Things People With Kids Need to Stop Saying to Childless Couples or Those Who Suffered Infertility or Miscarriage

When you have kids

When you see that first words, chances are your reaction falls into one of four categories:
– You have kids and are thinking “I know, right – they don’t know what stress is, what tired is, what busy is, …” and so on!
– You have kids and you HEARD all of those things and are thinking “I hope I never said any of that stuff aloud!”
– You don’t have kids and think .. ugh, I HATE hearing that crap!
– You are single or unmarried and thinking – OMG stop hassling me about getting married and having kids already!

OK, that last one comes from a young woman I work with – her family is simultaneously pushing her career and marriage and kids, and she told me she blew up at her mom who was bugging about kids, and when she said ‘I’m not even married yet’ her mom used that as an opportunity to ask about THAT. It is just so funny. Except that it isn’t.

A while ago Lisa was reading something on her phone that a friend linked on Facebook and it was about the things that parent’s need to stop saying to people without kids. It led to a long discussion about that subject for a number of reasons.

First off, because even with kids our dogs and cats remain part of our family. We had found out about a family in our neighborhood that had a young puppy that was planning to give it back/away or whatever. They thought it sounded like a good idea, but in reality was too much work/mess/whatever. So they just got rid of it like tossing a disposable razor … which was a concept we just completely couldn’t ‘get’.

Second off – because we spent the early part of our marriage listening to all of these things from people with kids (ok, mostly only the same group of people over and over again) in varying amounts – by which of course I mean ALL THE TIME!

Here are some thoughts on things that just need to STOP!

So … When Are You Having Kids?

The immediate supposition that a natural ‘next step’ along with getting a dog and house is that everyone will have babies, right? That is less and less the case these days, for any number of reasons.

It is somewhat better to ask IF the couple is thinking about having kids – if you MUST ask, that is. Better still? Just ask what the couple has planned – let THEM tell YOU what is happening, maybe they plan to try, perhaps they HAVE been trying but are struggling (see below), and maybe they have no plans at all. Regardless, you should follow their cues and respect their choices. Because … um, it is THEIR choice.

Dogs are not kids

Um, really – that would explain the calls from the school! But seriously, no one who talks about their ‘fur babies’ is actually confused about the animal’s genetic lineage. The presumption here is that you love and lavish upon your dog or cat, but once the baby comes along the center of your life will shift. Again, duh?!?

The problem with this is that it belittles where the couple is NOW. NOW they are a couple who has pet(s). Maybe they will have kids, maybe not; and maybe they will get a bunch more animals. Who really knows – but the supposition that a dog is a ‘training baby’ is insulting to all involved and needs to stop.

“You think you’re [insert anything here]? Try having kids!”

There were definitely times when I wished it was socially acceptable to head-butt people for saying stupid things like this.

So suddenly now that you have a baby you have cornered the market on being tired? Busy? Broke? Worried? Oh puh-LEAZE get over yourself! Guess what – millions of people without children all over the world are leading rich and fulfilling lives, not getting enough sleep, feeling frazzled and frenzied, and generally overwhelmed with no clue where things are going!

It is demeaning and belittling, and tends to close off conversations and have you second-guessing yourself. Suddenly at the end of a hectic week where you were frazzled and just need to vent, you realize that you have lost an understanding ear – you will be expected to sympathize with all the play dates and potty training and sleep-deprived nights, but eye-rolls begin when you discuss your own issues.

“Don’t worry, when you have kids you’ll…”

This is the complement to the last one – and generally a response to a look when your toddler sneezes phlegm into your hand and you just wipe it on a napkin and throw it away without breaking the conversation.

But you know what – people have different thresholds – because I have a strong stomach and Lisa worked in the medical field, we would discuss just about ANYTHING sitting around, and so that is what our kids have grown up with. My father (aka someone with kids) gets queasy with many of the discussions – as do many parents we know. I know people for whom watching their own kid puke is as good as sticking their fingers down their throat.

Sure there are some things associated with parenting that you just have to deal with, but there is no magical bestowing of talents that happens – any more than you suddenly start enjoying stepping in dog poop in the living room because you ignored the dog yapping at you to let her out.

“Is the party kid-friendly?”

