Saturday, June 25, 2016

Stop Asking Me That Update

Last week, I shared the original link to my post Stop Asking Me That on Facebook since it showed up on the memories page that they have. I felt it was still relevant, and will be relevant for quite awhile until there is a cultural shift among us to cause the phenomenon to change, or ideally disappear completely.

When it was originally posted I got quite a bit of positive feedback on it. This time around was no different, I received feedback from several people thanking me for sharing it again. And especially for giving voice to their thoughts and feelings on the subject. And that, my friends, is one of the reason I go on what my husband calls "Jaq Rants". I know that I'm not the only one that feels the way I feel about these things, the only difference is I seem to be the one to get so fed up with them that I HAVE to say something.

Since the original post, I have gained some more insight into the subject and would like to share a bit of it. Hopefully, someone who read the original post and disagreed with it will gain some more perspective here and be more open minded to understanding why the subject of having children can be so sensitive and upsetting to people.

(At this point I am not going to repost the entire original post. You can read it here.)

"Each mention of babies or children is extremely painful to them. You can NEVER know if you are saying something to this person."

Yes. A million times yes.
Not only is bringing up the subject of "When are you going to have kids" or "Why don't you have kids yet" painful beyond description for these people, every day life is.
They can't drive past a park with children playing in it without pain.
They can't pass a school without pain.
Even going to church is painful, seeing families with babies and older children, even when the children are crying or misbehaving. These people want that so badly, and deeply, that they would take your misbehaving child on their worst day .
They go home at night and curl up in a ball and sob. They cry out to the Lord for a child, or if not, the strength to understand why they aren't blessed with children, or to endure life without receiving the deepest desire of their hearts.

And you aren't helping by talking about nothing but children around them. You are causing more pain and damage to them, especially as you ask and pressure them about having children of their own.

Why don't they just tell you? If you knew you wouldn't do that to them. Well, like I said before, because things like this are often deeply PRIVATE. These people are not going to walk around telling you that they can't have children and seeing you happy with yours causes them emotional pain so deep that it physically hurts.

"Some people don't want children. And that's fine because it's their choice. Did you hear that? It's their choice, not yours. Stop trying to guilt trip them into something they don't want, and don't pass judgement on them for following their path, not your interpretation of what their path should be."

Some feedback I received on this one was from a couple who have not yet decided if they are going to have children or not. They currently are leaning towards not having children. And every time they visit family they are asked about when they are going to start a family. They are told "We want grandkids, when is it going to happen?"

The subject is not brought up in a joking manner. These family members will not let the subject go until they have a timeline, for heaven's sake.

And this couple doesn't know how to tell the family that they don't want children at this point, and may never want children.

The thing is, it's the couple's choice and decision. Their families have NO BUSINESS pressuring them into it. Not having children is not selfish. It's not. It's responsible. Having worked the past year with extremely low income families, I can tell you honestly that I wish some of those parents had made the decision to not have their children. Children born to those who don't want them, or are on the fence about having children, are the ones that suffer. If you are mature enough to know that you don't want children, don't have them.

As for the rest of you, don't pressure these people into having children to satisfy your own selfish desires to be an aunt or grandpa or whatever. The children are the ones who will suffer the consequences of not being wanted by the two most important people in their life, their parents.

"I'm going to advocate a little for my generation here, some of us are not ready for children yet for various reasons."

We have watched you struggle. We have watched you make huge mistakes in life. And we see the looming consequences that you will not have to pay, but we WILL have to pay. You didn't always think things through, and left us with a mess to clean up. We are learning from your mistakes and trying our hardest to not repeat them.

We don't want that for our children. We would much rather start them off in a financially stable home. We would much rather they have two parents who love and support each other, or if we must that the single parent is well enough off that our children don't bear the brunt of poverty or neglect because mom or dad is exhausted from working all day just to keep food on the table.

We want our children to be healthy. And sometimes that means delaying having them because we need to make sure we are healthy;physically, mentally, and emotionally; before allowing children in our lives. We can identify when we aren't mature enough, or if we feel like we still need time to define ourselves before giving ourselves over entirely to a new human. We want to guide them, and love them, in the best possible way we can, and to do that we need to take a little more time to figure out who we are and who we want to become before we can help another human do the same thing.

Give us a break, we are trying to, and for the most part succeeding in, doing the right thing here.

Finally, I want to put it this way, brace yourselves for this because I really had to mentally prepare myself to put this in writing, even though I have said it a million times.

When you ask a couple when they are going to have a baby you are literally asking them if they are having sex. And that is most definitely none of your business. There were several occasions when I was asked when we were going to have a baby, and it took all I had to not say, "Well, that's a good question, and when is the last time you had sex with your spouse?"

If all of the above information has not gotten through to you, hopefully that last paragraph did. You don't want anyone knowing about your sex life, so stop asking them about theirs.

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