I have been off the grid for a while. I apologize. I spend most of my time on social media sites throughout the day for work, and when I am done, it is hard to bring myself to get back on when I should be spending time with my husband. Mr. Bird is in medical school and it is a rarity to see him these days. Today, I want to address something that has been bothering me as of late. When Mr. Bird and I started dating I posted pictures on Instagram and to Facebook so I could document our relationship. I thought, well if this guy eventually asks me to marry him we are going to need an awesome wedding video #girlthoughts. That was my motive. These pictures led to questions after only two months of dating…. They were all questions about when we were going to be married. At this point in our relationship I knew very little about him…which was okay, it was still early. Don’t get me wrong, I was already thinking about marriage myself, but the more people asked the more I wanted it. I mean an unmarried 24-year-old, college graduate living in her parents house, it didn’t look good, and people were worried…I get it… But I started to become envious of those in that stage in life and wasn’t “living in the moment.” Two nights before Mr. Bird proposed to me we got into a disagreement. It was about how he hadn’t proposed yet. All I could think was I want to be engaged and I want people to stop asking the question “when are you getting married.” Two nights later, he surprised me at the train depot with a candle lit path lined in white roses and pictures of us. If you ask me, it was perfect. Finally I could post it to the world and no one would ever ask me that question again… (besides what the day was)
The week after Mr. Bird and I were married we settled back into our “normal” lives. With only one week of marriage under our belt, people started asking when we were going to have kids. I didn’t even have an entire month to enjoy being a newlywed. I started worrying about it. I though oh no, we are just getting use to being married and now we are expected to have kids! At this point, it never occurred to me that I could ignore these people.
Now before I continue, I want to make sure you all know… I am not innocent in this aspect. I asked these questions to so many about when they were getting married and when they would have kids. I have made the decision that I will no longer ask these questions. We are so easy to ask questions not considering the person’s background or circumstance. When a “cookie cutter” Mormon couple has a long engagement or are waiting to get married maybe there are things that they are taking care of and have to wait. That scenario would already be painful enough, we don’t want to burden them any further.
As for kids… If I had a dollar for every time I heard “when are you having kids” or “you wouldn’t know, you don’t have kids” (that’s the worst) I would literally be able to pay next months electricity bill. When you ask the question or simply state that people without kids don’t understand, it merely rolls off your tongue and is forgotten within minutes. To the receiver of the statement it resonates for much longer. I want to share with you a #reallife event. A few weeks ago I went to an event where I was the only one without kids (this is now my normal) which I have learned to enjoy, I get to hold all the cute babies and I don’t have to take them home! However I left this event feeling like I was worth nothing because I had not yet reproduced. At the event I was even refereed to as the free babysitter while I was left out of the “adult” conversation and reminded multiple times that “I wouldn’t know, I don’t have kids.” I mean come on! I have been married almost 7 months, if we wanted to have a child it wouldn’t even be here yet. I know that their intentions were not to hurt my feelings, but I couldn’t help but feel worthless. I felt that I had no identity, no personality, and nothing of worth because I didn’t have a baby on my hip and the warrior like stretch marks covering my stomach. So obviously I called my mom and she managed to talk me up! We joked about all the things I could say… My favorite being “You wouldn’t know, you have kids.” She taught me such a valuable lesson, love where you are in life and live it. Life will continue and kids will come along when it’s time.
I suggest that my readers consider not asking these questions anymore. I mean it’s okay to ask your sisters that’s like a basic human right, but refrain from asking those you meet in your day. We never know what is going on behind the scenes. We don’t know if a couple has experienced a miscarriage, we don’t know if they have problems with fertility, we don’t know their lives! If us childless women want to talk about it, trust me we will bring it up and ask you questions.
As I finish this post, I don’t want you all to leave thinking Clare is upset or unhappy. If I have hung out with you recently PLEASE don’t sit and run our past conversations through your mind, it’s not worth it…We all know that I am over-sensitive. I have moved on and relished in the fact I can stay up all night playing Settlers of Catan without interruption. If you said something, I can promise you I am over it. The truth is I am so happy where I am in life. I am a newlywed. I get my best friend to myself. I may be baby hungry, but what woman with an active Pinterest account is not…
Claire, You have a wise mommy and a great outlook. I love reading your blog. I tell my married kids to really relish and enjoy this time b/c you never ever get to be a newlywed again. It is all new, & a fun and exciting time of life.
And to all those that say to you ” you wouldn’t know, you don’t have kids,” just remember that THIS you do know; tonight you get have a blissful full night’s sleep and they don’t. 😛
My favorite was when Ben and I were told “don’t you know there’s a commandment about that?” I wanted to punch them as we were on the throws of infertility, I think Ben almost did haha. :). I also had somebody tell me to enjoy not having kids because they would love to go to the mall alone, etc. It stung to hear those things because I’d have liked to take kids with me anywhere! Anyway, random rumblings, but Thanks for posting this as a reminder that we need to be sensitive, but also to enjoy the blessings we have, no matter what stage of life. I’ll go squeeze my little miracles we waited a long time to get here, all three of them! Thanks Clare 😊
Clare you are great. I feel like this every day. We are trying to get pregnant, and it is difficult when people ask me that question. I just want to scream “I’m trying!!!”. I don’t know why it hasn’t happened yet, but it would be nice to live in peace till we do.
Good post! I think something similar that’s overlooked is that some women don’t want to have children and people say “that’s what you say now”, or “you’ll change your mind”. I think we just need to understand that the paths to marriage and/or children are different for everyone, and we need to respect that people are allowed to make decisions on their own time.
Great post – my daughters hear “When are you getting married?” far too often (27 & 30, RMs, living in Provo – the LDS trifecta, so you can imagine). As a single mother, my personal pet peeve is when married when say (or post) about how they know what it’s like to be a single mom because their husband has been out of town for a few days. NO.YOU.DON’T!!!! And it’s an unintended insult to those of us who are actually single mothers. My two cents 🙂