- Family and Parenting
How to Deal With Married Couples Who Don't Have Children
Is a family of two any less of a family?
Okay, I want to talk about babies with you
We've been married for 10 years now and we haven't had the blessing that are children. During that time, we've had questions from family and friends that might be well intentioned at the time but poorly thought out. I want to take some time on this hub to look at them and address some of them.
I know I'm going to come across as a spoiled little Princess throughout this, and that is more by design than error because I'm trying to convey exactly what goes on inside every time this happens - which is more frequently than you think.
All these events are real occurrences that I have been subjected to in my lifetime. I want to take the time to address them so that you can see what I go through and get some small idea of what it does to me as a result of others less than thoughtful remarks.
When are you having children?
This is one of the more easier questions we've had directed to us. Keeping in mind the various answers we could have given in response to the question, we settled on a simple answer of "When they come along". Which was a nice easy answer for a nice, easy question. The thing to keep in mind here is that there are a number of reasons why a couple don't have children, it could be a simple case of them not wanting to start a family at this point in their lives or it could be that they have a medical problem that is preventing them from conceiving children without medical help.
You wouldn't go around asking an addict when they last participated in their addiction every time you saw them - so why expose us to this? All it does is foster a sense of dread in us that gets so bad that we get to the point where we don't even want to set eyes on you because we know exactly what you are going to say before you even open your mouth.
If we are going through the tests, we don't actually like discussing the finer points of it with anyone who has the time and inclination to listen in much the same way as you'd prefer that embarrassing rash you had to not be common knowledge. If you are someone who we have opened up to about this period of our lives, please respect our privacy and don't be going round telling your friends who tell their friends who tell their friends - we aren't some sort of freak show placed here for your entertainment.
Do you have any lead in your pencil
A less subtle reference to the fact that we don't yet have children. To be frank here, I don't understand why the possibility of problems has to rest on the man's shoulders - there is a possibility that the woman might have problems that are preventing her from conceiving as well.
It could work out that there are problems in both sides - or even that the couple have decided not to have children at all.
Amelia is pregnant again
While it's great that Amelia is pregnant and we are happy for the expectant parents, please appreciate that hearing about it every time we see you is hard on us - especially if we want children ourselves.
When announcing a pregnancy, it can be beneficial to allow us a chance to walk in the door and sit down before you drop the bombshell on us - especially if baby is to be related to us. I almost ended up collapsing after the sudden and unexpected announcement of a pregnancy within my family
It can actually be very hard for us to hear this... especially if we are at a stage of wondering why everyone else can conceive - yet we can't.
Here, hold Baby Eric
I'm sorry, but I don't even want to see baby Eric, never mind having to hold him. I understand that he's your son and you are the proud new parent... but please try to see things from my angle here. I've already tolerated nine months of you gushing about Baby long before he arrived, I've had to adjust to the fact that he's going to be a part of my life whether I want him to be or not. I've even watched your tummy expand as he grew.
Though I said nothing all that time, all I ever wished is that Baby was mine. I didn't want to burst your buble then and I don't want to burst your bubble now but dumping Baby Eric in my arms like that is akin to me punching you in the guts - it hurts. If I want to hold Baby Eric, I'll ask... until then, please don't try to force him on me.
I've been through that, you've got to...
Thank you for sharing the fact that you've already been here, please don't waste your breath telling me what I need to do to get through this step unless I specifically ask you to.
I already have a doctor and a handy-dandy leaflet provided to tell me what I need to do without your unwanted advice to ensure that I have my facts straight. If I need pointers in the right direction, I'll ask you myself... until then, please resist the urge to make both of us look stupid.
Please don't bother telling me that you know how I feel because you don't. Even though we might share the same experience, there is no way that you can know how I feel because there are so many variables that might apply to me, but don't apply to you. No two experiences can ever be totally the same as each other and until they are, how do you expect to know how I feel?
Come to our baby shower
I get that you are happy and it's nice to include friends in events like this... but attending baby showers just isn't my idea of fun at all. In fact, I'd much rather stick pins in my eye than have to attend.
No, I'm not being bitter, twisted or even trying to get out of buying a gift - it's painful for me to have to be exposed to this for any length of time... especially if I know that there's no chance at all of my ever becoming a parent.
Accept that there will be times when I may just stare at baby
Sometimes, it can be hard to wrap your mind around just how painful something so beautiful can be - especially if you've grown up imagining yourself as a parent to a large family and it's just not happened for whatever reason.
If you imagine yourself being restrained while you receive a good beating, you still wouldn't understand the pain that being presented with a baby causes me.
No, I don't want to hear that Jenny is having an abortion
While I accept that abortion is sometimes necessary, it still doesn't make it any easier to hear about no matter what the circumstances or reasoning behind it.
I know that there is only so long in every pregnancy where you can hide it and even the eventual abortion - but for me, ignorance really is bliss as much as is possible.
At least you can do what you want, when you want without having the kids weigh you down!
Yes, it's fantastic being able to go where I want and do what I want - but I'm sure you still enjoy having a pair of little arms to hug you and a pair of little lips on your cheek every now and then. I'd love to give all this up tomorrow if only I can have what you have.
Accept that IVF isn't always the answer for everyone
IVF is seen as immoral within the Catholic faith because it goes against God's Will.It's not appropriate to suggest that anyone does something that they might not be comfortable with doing just so that they may have a child.
Understand that any Catholic who confesses such a sin will be excommunicated from the church until they repent of their sin, which may be just as upsetting for the childless Catholic as being childless in the first place is. While we are excommunicated, we are unable to participate in Holy Communion and a few other things - which is deterrent enough to pput a good number of us off the idea of going against God's Will.