The problem here is not checking if an event allows kids – that is a GOOD idea – but the supposition that as soon as YOU have kids that all events suddenly become ‘Family Time’.

What amazes me is how quickly it shifts – the same people who were lamenting kids for ruining everything by being noisy, crying, or playing around are suddenly expecting the entire world to stop and revolve around them and their baby.

And so much of the problem could be handled with some common sense – if this is a dinner party starting at 8PM with four couples and you are the only one with a child … it is a pretty safe assumption that NO, it is not kid friendly. If that means you cannot attend, your friends will understand … but expecting all of your friends to change nights at the tapas bar to become Chuck-E-Cheese outings? Um, no.

“My life didn’t have meaning before I had kids!”

Really? I am SO sorry for you – that is awful! Before we had kids my wife and I had years of adventures before we even met, loads of adventures before we were romantic, and tons of great experiences as a married couple. Rich, fulfilling years building a foundation that now as the kids are hitting their late teens is returning as we get to spend more and more time together.

I look at so many of my blog friends who are young married couples, and they are amazing people and I love hearing about their spouses and the adventures they have. Empty lives? Um, F that!

Also, the assumption of kids ‘giving your life meaning’ is that nothing else in your life even AFTER having kids has meaning. BS to THAT!

“Why Can’t They Work Late … They Don’t Have Kids”

Young kids entering the workforce after college are generally ambitious and willing to work more to prove themselves and accomplish more. The people around them will often take advantage of that until the young people draw boundaries (or get a mentor like me to advise them to do so) … and over time can even feel entitled to have those newer employees acting as personal resources for whenever THEIR life is hectic or they have an appointment.

Again this has its basis in the assumption that ‘the child-less life is not worth living or is of lesser importance. Which isn’t just wrong – it is insulting.

5 Things People Need to Stop Saying to Those Struggling with Infertility/ Miscarriage

Because we have two healthy and wonderful teenagers, everyone seems to forget that for four years we struggled with multiple miscarriages and infertility. But Lisa and I haven’t forgotten and will never forget – there was enough tears and pain to last a lifetime. And I wish I could say that people were really good and supportive during our struggles – but they weren’t.

Just keep trying!

This isn’t taking foul shots at the basketball court – this was a life that failed to sustain and form properly and died. Or a continued inability to get pregnant – either way, it is incredibly difficult to deal with, so ignoring it and suggesting just powering through is terribly insensitive.

Better would be “I’m so sorry for your loss” or “I’m sorry you are having a difficult time”.

“It wasn’t meant to be” … or “It is God’s Will”

Ultimately this really means “I have no idea what to say”. And the second one injects religion in a way that can really cause some problems either between people or within their religion.

Better would be “I’m so sorry for your loss” or “I’m sorry you are having a difficult time”. Or, “I have no idea what to say”.

It wasn’t really a baby anyway, just get over it!

If you have had a miscarriage – even one that required medical treatment – and on some milestone date of the pregnancy you get weepy … prepare to hear this. Seriously. We heard it multiple times across all of our miscarriages.

And to be clear … we had actually named one of the babies that died and had to be removed. Even with two kids approaching college I remember that day at the hospital vividly … and the day Lisa came home in tears less than two weeks later when someone had told her to just get over it.

So what’s wrong that you can’t get/keep pregnancies?

Let’s be clear – if you and your spouse are unable to get pregnant or stay pregnant … you already feel at least a little broken or deficient. You don’t need to someone asking you do detail the manner in which you are broken.

Sure they might want to discuss it at some point – and as an outsider all you should say is “I really have no idea what to say, but I’m here to listen.”

(if you have had a baby) Are You Going to Try for [opposite gender here]

There are some people – OK, many at first but after several years really just one – in our lives who would just never accept that after years of infertility and multiple heartbreaking miscarriages we were just incredibly happy to have a baby, and even more happy to have a healthy baby. That it was a boy was simply ‘what it was’ – and so when our doctor said ‘don’t stop trying if you want another child’ after our first, and then ‘you would probably not survive getting pregnant again’ … that was also ‘what it was’.

In the end we have two wonderful boys, each of which was a miracle to two people who had honestly started to accept that having our own children was simply impossible.

