What I Wish People Would Consider Before Asking Why I Don't Have Kids

Do you have kids? No? Why not?!

No. Just no. The next time you go to ask that question as a small talk option, please reconsider.

I had a nurse at my dental office ask me that, and it was uncomfortable for both of us when I answered “No.”

She was visibly offended at my short response and seemed to be waiting for further information. Specifics as to why not.

I did not want to give those specifics. When I went to the dentist that morning I had not emotionally prepared myself to have to speak about my miscarriages, my health issues and the likelihood that I will never have children.

As uncomfortable as my “No” made her, I’m betting my specifics about emergency surgeries, unviable pregnancies, sepsis and miscarriages would have made her even more uncomfortable.

It’s not an easy subject for me. I always assumed I would be a mom some day. My illness worsened when I was 18, so I figured I would improve and have my kids in my late 20s or 30s. But my health continues to worsen.

After my miscarriages I came to the decision that I would likely adopt instead, once my health was under better control. That seemed like a good option. But my health isn’t getting under control. It’s worsening. I can’t even live by myself anymore. In my 30s I was ordered that it was not safe for me to live alone because of severe anaphylaxis and angioedema episodes where I would lose consciousness and be unable to administer the Epi-pen to myself. That, on top of my kidney disease and pain, makes it difficult to take care of myself most days. I could not take care of a child.

So, when I’m asked if I have kids, all of these things come rushing into my mind. When my answer of “No” is treated as though I am being rude, or followed up with the question of “Why not?,” it is a painful spot to be put in.

Please rethink the next time you are about to ask someone if they have kids. And if you do ask them, and their answer is abrupt, take that as a big sign that there are a lot of personal emotions going on and it is time to change the topic.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via Marjan_Apostolovic.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Idiopathic Angioedema

girl opening curtains in a bedroom

Keeping Hope After Each Disappointing New Doctor and Test Result

It’s hard to be sick all the time, to be in severe pain, all the time. To go from doctor to doctor. Hope to hope. Thinking this might be the one who figures it out. Who can actually help. Then, the devastating crash, when that promising new doctor turns out to have no answers for [...]
Couple sitting together at beach with text 17 tips if youre new to chronic illness from veterans whove been there

17 Tips If You're New to Chronic Illness, From 'Veterans' Who've Been There

It takes time to figure out how to live your best life while dealing with a chronic health condition. There’s a steep learning curve as you navigate doctors’ appointments, changing friendships and life-altering symptoms for the first time — especially because healthcare professionals probably won’t tell you exactly how your illness will affect each and every part [...]

To My Partner Who Has Remained By My Side Through Illness

Everyone living with a chronic illness knows that one of the worst parts of the whole ordeal is not having a strong support team. We may spend many days feeling invalidated because people brush our conditions aside. What we look like on the outside oftentimes doesn’t match the way we feel on the inside. They may not believe [...]
image of an embryo stating "this is not a person" next to a photo of a woman in a wedding dress.

Infertility Activists Say 'Personhood Bills' May Restrict Access to IVF

Image credit: Casey Berna Casey Berna had always dreamed of having a large family. When she and her husband started the process, she had no idea the challenges they would face in trying to meet that goal. Following her daughter’s birth through intrauterine insemination (IUI), Berna spent the next seven years trying to give her some [...]