Things You Should Never Ask a Childless Couple
Today I was sitting among friends and a young lady came up and told me that she and her husband were expecting their first child. “It’s a boy!” she exclaimed as her face beamed with joy. You may think that this is selfish on my part but a little piece of me was jealous. I have wanted that to be me for over 30 years now.
You see, not all the childless couples you meet plan to be childless. You just have to play the cards you’re dealt. Many times I have been asked how many children I have and when I say “None.” I am met with surprised looks and questions like “Why not?” My first response (in my head, not out of my mouth) is “Really? Did you just ask me that?” What I really hear you say is “What’s wrong with you?” Then I have to sit there and explain it wasn’t a choice. I just have never been able to carry a pregnancy full term. It’s not that I didn’t WANT children…I just have never been able to HAVE children.
I’m not writing this to make anyone feel sorry for me. I have learned to live with it. But, just like we have learned what NOT to ask a pregnant woman…”Can I touch your belly?” “Was it planned?” There are also things you should never ask a childless couple.
“Why don’t you have any children?” – Really? That is probably the most personal question you could ask. First, it’s none of your business and second, it is a very hurtful thing to ask.
“Have you thought about adoption?” – Again, none of your business but yes, many times we’ve discussed this and have decided although there are many children that need loving homes, we have reached an age where it just isn’t a good idea. We are getting older. It wouldn’t be fair to a child to bring them into our home and then die! (Seriously…that’s what I think about.) How old would I be when they are graduating from high school? How old would I be when they decide to get married and start a family? How old would I be when they have their first child? All these things go through my head.
“Why don’t you become foster parents?” – Don’t you think we’ve discussed that? We know there are also many children that need good foster homes but again, our lifestyle wouldn’t be a good match for fostering children. We both work full time jobs and when we get home we work a full time job raising cattle and hay.
“Oh, your dog is your baby.” – Although I love my animals my dogs are no where near the same thing as your own child. I have often been told there is no greater love then what you feel for your child. I will never know that, but that doesn’t mean I’m not happy for you.
“You’re lucky! You can afford more things for yourself.” – Although we don’t have children we still have expenses. We may not have to save for a child’s college tuition or pay for their daily needs but trust me…I would gladly make that sacrifice if I had a child.
“You can have one of mine!” – That is probably the one statement I hate the most. First, you don’t mean it and second how awful to say that about your own children. We both know you’re kidding but think about what goes through my head when you say that. (They are so ungrateful for the blessing that they have received they are willing to give it away.) You know and I know that’s not the case but it really makes me angry when someone says that to me.
So, keep this in mind when you meet someone, like me, that doesn’t have children. I’m not saying these things to be hateful but to help save someone the embarrassment and heart break of answering these questions. We love to gush over yours and are envious of the relationship you have with them. But, it’s not always a choice we have made in our lives…it’s just the cards we were dealt.