Monday, August 01, 2005

A friendly suggestion

Can I offer some advice to anyone who ever attempts to engage in polite conversation? If you know a woman (or a man, for that matter) who is in her 20's-30's, happily married, and does not have kids, you can assume one of three things:

1. She does not want kids. Frankly, this should be a socially acceptable position, and they also have no obligation to discuss this decision with you.

2. She wants kids but is waiting for some reason. In this case, it is always possible that it is a touchy subject between two spouses, which means you are bringing up a sore subject.

3. She wants kids but is having trouble or has been told she can't. This is true in way more instances than anyone imagines. 1 in 6 couples face infertility at some point. If the person you are talking to is included in that group, you could be causing a lot of pain. She may not tell you they are having problems because it is none of your business, and she may smile and nod, but inside she is cringing.

You can avoid this situation by recognizing that people's reproductive lives are NONE of your business. I read To Kill a Mockingbird a very long time ago but one thing that sticks out in my mind is the statement that lawyers should never ask a question they don't already know the answer to. You should stick to that rule in discussing people's personal lives. The best way to be sensitive is to not bring it up. If a person wants your advice or input in when, why, or how to have children, they'll ask you.

Otherwise, mind your own business.