Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the perceived importance that society places on having children. I know it’s a topic I want to delve into, but I don’t even know where to begin, it’s such a divisive and complicated subject. Plus other people have already put their two cents on it out there, and, quite frankly, they’ve probably said it better than I ever could (The Fertility Privilege). But yet again, the universe bumped me on my ass, and I find myself reeling from the value that is placed on those who can, and do procreate, seemingly with ease.
I was helping a client yesterday, and he was being rather chatty, but in an annoying way. Now, I’m going to be judgey mc-judgerson for a minute here and tell you about this guy. The best way I can describe him is, a doofus. He was rather self absorbed, and kept calling me “dear”, even though he was very close in age to me. He was one of those types that is very loud and boisterous, has his opinions, and doesn’t stop to consider any one else’s.
He was already irritating to me right from the get go, but then he started in about his son, he was telling me what an advanced, amazing four year old he is. It was at this point that he asked me if I had any kids. I gave whatever rote, mechanical answer I usually give, “no not yet”, or something to that effect. I think he asked me if I was planning on having kids, and I told him “eventually”, which he seemed relieved by, as if my not wanting kids would have been some cardinal sin (which we all know some people truly think it would be). He told me what a wonder his child was, how it was the best thing that ever happened to him, that having a child is the most important thing, and on and on. Basically saying that life is nothing without a child. I don’t know why he felt the need to prattle on about it. It was like he was trying to convince me on why I should have a child.
Then the same day one of my old corkers came in, and I was booking something for her, and she was chatting a bit with me. I haven’t seen her in probably over a year, and she worked in a different department than me so I never really got to know her very well. At some point in the conversation she said to me, “so any good news lately?”. I just told her, “oh you know it’s been same old same old”, as I realized what she was really asking me. She then outright asked if I had any kids. I said, “no”, to which she asked, “oh you never really wanted kids did you?”. I almost want to just start telling people that no, I don’t want kids. I corrected her and told her, we do, just not yet. Usually my standard response is “eventually”. Seems to buy me some time, but even that may run out soon.
I was off work Thursday, due to the fiasco that was my IVF baseline day. I was initially supposed to only be gone for the morning, but with the cancellation/uncancellation of my cycle I called in and told them I wouldn’t be in the rest of the day. I was only able to give my boss two days notice of this appointment, as I had to wait for CD1, so I told her I had a doctors appointment that I had been waiting for, and was told I shouldn’t expect to be back at work until after lunch. I also mentioned to her that I may have more appointments coming up in the next couple of weeks but would try and keep them before work (which is true). Then when I called at noon and told our receptionist I wouldn’t be back in the rest of the day apparently I raised some concern, as well as curiosity. My boss text me later that evening to tell me she hoped I was ok, and that she was worried about me. I told her I was having some medical issues, but nothing life threatening. That seemed to be enough of an explanation for her, but some of my other coworkers did as me if I was ok, or if everything was ok.
I appreciate the concern, but some of it is just innate curiosity, and my office likes to gossip. I really wanted to keep all of this completely separate from work, but obviously that would be next to impossible. I’m a private person, I don’t want to share my personal business, especially since I work with gossipy middle aged woman who already have children and will never understand what I’m going through anyways.
No matter where you are, it seems priority is given to those with children, having a family is seen as growth and maturity (although this couldn’t be further from the truth in some cases). People proudly display their families with stickers on the back of their vehicles (my brother and sister in law, and half the rest of the world). I don’t care that Timmy likes soccer, and Janie likes dancing, or that you have a dog, a cat, a fish and a horse. I’m a part of society too, I have skills to offer, and I matter. I am hoping that I’m close to adding to my family and I don’t want that to change my perspective. I try not to think of having a baby as completing our family, because just the two of us and our dogs, we are complete. We would just be getting a much wanted addition. And I promise I won’t think I am a better person because of it.