“Stop Asking Couples When They Are Having Kids.” — Will You?

Story by Adele Barbaro

-we are just enjoying being newly married

-we have some travelling we want to do first

-I’m just focusing on my career right now…..

These are just a few of the reasons I used (with a forced smile) to mask what was really going on. I wasn’t always that pleasant. One day I responded with ‘it’s not that f**king easy, you know’. I had just got my period that morning…. again.

They would tell me that I’m not going to be young forever or that my maternal clock was ticking. And believe me, I knew it. I just didn’t need to hear it from everyone else.

Trying to conceive isn’t easy unless you are a highly fertile 17 year old, that could fall pregnant just by talking about it. The odds of conception and retaining a pregnancy are actually pretty shit, topped off with the huge amount of people that are reproductively challenged with polycystic ovaries, endometriosis etc etc. And I was one of them….

I remember the day, vividly. I had to go to work after we had the appointment and I thought that was it for me. No kids. My husband, always the optimistic one said that we would try the treatments suggested and that it was not over. We even had a very frank discussion about adopting. We were told to expect a long road ahead, if we decided to take it.

IVF sucks. It is the most time consuming, invasive, expensive and emotionally painful roller coaster I have been on. It actually broke me. You have so much invested in the process, financially and emotionally that it consumes your every thought.

When you are having difficulty conceiving, it seems everyone around you is falling pregnant. It’s easy to be happy for them at first but that brave face wears thin after a while. I even started to decline going to certain get togethers and attending baby birthdays were just painful. I became quite bitter, desperate and depressed.

But one year later, I got up for work and did a quick test, expecting the usual mind-numbing result. I crawled back into bed with my husband. He rolled over and said ‘you’re pregnant, aren’t you’!? I was. I didn’t have to say a thing. My face said it all. We were one of the lucky ones.

But many couples will be trying for years. And some may never succeed and my heart goes out to them. And what about the couple that doesn’t want kids? Or the couple that had a child but can’t afford to have another? Or those that have lost little ones? Even though we went through IVF and had such a struggle to have our Harvey, soon after we were asked… ‘so when are you having number two’? And now that I have two wonderful children and I feel our family is pretty complete, the question still comes….

So, next time you go to say that ‘throw away’ comment to the newly weds or the couple that have been together for ten years, be sensitive. Don’t ask them when they are having kids. You never know what’s going on.

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