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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.

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Thinkstock photo via Marjan_Apostolovic.

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