Maybe Someday

“Oh, it’s good to run into you! It’s been years since we have worked together. How have you been?”
Next insert any of the following:
“When are you two going to have a little one?”
“You’re overdo for a child aren’t you?”
“You two plan to have kids, right?”
“You two would have the cutest kid! When is that going to happen?”

These statements are seemingly harmless and even friendly in nature for many however let me try this scenario again ending with different questions.

“Oh, it’s good to run into you! It’s been years since we have worked together. How have you been?”
Next insert any of the following:
“What are your religious views?”
“How do you feel about Roe V. Wade?”
“What are your political views?”
“What do you think of Obamacare?”
“Gun laws?” “Trayvon Martin?”
“How’s your sex life?”

Most of these statements are deemed inappropriate for small talk with an acquaintance. These questions are presumptuous, inconsiderate, and typically do not occur in this circumstance. The answers would cause uneasiness or heavy debate. However, how is it different from asking about children?

Okay so responses are typically more polite. My typical response is a sheepish, “maybe someday.” But, if I were to give my honest answer it could cause discomfort and perhaps even debate.

I have thought of childbirth as: adding to the population that the Earth cannot handle, it would feel awful bringing a child into this environment full of cruelty and injustice, and it’s like a puppy-mill and adoption is the only thing that actually makes sense. Despite my feelings against childbirth, like many ideologies my opinion changed. I met my husband, became a teacher, and thought how awesome it would be to have a vegan baby (and family) to help create positive change in the world- storybook, I know. One of my husband’s first questions to my rheumatologist was, “is having a child possible?” and he replied, “let’s make her feeling better a priority.” Though a baby was never an official plan, it was devastating for both of us to no longer have the option to consider and make an official plan. And maybe we wouldn’t have chosen that life anyway. But there is just something stifling about the option vanishing. RA made me sick and changed everything. That’s not an easy thing to share with inquiring minds at Target.

My honest response today would be… It’s presumptuous and painful for you to bring up such a personal and sensitive subject however, here it goes. I love children however, it is not an option. I have rheumatoid disease. I will be on chemotherapy and other immune suppressants for the rest of my life. My medication literally says “do not take if you suspect or are pregnant or breastfeeding” because it is so strong it would kill a fetus. In order to get pregnant I have get off of chemo, revisit horrifying disability, and risk permanent damage to my body. Yes, some enter disease remission during pregnancy however an equal amount of people do not and remain on immune suppressants, prednisone, and pain medications to survive conceiving and pregnancy. Is that fair for me? How about the fetus? Prior to this diagnosis this was a choice and now is not.

Insert awkward pause.

Some would argue that it’ll work out someday because of medical advances.

Some would argue to just think positive.

Some argue it’s worth the pain.

Some argue some medications are safe during pregnancy.

Some would argue it is a selfish act to not have children.

Some would also argue that it’s all part God’s plan for my husband and me.
While driving in a car with a pregnant woman, a woman who took fertility medications (who later gave birth to twins), another woman expressed her strong feelings that “Infertility or inability to have children is purposeful by God. It’s his way of telling people that they would not produce a healthy child that would bring good.” It didn’t make me feel better that she was unaware of everyone’s circumstances except the obviously pregnant woman.

Like political or religious views- it’s not a simple question, answer, or a simple decision. It is also definitely not appropriate with acquaintances or strangers. What about people who do not want children, do not like children, cannot have children, people who have underdeveloped organs, miscarriages, fears relating to childbirth or relationship/marriage changes.

Perhaps if a stork actually delivered a perfectly healthy child in a soft plush blanket to doorsteps one cool spring morning in a underpopulated world free of injustice and cruelty these questions could be endearing. But as adults we know the complications involved and should know better to mind our p’s and q’s. The alternative is to answer honestly so that perhaps later the questioner hears a thought rather than an out loud question. Maybe someday.


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