Why It’s Important To Be Sensitive When Asking About Kids
Emily Bingham, of Michigan, gained a lot of attention because of a Facebook post, about fertility, that went gone viral. In it, Emily explains why people might want to show some sensitivity and not ask others why they do not have kids.
We just wanted to take a moment to reflect on this message of Emily’s, because we think it is an important one. Here at YinOva, many of our patients come to us to enhance their fertility. Whether we’re helping them conceive naturally or using acupuncture to accompany their IVF treatments, we know how difficult, stressful, and polarizing even, this experience can be.
Emily posted an image of an ultrasound which was accompanied by the following caption:
“Hey everyone!!! Now that I got your attention with this RANDOM ULTRASOUND PHOTO I grabbed from a Google image search, this is just a friendly P.S.A. that people’s reproductive and procreative plans and decisions are none of your business. NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. Before you ask the young married couple that has been together for seemingly forever when they are finally gonna start a family … before you ask the parents of an only-child toddler when a Little Brother or Little Sister will be in the works … before you ask a single 30-something if/when s/he plans on having children because, you know, clock’s ticking … just stop. Please stop. You don’t know who is struggling with infertility or grieving a miscarriage or dealing with health issues. You don’t know who is having relationship problems or is under a lot of stress or the timing just isn’t right. You don’t know who is on the fence about having kids or having more kids. You don’t know who has decided it’s not for them right now, or not for them ever. You don’t know how your seemingly innocent question might cause someone grief, pain, stress or frustration. Sure, for some people those questions may not cause any fraught feelings — but I can tell you, from my own experiences and hearing about many friends’ experiences — it more than likely does.
Bottom line: Whether you are a wanna-be grandparent or a well-intentioned friend or family member or a nosy neighbor, it’s absolutely none of your business. Ask someone what they’re excited about right now. Ask them what the best part of their day was. If a person wants to let you in on something as personal as their plans to have or not have children, they will tell you. If you’re curious, just sit back and wait and let them do so by their own choosing, if and when they are ready.”
Emily’s original post can be found here.
For some people, casually bringing up children might seem completely innocent and well intentioned; however, as Emily points out, for someone struggling with fertility issues it can be especially stressful as it brings up feelings of frustration, loss, and anxiety. It can be difficult enough to decide if you even want kids. If a couple does want children, then there’s the added layer of deciding when. If a couple who does want children then carries on to discover it might not be as easy as they had hoped, chances are extremely high that they will not want to then share the details of their often lengthy struggle with every person who asks.
Often couples trying to conceive are tasked with coordinating busy schedules, tracking ovulation, and undergoing extensive medical tests sometimes followed by disappointment month after month- and that’s just if you’re trying naturally. Those who require assisted reproductive technologies are managing bi-weekly doctors appointments, hormone injections, side effects of those medications, and the financial stressor of paying thousands of dollars for treatment. And again, there’s no guarantee that any one cycle will be successful.
Of course nobody intends to cause any distress when asking about baby plans, usually it’s just an inquiry from an excited relative, hoping to share the joy of a child, without realizing that sometimes there is a lot of grief and disappointment before that joy and excitement.
A good alternative? Well, Emily makes a great suggestion of asking about the best thing that’s happening right now, so that you can share in that excitement instead.