So to ask the ‘are you trying for the girl next’ question when they were little was mildly frustrating, but generally stopped with the ‘we cannot have any more kids, and had so many problems that we feel incredibly fortunate with the two boys we have’ statement.

But not for everyone … there were the ‘yeah, but don’t you wish you had one of each?’ comments (no, and you have no idea), and the ‘so do you use your nieces as substitute daughters?’ (again, just insulting), and even more.

Here is the bottom line – for those who struggled like we did, a child is an incredible blessing. We have never lost the pain or heartbreak of miscarriage and infertility, nor the wonder and awe of being able to have children … and as a result our perspective on the gender of the children has never shifted. And talking to others who went through similar experiences? Yeah, they share it as well.

So what should you say? Nothing. There is really no good way to ask someone if they secretly wish to change a major defining characteristic of their child … because it is an awful question, and asking it says more about the person asking.

And while we are on the topic of reproductive system … this ad … is hilarious …

If you or someone you know is married without kids (or not yet married, or has struggled with getting or staying pregnant, what things would you add to the list?

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58 thoughts on “Things People With Kids Need to Stop Saying to Childless Couples or Those Who Suffered Infertility or Miscarriage

  1. Another category I would add to this list is “Things to stop saying to people who don’t want kids.” I used to be one of those people (I’ve started to think differently as I’ve gotten older and less depressed), and it was beyond irritating to hear things like, “You’ll change your mind eventually.” I guess I did, but some people never do, and that’s perfectly fine. This goes along with what you mentioned about how some people seem to think that life without kids is not worth as much. That’s just not true. If someone is happy with kids, that’s great, and if someone is happy without kids, that’s great, too!

    • I had thought about that one but forgot to call it out as a separate thing … but yeah, I definitely tried to imply the sentiment.

      And you know what? It IS irritating, and presumptuous – and unacceptable. I mean, they are essentially saying that THEY know your choices and thoughts better than you … and that since THEY chose kids, that must be where you are headed as well! Ugh!

      • Yeah, I get the “you’ll change your mind eventually” ALL the time. And I’m like, I guess there’s no way to prove that I won’t for the next 50 years, until you see I’m 90 and I still don’t have one. It’s true, maybe I will, but now that I’m almost 40, it’s getting less and less likely, especially since I’ve felt the same way for about 20 years now.

        But I will say, I’m in favor of the couple returning the dog (or baby) they didn’t want and/or can’t care for. Texas has one of the best “baby Moses” laws in the country — if you don’t like/want your baby, you can give it away no questions asked for 60 days if you leave it at the right place. Some states it’s only 72 hours, which I think is barely enough time to get home from the hospital and realize it’s not working. I don’t think everyone is cut out for parenthood and if for some reason you aren’t and you end up with a baby, I’m all for letting people take a simple and safe way out without liability, massive governmental interference, legal issues, etc.

      • My thought is that whether or not you DO change your mind is no one’s business but you and your husband.

        And I also agree about returning things – but I also feel like there should be some level of personal accountability applied when it comes to living things. I definitely think that many people aren’t cut out for having a baby or pet (or spouse) … but if you are surprised that the job of changing a baby involves changing diapers, I am not sure what to say other than perhaps a bit of research should have been done πŸ™‚ But either way, I just hope that the dog wsan’t killed (they say putting a black dog back into a shelter is like a death sentence).

  2. Isn’t it interesting how people feel the need to comment on/pass judgement on other people’s choices? It never ceases to amaze me how involved people get in situations that simply don’t involve them or have any effect on them whatsoever. I could do a post on “What not to say to couples who just got engaged.” Top of that list is, “So, have you set a date yet?” Followed closely by, “So when are you gonna have kids?” Ugh.

    • I would love to read such a post! We tend to be private and had already figured out our date, etc before we told anyone. And honestly after all these years I can’t remember the crap we heard about being engaged (planning the wedding, though …)

      And it cracks me up that people start on you about babies before even getting married. I mean … for realz?

  3. Agree, Agree, Agree!! On every single point. We are getting pressure hard to have children. Yes, there is a plan to have children in the near future but for now we realize we are not financially ready for children. Sure, if there was a happy accident we wouldn’t be upset but right now we don’t feel it’s the time. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that but many people would disagree. Children are a INDIVIDUAL couples decision. Whether you want them or don’t want them is nobodies decision or business but your own.

