So imagine the scenario...
You’ve just met someone for the first time and are starting up a conversation. You ask the all too common question “do you have any children” and to your surprise you discover that the person is childless.
So where do you go from there? It can depend on what the person said because their response may direct the conversation in a certain direction. However, have you ever replied with one of these statements?
- Have you considered adoption?
- It wasn’t in God’s plan.
- No kids, lucky you!
- No kids, do you want mine?
Perhaps by asking about adoption you felt like you were trying to be helpful and suggest a simple solution to their childlessness that they may not have already thought about? Perhaps by mentioning God’s plan you hoped to bring comfort to that person? Perhaps suggesting they were lucky could lift their spirits and make them see the situation in a different light? Perhaps joking about giving your own children away would make them realise there could be a downside to being a parent?
If that person had answered slightly different by saying they had lost their only child to cot death, would you have given the same responses. If not, why not?
Why does a childless woman differentiate from the woman who was a mum for a brief amount of time? Is it because she had given birth to a child and seen their child’s face? Felt their child’s breath on her cheek. Do you recognise that the relationship between the child and parent as something valid? Something you can visualise and understand. You know their child had a name and existed. Their child could not be so easily replaced, forgotten or joked about.
Both women dreamt of being a mum and both women are hurting because they don’t have a child to hold in their arms. Your responses may have been different because you have empathy for one, but not for the other.
They are both grieving, but you didn’t recognise or respect one woman’s grief.
Please take some time to mull over that thought before you read the following articles. Today is a day of choice. Today is a day to be open-minded to opinions and reactions from those who are childless.