Updated: Jun 15
Another topic that I wanted to talk about is respecting the decisions of women who are childless. There are women who do not want to have children. These women can appear the same as women who cannot have children. The difference between the two is - the one who has decided they do not want to have children, often voice this at a young age. How many times have these women had to argue with other people about how 'they will change their minds when they are older'? This can be very frustrating for these women. Have you heard the terminology DINKS? Dual-Income-No-Kids? I only heard this because of a friend of mine, who was trying and find out that her and her partner couldn't. The term itself even has a negative connotation.
There is scrutiny from family members - parents (usually mothers and mother-in-laws) - that ask 'when am I going to have grandchildren'. The women with siblings who do want children are a little more fortunate. But please, just stop harassing these women!
Then, as I mentioned, there are the women who want children and have found that they cannot have children. For these women, when their family asks, when are you having children? - it's even worse. This is like opening up a wound that they were trying to heal within themselves, and every time someone asks this wound starts to bleed again. Believe me, if this woman wants to talk about it with you, they will!
From my personal stories, years ago, I think I was 16 or 17 years of age, and my grandmother had made some comment about having kids - I retorted, in my adolescent hormone driven angst, what if I can't have children? Ever thought about that? There are women out there who can't! Don't ask me how I knew this information at that age. Strange. But I knew. Even from my dad's mouth "you're expected to have children". Dad tends to avoid talking about it now when I mention my TTC journey. Maybe it makes him uncomfortable? Not sure!
When I got into vet school I was starting that journey at the age of 31. That meant 4 years later would be 35. When I was about to leave 'home' after visiting my mom and step-dad's I said to my mom that going to vet school may mean that I may not be able to have children. My step-dad got angry. He said "you can't tell your mother that!" My mom was more realistic and said, "it's ok you can always adopt." I am a whole-hearted realist. What I say is not meant to be hurtful, but it comes from science and statistics. Women over the age of 35 have difficulty getting pregnant.
My husband and I joke about adoption now - after watching Instant Family - that we are going to adopt a Latina girl. But that's another topic.
What does this all mean? If you have a daughter or other young family member, and they tell you early on that they don't want to have children - Respect this decision. If you have a daughter who has not found the perfect mate by the age of 35, telling them that they should 'get on that', is hurtful. Understand that asking when they are going to have children is like nails on a chalkboard to them. Asking repeatedly will only drive them away from talking to you. Then, be prepared to have dogs and cats as grandbabies. ;)