    • “Yeah, yeah, yeah … I get that you don’t want to talk about it – but you can tell ME when you guys are going to have kids. Honest, no one will know. ”

      haha

      I don’t know how many times I have heard people try to ply people to divulge their ‘secret baby plans’ that way (and I’m a guy! so I can only imagine!).

      I wish people would respect your wishes if you said “we will let you know when we have something to discuss. It might be next month, next year, next decade or never. But when WE are ready to talk about it … WE will contact YOU”

      I mean, don’t you guys have enough on your plate just transitioning now?

  4. I almost can’t comment because it’s been so long since I’ve been around people without kids, and my whole life revolves around kids. It definitely changes your perspective to here these things, and although I doubt is say any of it out loud I know I’ve thought some of these things. Oops. I think that parents who have young kids, and lots of them, lose touch with the kid free world!

    • I think recognizing it is half the solution. And it is true that as you have kids and start looking for groups and daycare / preschools that you end up in groups that consist solely of other parents. And as you say – you lose perspective, and we can tend to romanticize the ‘good old days’ … which is one thing when we do it in our insular little groups, but when we start passing judgment on others – and worse yet start verbalizing those thoughts TO those people … then we cross the line.

  5. “My life had no meaning until I had kids.”

    I feel so bad for those kids, they’re going to be crushed by the emotional weight of the expectations that come with that.

  6. Can I just say thank you, thank you, and thank you again?! I haven’t said this online yet, but last year my husband and I got married. We tried for several months and oh my gosh in February we were pregnant. I was more excited than I can ever remember. And then we found out it was ectopic and we feared for my life and future fertility. It was scary and private and personal. Since then everywhere I go all I hear is, “When are you two going to have a baby? You should have children. Start now before you are too old….” I have never asked people such things because the reality is, maybe they are trying. Also let me add to the list, “Maybe you should stop running if you want to try and get pregnant.” Gee thanks. Everyone is suddenly an expert.

    • Oh Sarah I am SO sorry for your loss … but thank you so much for sharing.

      I was going to make a lighthearted joke playing off the post … but no, no way. It isn’t fun, and it isn’t fair – and it isn’t fair that you have to chose between enduring people poking into your life or sharing something you want to keep private in order to get them to stop.

      • It’s ok to make lighthearted jokes. That is different from completely neglecting to acknowledge that perhaps someone is trying or struggling. Nothing wrong with a little levity!

      • I agree … but I realized that this post opened me up emotionally as well, and hearing your story, well … I wasn’t feeling joke-ing right now πŸ™‚

  7. I’m at work, so I can’t read all of it now, but I can’t wait to do so. I know that this is going to be such a tough/hot issue for Alex and i down the road. We know we are going to need “help” but we don’t know just what sort of “help” yet, how much it will cost, and the like, so it is terrifying. Plus, morning sickness is NOTORIOUS in my family, and I don’t do nausea well, so that is also scary. Oh, and the fact that I will have to change my meds, which is always scary. And then may or may not be able to even get preg or support the child. And worry about what will happen with it. Yeah.
    When ever people tell me something about “oh, well, when you have a kid,” I think I will just tell them, “oh, well when you have a chronic illness, anxiety, depression, hormonal deficiencies, a full time job, a doctor husband, a blog, and run marathons.” and see what they say.

    • In our infertility support group there was a ‘Ken & Barbie’ couple (they knew they were good looking but lamented how they were judged as a result), and she had gone through menapause at 25. By 27 when we were in the group she was totally done. And there they were, a ‘perfect’ couple who really wanted kids with basically no chance of it ever happening – and no one really ‘got’ what was happening. My point – it is so unfair to judge and make assumptions, yet we do it all the time … and worse yet, we push our own judgment onto others.

      I am honestly not surprised to hear that pregnancy will be challenging for you, and I am sorry that you will have to deal with that … and also that you will have to deal with insensitive people at the same time.

  8. That ad is flat out the funniest thing I have ever seen!!!!
    I’ll respond more, in a minute, after I stop laughing so hard….and after I let the dog need out!

