Having been in a long-term relationship for a number of years, I’ve been asked a few times about the possibility of kids. From close friends and family that’s one thing, but relative strangers have broached the subject as well. So this post from Marco Arment resonated with me:
“I’m not sure which is worse: quietly coping with an early miscarriage alone, since nobody talks about them, or having to tell everyone about a later loss like this. I suppose we’ll find out — we had a 5-week miscarriage last winter, and it was comforting to read the few other stories that brave people had shared. If sharing this can comfort a random Google searcher someday in even the smallest way, it’s worth it. Maybe this is our brick.”
I’ve not had to deal with a loss like this, and I cannot imagine how painful it would be. I am aware that many people keep these sorts of losses private, including some people in my own life. So when I see a well-intentioned stranger or acquaintance makes a joke about having kids, I think about what it’d be like to try to smile knowing that it wasn’t a possibility, or had been a possibility but something went wrong.
For me, the comments are a very occasional thing. But for my wife and other women I know it’s a lot more frequent- and sometimes not so well-intentioned. There are still people who somehow see a woman without kids as selfish or somehow not fulfilling their mandate here on earth. A tough person to deal with under any circumstances, but only more so if being childless weren’t a matter of choice. I hope some of them see this and think twice next time they want to pass judgement. I also hope that more people who have suffered this sort of loss feel comfortable sharing that, whether in public or among a close inner circle. I may not understand the pain, but I have no doubt that it is real, and no one should feel like they are alone in dealing with it.
Update: “You Shouldn’t Need A Reason For Not Having Kids” is a much better read on this subject.
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