When I tell people I’ve just met that I’m a newlywed, a common question is “when are the babies coming?” I reckon I’m asked this twice a week.
Adam and I went out to an event four days after our wedding and five people asked us about babies. It was awkward.
These questions have made me feel “normal, just like everyone else” because many friends have told me they were asked about their plans to have kids immediately after their wedding too.
But what people who ask these questions don’t think of is that having children might not be as simple for me as for other women.
And they might not realise there have been people in my life who have told me I shouldn’t have children due to the (low) likelihood of passing on ichthyosis. Oh, they have.
Sometimes strangers have asked me this, with their hands waving around their face in the universal language of “I don’t know what to call it”.
They ask, “What’s the likelihood of you passing on your condition to your children?” And it’s awkward because until recently I hadn’t had that conversation with Adam, or my geneticist, and people are so damn judgmental of someone with a disability passing that disability down to their children.
Also, the desire (or not) to have children should not take away from our existing and future achievements.
Sometimes I get clucky when I see babies and baby clothes. And then I hear a screaming kid and think that I like our current low-responsibility life.
If women want to have babies and openly talk about it, we should be able to. If we don’t want a family, we should be able to talk about our choice; or not. And if it’s complicated – we shouldn’t be expected to go through the pain of explaining why we can’t have children or gritting our teeth and smiling at these well meaning conversation starters.
I’m not comfortable being asked when we will have children. Next time I’m asked, I’m going to say this – that I’m not comfortable discussing babies – instead of politely smiling and saying “maybe one day”.
(I wrote this last year, it’s about all the things I think of around having a child.)
(Picture: closeup of Adam holding my hand, close to my tummy, I’m wearing my wedding dress, he’s in his suit. It was taken by Fresh Photography.)
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