In the last month I’ve read countless articles along the same theme; “Don’t ask me if I’m going to try for a girl/boy, third child, when I’m going to get married / co-habit / start dating, when I’m going to have a first baby?” etc.
As a person who suffered four miscarriages before having my baby, I understand from personal experience that in certain circumstances answering those questions can be painful. There were times I thought I’d burst into tears when strangers enquired whether I had any children whilst I was still suffering the physical affects of a failed pregnancy.
For me, the children question was a painful one to answer. But the same is true of almost any question. “What did you have for lunch?” can be painful if you have an eating disorder. “Where do you live?” can be painful if you’ve recently had to move as the result of a divorce or financial problems. The people asking the questions aren’t trying to offend and I doubt they even care about the answer. They’re just trying to make friendly conversation. If people don’t stop being so frightfully sensitive the only legitimate form of conversation will be to talk about the weather, or worse, saying nothing at all. With loneliness becoming a modern epidemic, we should be encouraging small talk not making people go about in silence for fear of inadvertently offending.