  9. This is amazing! I have heard a lot of these things said to me personally and I usually reply with a snarky comment back to people, especially when I am told that I can’t just have one child, that it is unfair and selfish…I won’t get started on that one in the comments. I don’t ask others these questions unless they bring it up, mainly because it can be a very sensitive topic for some and honestly, their sex life is of no interest to me.

    • Thanks Sara! You have talked about how you didn’t have that compelling ‘mommy drive’ before you had Ashton … so I am sure you were subjected to loads of these things. I have definitely heard the ‘one kid is selfish’ thing, which I don’t get … there is no magic formula for this stuff. And like you say – this is sensitive stuff and frankly none of anyone else’s business!

  10. This was very emotional for me to read. I agree with all of it SO much.
    I don’t often discuss it, but I had a miscarriage before Betty. I am in kind of a weird place with it because on one hand it was devastating, but on the other hand we only ever plan on having one child so if I had carried that child to term, it wouldn’t have been Betty and I can’t imagine my life without her. That said, I actually did hear the comment about “it wasn’t really a baby anyway”. It was the single most cruel thing that has ever been said to me.

    And now as Sara mentioned above we have moved on to people calling me selfish for only having one. Because the size of my family is totally everyone elses’ business. ::eyeroll::

    I would never dream of saying any of these things to anyone although I did have a word with a girl I know on Facebook earlier who does not have children and went on a rant about a child that was screaming in a hotel room next to hers and “Why can’t the parents shut it up”. Like she really said it like that and it was so offensive to me because yeah I’m sure those parents are just sitting there loving life while their kid screams.

    VERY great post today. Thank you for this.

    • Thanks Lauren! As I said to Sarah … I really have ‘the feels’ from all of this. It is tough talking about it all, and SO rewarding all of the amazing comments, and I so completely feel for everyone who has gone through this …

      And as anyone with half a brain could tell you (no kids required) – parents really don’t want their kids crying all night long … ugh.

      Thanks – and so glad that even with your loss you were able to have B so the world has #mamaSalt πŸ™‚

  11. LOL! I definitely fall into the list of being married but without a kid, YET. I love my pops-in-law to death but last Christmas he blurted out the following to answer my question if he liked his gift, ‘Well, you know what would be the best gift for me, right?!’ I took it as a joke because it was meant as a joke. However, what really annoys me is when people start asking you about your plans to have kids right after your wedding. I guess, it’s something similar to when people are pregnant and everyone thinks it’s acceptable to be able to touch a belly just like that without asking for permission. Well, I’ve never been a person who wanted to touch someone’s belly, so I think I’ll freak out if somebody will decide to think it’s a good idea to do it to me without asking. Assumptions, assumptions πŸ™‚ xoxo

    • Haha – great reminder Olena – I have no idea what possesses people to think it is acceptable to touch another person like that? I am sure you guys get bugged about babies – and it makes no sense, because those first years (even if you DO plan to have kids) are such a great opportunity to really build your marriage foundation. Or have babies, or whatever – because it is no one else’s life but your own!

  12. ok, now I’m going to respond to your today’s blog in a more serious way. and, I’m sorry that this is so long–

    First of all, just reading the title containing the word “miscarriage” was painful.
    If you have ever had one, and it doesn’t matter how many years ago it was, how far along you were or weren’t, it still hurts.
    I’m not sure how our society views that topic today, but it was hard on us.
    As I young woman graduating from an “outstanding university” in the mid-70’s, I was supposed to do it/have it all/be it all. These were not just lofty goals, these were my responsibilities. I was supposed to have the great career, the nice house, the perfect, brilliant children, as well as the important volunteer career on the side.
    Our first pregnancy ended the day after we announced to family, friends and my superiors at work that we were pregnant–we’d waited until the “danger point” was past, then I miscarried at @15 weeks. Talk about bad timing! ……and the consoling responses? “well you’ve been married for so long, what happened?” “it wasn’t really a baby” and “well, that’s what you get for trying to do everything.”
    Excuse me? Was I being punished for working? trying to live the life that everyone expected me to do?
    Yep, things not to say………….
    From then on, when either of us hears that a couple has miscarried, a simple “we understand, and we are so sorry for your loss” is all that is really needed.
    And we say it to BOTH of the parents—because it THEIR loss, not just hers.

    • Thanks Clare – and I am so sorry for your loss! And as you say – nothing changes that it IS a loss … even though each of us has beautiful kids, that doesn’t erase that fact.

