Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Seemingly Simple and Harmless Question

What may seem like a simple and harmless question with a simple answer to some becomes much more complicated to the infertile: “Do you have any kids?”

And it seems like an innocuous one that many people ask when they are attempting to get to know you on a personal basis. But to those of us who have struggled with pregnancy – it can be a question considerably double edged.

My typical response is “Not yet.” But, most of the time I’m holding back something like, “Well, the fact that I’ve been married for twelve years and don’t have any kids should tell you something.” I usually refrain from giving the full exhaustive summary of our baby-making trials.

But, I can always see behind peoples' eyes the questions and the mental calculations of why a 36-year old woman married since her mid-twenties doesn’t have kids. Here in the good ol’ Midwest, where a family with at least two kids is the norm, being the only person who doesn’t talk about T-ball or soccer games on Monday morning makes you an outlier.

But, I can always tell you about the cat vomit I cleaned up on the carpet or how my dog learned a new trick.


  1. Let me just say that I have noticed that animal lovers are always happy to engage in sharing stories. Even if they have kids - it's just like your furry set of kids. I personally love to share how my 40 lb. beagle can use his 6 ft. long lizard to grab and eat an entire bag of hamburger buns and still be hungry. 4 times and counting..And if you can tell me how you get the cat/pet vomit out of the carpet, that would be even better!

  2. I hear you! I hate this question, and I get it all the time! My go-to answer is "No, just dogs" And usually they quit with the questions, because they probably figure I only want dogs and not kids. It seems like the question "Do you have any kids?" is always followed up or preceeded by "How long have you been married?" or "Do you want kids someday?" or "How come?" Its exhausting! But try the pet route, it seems to work for me.

  3. The other variation of this question is "so when are you going to give (name of the child) a brother or sister?" uhm..he is think we are just waiting for him to go off to college? I know it is not the same, since we do have one, but I find the assumption that we are "cheating him" to be pretty invasive and annoying go to answer has been "from your mouth to G-d's ears" which usually is enough to indicate that it is deeper than the questioner expects..if that doesn't work, I say "sorry, we think he would eat a brother or sister!"

  4. I really like Baby Mama's approach -- "from your mouth to Gcd's ears". That points to the pain, and hopefully embarrasses them a little for asking some a thoughtless, annoying question.

  5. Whenever I got stuck in that kids says the funniest thing, I launch in to oh, my dog did something like that the other day. My stories do tend to involve goose shit or scooching a bum along the pavement, but so what?