Catching Our Rainbow

Hoping for a rainbow after the storm…

Do you have any kids?

on November 24, 2013

Graduate school is hard. I’m putting in way more hours as a student than I was working a full time job. But it’s also totally worth it because I’m doing something that I love. I love reading, talking about, and writing about literature, and that’s what I do all the time now. Graduate school also has a unforeseen perk: no one asks you if you have kids or if you are trying to have kids. Whenever I met someone new at my job, they would ask me if I have kids. When I would say no, they would ask if I want kids. I’m not really sure why this seems to be the culturally accepted thing to do when you meet someone new, but it is. At least in the area where we live. In graduate school, however, everyone assumes that you don’t have time for kids and even if you do want them, you will wait until after you are done. I’ve never seen a noticeably pregnant woman on campus, and not one of my friends at school has a child, so I don’t have to hear complaints or stories about them. As an infertile, it’s wonderful to not have the constant reminder.

Hubby isn’t so lucky and still has to deal with nosey people at work, as well as a boss whose wife had a baby a month ago. The other day when someone asked him if he has kids and he said no, they told him that he needs to get moving because the clock is ticking. Thankfully, his boss intervened at that moment because he knows our story and how upsetting the situation was for hubby. Plus, he probably didn’t want Kevin to guilt the man by telling him that all of our babies died. It’s the truth and the man probably deserved it, but it’s not really good costumer service.

It’s a problem every infertile has to deal with at some point or another: everyone has an opinion about whether or not you should have kids, and many will voice that opinion without knowing your story. It weird when you think about it. I spent a semester studying abroad in Germany, and I was amazed at how private the Germans are. Questions that are considered small talk in the U.S., like asking someone what they do for a living, were considered personal and rude. Maybe we should take notes.

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One response to “Do you have any kids?

  1. Annie says:

    I’m glad grad school has offered you a bit of a hiatus from all the inquiries into your reproductive plans. I agree, it’s so odd that those kinds of questions are considered socially acceptable. I am also in a literature grad program (English majors, unite!). During my master’s program, I found that there was very little talk of children or families, and like you, none of my friends had children or talked about their plans to have them. In the PhD program where I am now though, that has changed. Several colleagues have gotten pregnant after finishing coursework and moving on to general exams and the dissertation. It’s been just another way in which it feels like I’ve been left behind. I’m sorry your hubby had to endure that rude comment. Sometimes I think people who ask things like that deserve to hear the harsh truth and be made to feel guilty about their insensitivity. Maybe I should think about moving to Germany ;)

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