Far Too Many People Have Been Hurt by Good Intentions

Syndicated

They say there's no such thing as a dumb question, but that's not true. There is such a thing as a dumb question.

"When are you guys going to start your family?"

"Are you going to try for a girl?"

"Are you pregnant yet?"

"Shouldn't you be working on baby number two by now?"

They're all dumb questions. Unless you know the story, it's really none of your business. You shouldn't ask.

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Many of my friends have stories that go along with why their families are the size they are. The stories are so varied and often filled with sadness and tragedy and heartache. They aren't unique, though. Their stories are the same stories that belong to many people.

And some of my friends have stories that go along with why their families are the size they are, but their stories are filled with joy and contentment and conscious decisions. They aren't unique either, as many of the stories are shared by many people.

The problem is you can't know who is walking around with unfulfilled dreams in their pocket and who is perfectly happy with their fertility situation.

And, frankly, it's none of your business.

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"When are you guys going to start your family?"

Oh, sure, it's an innocent question. A conversation starter, if you will. But, really, if you ask a woman who has fought through years of fertility treatments and heartache that question? You're a jerk.

No. Really. You're a jerk.

Just don't ask. If she wants to tell you her story, she will.

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"Are you going to try for a girl?"

Aw, that's cute how you think that because someone has two boys, she must not be satisfied with her family. Certainly she can't be satisfied until she has a girl, right?

Wrong.

It doesn't matter what the situation is, but perhaps she is happy with her family exactly as it is.

Perhaps she doesn't have a choice in the matter. Maybe thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars in fertility treatments has gotten her where she is and she's just over-the-moon happy with those cards she's been dealt.

Maybe she had a pregnancy you don't know about. Maybe she relinquished custody of a little girl long before she was ready to start a family.

You just might be shoving a dagger in her heart when you ask that question. I know you mean well, but is it really any of your business?

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"Are you pregnant yet?"

Wow. So you think it's OK to ask a woman that question? You don't think maybe she would tell you that she's pregnant if she were ready for that little bit of sharing?

What if she suffered a miscarriage just weeks ago? You can't know by looking at the woman, but you might see a glimmer of sadness pass through her eyes as you stupidly throw your words in the air.

Or maybe she desperately wants to be pregnant and has spent the past several months charting and testing and peeing on sticks and she has no idea what is wrong, but it's not working. Nothing is working. How is she supposed to respond when you ask her if she's pregnant?

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"Shouldn't you be working on baby number two by now?"

That's cute how you think that's any of your business. Maybe it took over five years of trying to get baby number one and maybe she's just incredibly grateful that she was given that gift.

Maybe pregnancy is miserable for her.

Maybe pregnancy is dangerous for her.

Maybe another pregnancy just isn't in her cards.

You don't know.

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In ten years of trying, we've been blessed with one beautiful, smart, vibrant little girl.

We think we're incredibly lucky.

 

Michelle is a New York born North Dakotan who lives in Pittsburgh. She writes to remember at burghbaby.com.

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