I went to a fundraising gala this weekend for Second Harvest Community Foodbank. It was a thirties themed party and we had a wonderful time dressing up, socializing, and honoring the organization and several humanitarians they recognized during the evening. As I was relaying the events of the weekend to a friend, she told me she was jealous of me because I could still have a social life like we did in highschool. I was surprised by her thoughtless comment.
"No, seriously? I do not follow visiting basketball teams to McDonald's and give them my number."
I thought she would laugh, realize what she said, and that would be the end of the discussion, or, maybe we would spend a few moments reminiscing about our silliness, almost 30 years ago. Instead, she thought I needed further explanation of her comment.
“I mean you are free to do what you like, because you aren’t tied down to kids and your husband lets you have fun. You are lucky not to have to worry about kids every time you want to go out.”
It’s comments like this that can bring me to the brink of tears and laughter at the same time. I don’t think I will ever understand comments like these. Over the years I have had women tell me they wish they could trade places, ask me if I wanted their kids, and roll their eyes toward me as their child asks for yet another toy at the store then say, “You are so lucky you don’t have to deal with this stuff.”
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
Newsflash to the parenting world, those of us who are childless, not by choice, would trade with you in a heartbeat, except we would NEVER wish the inability to have children on anyone.
Yes, I know that most parents are kidding when they say these things. They are just relieving stress, laughing instead of crying etc. I also understand that parenting is not an easy task. It lasts a lifetime and includes its own set of unique trials, tribulations, and heartache along with the joy, incredible moments of pride and love like no one but a parent can know. Still, when statements like that are made to someone on the infertility journey, it is anything but funny.
The amount of pain inflicted by careless remarks is staggering. If you ask 100 childless couples how often they hear these types of things, or the dreaded advice from everyone from grandma to the grocery clerk, they will tell you that it is a minimum of once a week. Usually more.
So, while we will do our best to overlook the insensitive moments, because we all have them. Please do us a favor, and think about who you are talking to before you speak.
Yes, it’s true that I have the freedom to attend social events with or without my sweet hubby and that I never have to find a sitter, call in to check on things or get home before ten because my sitter has homework to finish. However, had God decided that children were in His plan for my life…I would have gladly arranged childcare or, more likely, stayed home and made memories with them.
God Bless Everyone!