My least favorite question. It makes me cringe and it places unnecessary pressure to get to the next phase of adulthood. While I understand the intentions are mostly pure, that question can trigger harsh emotions for many women.
A group of friends and I were hanging out and the topic of children came up. Of the group of us, one was a new mom and another was on her second. We were all enjoying the company of the baby in our midst and naturally, the topic of motherhood and childbearing came up. Each married woman chimed in on when they are planning if they are trying and their hopeful timeline. I kept silent mainly due to the food crammed in my mouth enjoying the conversation at hand and the hearts of that sharing. Then I got directed to a question:
“Are you interested in having children Vash?”
I was caught off guard and choked on the chips and guac in my mouth. I wasn’t upset or applauded by the question, but rather intrigued by the way the question was phrased. Never before was I asked if I was interested in having children. It was always “WHEN are you having children.” Before answering the question I asked my friend why she phrased the question the way she did. Her response overwhelmed my heart with conviction and with great appreciation for her sensitive heart. In a nutshell, she revealed that at a family event, a family member of hers was being bombarded by the older parents and grandparents about when she and her husband would have children. Seeing the pain in her eyes, my friend shut the whole group up and told them to quit asking. Later she found out that her family member and husband were actually trying for some years now and had not been able to conceive. That’s when she realized how powerful the word “WHEN” is and how much pain it can bring to someone who’s silently hurting over the pressures of others and longing to conceive while others judge the lack of offspring.
I was convicted because I too have asked the question using the word “when.” While my intentions are pure much like many others, we have no clue what is happening behind closed doors of the woman the question is being directed at. She may have been trying for years. She has had a couple of miscarriages. She may not be able to have children due to genetics or medical conditions. Whatever her story is, that question poses pressure and deep pain for many women.
“Are you interested…” approaches the topic of childbearing with grace. At least for me, it did. I didn’t feel pressured to give a response that would suit the room. I didn’t feel guilty for not being a mom as yet. I responded with confidence that my husband and I aren’t quite ready yet and we don’t plan to start trying until a couple more years. The power was shifted to me. My sweet friend gave me the power to respond in confidence. No pressure, no shame, and no guilt. Rather, confidence.
My challenge to you is to approach the topic of childbearing with more sensitivity. Newly married couples do not need to be pressured to move on to the next phase of life. Let that happen in God’s timing. Couples who have been married for a couple of years do not need to feel guilt and shame for not being parents “yet.” You don’t know their story. Instead, pray for them.
I will end with this. Be kind to those around you. Love those that are hurting and remember to think before you speak.
“Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.”