      And yeah, I totally hear you on the timing – we had one miscarriage that sequenced almost exactly as you describe. And yet there were some people who were not understanding of our reluctance to discuss our subsequent pregnancies early.

      And THANK YOU for this: “it THEIR loss, not just hers” … because as you can tell, I have some pretty strong feelings on this as well.

      Thanks again!

  13. one more response to this wonderful post–on the subject of that hilarious ad–
    Between my senior year in high school and my freshman year at Duke, I was a camp counselor at a 6 week sleep-away camp.
    In our cabin, I had eight 11 and 12 year old girls and SIX of the EIGHT got their “first gift” while they were in my cabin…..Talk about an estrogen explosion!

  14. Another great post. I have a good friend who is married and hasn’t had kids — they’re both in their 40s, and I assume they aren’t having kids at this point. My friend is a super guy and great with our son when he was little and I’m pretty sure kids were in his plan before he met his wife. But my husband and I haven’t asked about the situation because we figure if he wanted to discuss it with us, he would.

    I also have a newer friend who just mentioned that he and his wife had been trying for a number of years and said his father in law is driving his wife crazy asking “what’s wrong with you that you aren’t pregnant.” It’s got to be awful for my friend and his wife to have to deal with that. Honestly, I didn’t even know what to say other than that his father in law was being rude. But I felt like I should’ve offered some other sympathy. I probably erred on the side of being too cautious with not knowing what to say.

    All I do know is that it made ME nuts when people asked when we were going to give my son a sibling. Not that it was anybody’s damn business, but I didn’t plan on having another child, but I did get pregnant and it didn’t work out and I do not want to talk about any of it. As for my son, he is pretty glad he was an only child, so he didn’t suffer for having no brother or sister as far as I can tell.

    Thanks again for putting this sort of post out there.

    • Thanks for that – and sorry for your loss, and happy for you having your son! I often feel these things saying that kids NEED a sibling are self-serving, yet another way of justifying their own life choices. I have known people from all sorts of families who have behaved stereotypically and totally against the stereotype.

      As for the friends who can’t get pregnant, I wonder if the FIL knows of the struggles, and if he would change his tune if he DID know? It is hard enough to discuss to begin with … and often there is nothing more to say than ‘I’m sorry that you have to go through all of this’

  15. another thing NOT to say is the ever-popular–
    “when is the baby due?” and ….she isn’t preggers, she’s just plump(er)….or….the baby is now a year old……

    • haha – that is SO true … I always err on the side of caution, but there was one time I just *knew* even though she wasn’t showing yet, and actually asked when we were in a meeting together and no one else had showed up. I apologized before during and after and offered her an out … she was cool about and laughed at how I stumbled over myself trying not to offend. And yeah, she was pregnant. πŸ™‚

      But I don’t know how many times through the years I have seen the other one. I have a co-worked who has been on the Weight Watchers roller coaster, had seen success but then slipped back last year and got a wake-up when another co-worker asked if the baby was coming before the new year … and was totally flabbergasted because the woman had been slowly gaining weight all summer and fall …

  16. I am actually composing a post as we speak about this…it is incredibly frustrating to be reminded, daily, that I do not have kids yet. everyday EVERYDAY someone asks me when I’m going to get pregnant-even strangers. It is incredibly difficult to wrap your head around it. Ughhghhhghhhhh

    This was a great post..I am so, so sorry for you and Lisa’s struggles. And, so happy that you were able to have kids after all. People can be overwhelming with their ideal times for when it is right to start your family. This is very brave of you to share and very well written!!

    • Thanks for the reply – and I can’t wait for your post. It can be really hard to understand WHY people say the things they do … I know sometimes they feel the need to say SOMETHING (and I am more forgiving in those cases), but other times… ?!?

      And thanks for the kind words on the struggles Lisa and I endured, it is something to share it after all these years!

  17. I love that you posted this. Secondary to the number one most annoying question (when are you going to have kids? followed up with: well, you’re not getting any younger) is the expectation that because I am a nurse and do not have kids, that I should work every major holiday. As if spending them with my family isn’t important to me because I don’t have kids. It blows my mind how unimportant someone can make you feel because you are a woman who has made the choice not to reproduce yet.

