone else, and a woman’s reproductive choices don’t hurt anyone, in most cases.

      I’m sorry you’ve had to put up with people who don’t respect your choice. I’ve never understood why people make it their business. :/

      Anyway, thanks again for your comment! 🙂

  3. It never fails to amaze me the questions people assume they have the right to ask you. Some well meaning friends started asking me about having kids when Mike and I had been married less than 6 months. One of them, a pastor’s wife kept asking many times. I finally got fed up, and asked her if she felt it was appropriate to ask about our sex life in church. Family, in whatever shape and form is a blessing, and nothing short of a miracle.

    • Wow, Lisa, that’s insane! Thank you for sharing, and you’re absolutely right, family is a miracle!


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