Ahhh, yes. The question I often dread. I sometimes let it go with just a “no,” and move onto another subject. And it can be awkward. Parents don’t seem to know how to respond to my “no”. While I don’t necessarily think it is everyone’s business to know why we don’t have children, I occasionally share a bit about our childless-by-exhaustion experience because I want to educate.
Let’s face it, for lots of folks the do-you-have-children question is a handy ice breaker (heck, I sometimes ask the question myself). In addition, I imagine it is less anxiety provoking to talk about one’s kids than it is to talk about one’s self. Also, people bond over their experiences with children, much like we bond over our experiences without children. However, when discussing this blog with my sister-in-law yesterday, she asked me how we infertile, CNBC folks, would want the questioner to follow up our response of “no.” In other words, she sometimes asked the do-you-have-children question and got “no” as a response, and she didn’t quite know what to say after that. She stated that she wanted to be sensitive in handling the situation and wanted my advice. I was bit embarrassed because I didn’t have a ready answer. I eventually stated that I wouldn’t mind if someone asked me more about my life in a non-judgmental way, leaving it up to me to decide if I wanted to add anything about why we don’t have children. Maybe something like “Interesting…I’d love to hear more about your life.” At any rate, I promised my sister-in-law I would post about this and ask you all and get back to her. So, when asked about whether or not you have children, how would you like folks to respond to your answer of “no”? What do you want people to know and appreciate about you?