    Living in the south, the expectation is that you marry young and have kids within a year or two of marriage. It blows people’s minds that I am pushing 30, have been married for 5 years, and am more concerned about enjoying my marriage and creating a lucrative career than having a child. As if the only meaningful thing I can do in my life is have a baby. You have just touched on my biggest pet peeve ever.

    • Thanks for the great comment – I remember when Lisa was working in the hospital well before kids it was the same thing: she was expected to be ‘the flexible one’ as if she didn’t have family … and when she pretty much demanded a holiday everyone got bent out of shape because they had no logical leg to stand on, and it just wasn’t fair.

      And when we were getting married, much moreso than now that ‘marry out of college and have kids immediately’ thing was very true even in the northeast. Heck, both my parents and Lisa’s parents, as well as ALL of our siblings had their first child within a year of marriage! We were the odd ones out and no one knew what to do with is!

      I know it isn’t funny but I DO love I touched on such a sore subject – because you can see through the comments that it is a problem for MANY people. And again, not fair!

  18. I SO read the same article! Jeff and I went to a wedding a few weeks ago on his side of the family. We left early, but not before no less than 5 people asked when we were having kids. Apparently our news didn’t travel as fast as I thought it would. And then, it just goes back to how you try to break it to them gently, but someone inevitably feels so bad when the truth comes out.

    I will also attest to the pet situation. Yes, I know a pet isn’t a child. But see, most coworkers talk about their kids all the time and not having a comparable story to offer means I either come up with the next best thing (a story about the pets), stand there in silence and nod a lot, or mirror their emotions without any real contribution. And nobody wants to talk to a brick wall! Well, some people do-and they’re called narcissists. Thankfully, none of my friends fall into that category. So I’m sorry if you think I’m equating my Border Collie with your child-they’re only mentally comparable until about age 4. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Laura – I’m sure that was a tough situation for you … and really emotionally exhausting!

      As for pets, we talk about our terrier babies all the time! haha

      And some days I think that the ‘mentally comparable’ part ebbs and flows through the years πŸ˜‰

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  22. I stumbled upon this post and I could not agree with you more. Here are a couple I would add:
    “Don’t you want kids?!” This was asked by a male colleague at work when he asked me if I had children and I told him I do not. What he did not know was the gut-wrenching infertility issues that my husband and I have been through for 15 years. I could not fall apart in tears in the middle of a corporate setting and retain any sense of professionalism. What I really wanted to do was punch him in the face. How dare he assume that because I am in my mid to late career without children that it is by choice? That is just as wrong as assuming a young married couple must rush to have children. People need to quit making assumptions either way.

    And here is the other one that really irks me: “You want kids, I’ll send mine over to you anytime you want!” And this is usually said only when their kids are acting up…when every OTHER conversation is about how their kids are practically the second coming of Jesus. No, I don’t want YOUR kids, thanks. I want MY kids.

    Oh, and lastly, “They’ll come at the right time, don’t worry.” For a couple who suffers through every Mothers Day, Fathers Day, and every “family” holiday, being patient through the struggle is a painful given…the platitude is an unnecessary reminder.

    ((This is a bit of a “vent,” as we just had a birthmother change her mind about placing her baby for adoption and someone said that last line to us about the “right one coming along eventually”. I know they mean well but it didn’t help.))

    • Thank you SO MUCH for this comment (and sorry I’ve been away for so long!). First off, I am SO sorry for all you and your husband have endured … there are so many things said by people who ‘mean well’ that end up being so hurtful … if I have learned nothing else from our experiences with infertility and multiple miscarriages it is the power of the STFU. I might know something about what I went through … but I am in no place to assume I know anything about what others have experienced in their lives.

      The first one you mention β€œDon’t you want kids?!” – definitely agree this needs to stop. Because you DON’T know the story behind anyone. I remember that ‘Ken & Barbie’ couple from our infertility support group … she had gone through menopause fully by 27 and really wanted to have kids, and everyone looked at them and judged their ‘perfect life’ and had no clue what was really going on … and of course because they were married for a few years people would constantly ask them about kids and make statements and assumptions because they were child-less.

      Again, sorry for what you are experiencing and how insensitive people can be 😦 But thank you for sharing.

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