People Mean Well, But...
This post is for those who ask women questions about marriage and babies, and it’s for those women who are being asked those gut-wrenching questions. Most people mean well when they ask a woman, “When are you going to get married?” Or, if you’ve been married for a little more than two days, they start asking, “When are you going to have a baby?” If you’ve already had a child with your husband, people start asking “When are you going to have more children?”
I truly believe those people mean well, but they just don’t understand the hurt they may be causing someone who is teetering on the edge of an emotional collapse while dealing with that very sensitive subject of their lives. The questioner doesn’t know if that person they are questioning cries every day because of the sadness they feel about being single or being without children.
So, what I offer to those who simply must question a woman’s relationship timeline or pregnancy status is to instead, focus on the less touchy aspects of that woman’s life and/or her well-being when asking questions about her private life. Asking her “are you going to get married?” or, “When are you going to have a baby?” won’t make her get married or have a baby any sooner just because you asked. Be sensitive to people’s personal lives and try not to ask too private of a question. If there’s any big news that person wishes to share with you, she’ll share it with you in her own time, and in her own way.
In the meantime, just be supportive. Let her know she’s in your thoughts and prayers, and you don’t have to give a reason why. She should be in your thoughts and prayers just because. In today’s world of vast fertility and relationship issues, you would think people would know not to ask sensitive questions like those mentioned above. Because some people are blessed not to experience infertility, or they may not know enough about a woman who has experienced it, it becomes difficult for them to relate to a woman who has fertility issues.
The same goes for people who ask other people about their timeline for getting married. Maybe the questioner has never experienced loneliness or the heartache of longing for someone. Or, maybe they have and just forgot how it feels. I wish I had the answer to why people ask single women when they’re going to get married, especially if they aren’t even dating. That’s a mystery to me, but I do know human nature’s ability to make us all say dumb stuff from time to time, so we’ll just chalk it up to that…human nature.
Whatever the case may be if you’re the person being asked the questions, or if you’re the person asking the questions, here are a few tips to get you through it without anyone getting hurt. J
So, if you see a woman you know who may be single or childless, and you are tempted to ask her one of the two questions we’ve discussed, but you remember our little conversation here, so you’re fishing for something to say to her, you may ask or say the following:
How are you?
Would you like to hang out…go to lunch or a movie or shopping?
How’s your family?
How’s the new house or apartment?
If they’ve been in their residence for a while, you may ask, “Are you still enjoying your house or apartment?”
How’s your puppy?
I like your jewelry.
I like your outfit or dress.
I like your shoes.
I think you get the picture here. You should pretty much talk to her about anything other than “When are you having a baby?” or “When are you getting married?”
Now, for those of you who those grating questions, these are the things I’ve found helpful to do or say without biting someone’s head off. J
Remember that they truly don’t mean you any harm. They just don’t know your struggle. (Keeping this in mind can really disarm you if you’re not already emotionally on 10. J )
You may say, “Thank you for your prayers. It’s in God’s Hands.”
You may also say, “I appreciate your concern. It’s in God’s Hands,” and then you may wish to physically leave the area, and that’s okay.
Smile and say, “In God’s Time. His Will be done.”
If people still press you after you say those things to them, just tell them, “It’s been difficult for me, so if you don’t mind, I’d rather talk about something else.” Sometimes, you just have to spell it out plainly for those who really just don’t get it.
Trust me, I’ve had so many snappy comebacks in my head and so many unposted Facebook posts in my head for those questioners, but I’m thankful that I haven’t snapped back or clicked post because It all boils down to people not understanding your struggles for lack of them having the same type of struggle. You can’t get mad at that.
I’d also like to add that if a woman considers you close enough to share with you that she’s experienced a miscarriage, please don’t tell her, “Well, you can just try again.” It very well may be true that she can try again, but if she’s going through the grief of losing her baby, the last thing she wants to think about is trying to “replace” the baby she’s lost because that baby is irreplaceable. Her body and mind are affected by miscarriage, so it’s just not that simplistic. It’s like telling a woman who has recently lost her husband, “Well, you can just get married again.” Yes, she may get married again one day, but it doesn’t stop the pain of the present or keep her from wanting the husband she just lost. The same goes for a woman who has miscarried.
A woman needs to grieve the loss of her baby before having to think about “trying” again. Trying to conceive the baby she lost may have taken years and much, much effort, so please be sensitive to her and just let her know that you’ll be praying for her strength, and truly listen to her if she needs to talk. She’ll really appreciate you being there for her.
I will leave you to reflect on a verse from Matthew 7:12. “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
I think that just about sums it up. I’m praying for you as you pray for others!
Let's keep P.U.S.H.ing!