After the fact

Friday, May 01, 2009

I was talking with one of my previous supervisors yesterday with whom I have a great friendly rapport. We hadn't talked in a while, so he was eager to learn of what was "new" with me, and when I told him there wasn't really anything "new", he was baffled! How could there not be anything new?! Aren't I an almost-30 married chick? Isn't there anything cool and new going on?


Even if you consider our recent camping trip which was awesome, or Mr. A's brother's college graduation in 2 weeks that we are travelling to, or the trip to the beach in June with Mr. A's family, or the trip to my cousin's wedding in mid-June, that is not the kind of new thing that people expect to hear from an almost-30 married girl.

He goes: "No additions to the house? No additions to the family?"


This is where my title starts to come into play. I racked my brain at that moment to think of something witty or funny or at least placating to say, but I came up with nothing in the however-many milliseconds followed his comment. So I just said nothing and let the question and associated silence awkwardness hang out for a while. He is a very nice guy, and I wouldn't at all mind telling him we're hoping, praying, begging, pleading, longing, asking, etc. for an addition to the family, but there's a time and a place for everything, right? And at 4:56pm on a Thursday when he's about to leave work is not exactly the time to launch into that, I didn't think.

He continued: "How old are you? Almost 30? WOW. At that age, I had two kids!"


(Repeat paragraph above about silence awkwardness.)

He is not the type of person I could be angry about these types of comments- I am sure he'd be the first one to be compassionate if he knew what was going on- so I did not exactly hang up on him and run bawling into the bathroom. But I just wish I had something better to say in situations like this than nothing.

Of course, on my walk with Banana, I came up with some good ideas, naturally, after the fact: "Wow, you are lucky to have had two kids by my age!" or "Maybe soon" (the lamer of the two ideas!). But I can't exactly call him back today and lay this one-liner on him now! Ha! Maybe I should have asked him if he'd heard about National Infertility Awareness Week. Nah, too blunt (for his particular character).

I don't think there is any way those of us struggling with infertility can avoid having this situation happen to us. At some point, someone who we haven't talked to in a while will want to know if there's anything new with us, and mean in no uncertain terms, are you having a kid yet? Grace in my Heart has crafted a really clear, sensitive, and compassionate new answer for herself and her hubby, since they are pursuing adoption. For those of us who aren't in that pool yet, we have less concrete status identifiers! I think I have identified another positive character trait that is being sharpened in me right now- quick thinking on my feet!!

I will let you know if I come up with something better than "Not yet", or if I will just continue to be speechless at the question until some time later when a zinger comes to mind!


Grace in my Heart said...

I am known for thinking of good responses loooong after the fact. And it took me over a year to come up with my new adoption response, haha!!! I'll start thinking about a response for you...I may come up with something next year ;) Have a great Friday!!!

Praying for Hope said...

My usual response is, "Nope, not yet." I haven't thought of anything better yet. I lead a happily uneventful life, barring one event I'd like to have happen.

the misfit said...

I like your comeback that you didn't get to use :). I say "Not yet" also, and if they obviously have other questions beyond merely the existence of children, I generally say "we'd be happy to have some any time" (this clears matters up for people in older generations who ask. That's all they really want to know, that I don't hate babies).

In my first two years or so I would occasionally get follow-up questions - to which I think no one is entitled. My closest girlfriends, I told, and no one can decide to BECOME your close friend by forcing you to share your personal business with them. So if I knew them at all, I generally responded, "I'm infertile." This tends to upset people, but if they're going to be nosy and callous, I would rather they are upset than I am.

I haven't yet had an opportunity to add "like 15% of the adult population" (since I learned that) but I now plan to - I'd like my closer to be, "I've been infertile for several years and I don't cry that much any more. But many women do, so next time you're about to pry - think first." That needs to be said AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, IMO.

Stacey said...

Eek. That's tough. I know what you mean, though, it really does matter who's asking. I take the questions much better from certain types of people. It is really hard when the questions keep coming until they get a satisfactory answer! I always feel backed into a corner and my mind usually goes blank at that point.

When I'm prepared, I usually go with "We'd love to have children someday." This lets them know that we DO want to have children, and it implies that there is maybe a problem without getting into the whole story. Usually works, except with those who are particularly nosy. (Grrr)

The Wife said...

I'm great at coming up with comebacks/answers/arguments after the fact, but nothing when actually faced with the situation. At my ISG meeting though we talked about answering this sort of question and I've decided to just be honest. Sarcastic me would answer something like "Now there's a thought!" but normal me just answers "Nope." and if asked why "Because we are struggling with infertility." I try not to make it an issue.