"There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage."
--Martin Luther

Sunday, 2 June 2013

On Being Fruitful (Or Not)

Last week was rough.  We have five (yes, five) babies expected among our staff.  When the fifth one pregnancy was announced this week, I was both very excited for the expectant parents, and aware that I needed to steel myself for the coming onslaught.  And come, it did.  Not an hour after the announcement, and all of a sudden I was bombarded with the questions about when it would be my turn to have a baby.  Someone even touched my stomach.  I wish I were exaggerating, but this really happened.

All of this made me want to write a post on how frustrating it is to field so many fertility-related questions, but then I remembered that I already did that before.  In the midst of this crazy week, I happened to read a post by a woman named Heather that made me tear up.  Please take the time to read it and be reminded why this topic is so difficult for many women (and men), and why questions on family planning can strike a nerve.  I've said it before, but this doesn't mean we can't be open with our friends and ask hard questions; it does mean, however, that you should think twice before asking a personal question to someone you've only met on Sundays in the church lobby.  On top of fertility struggles, there could be marital issues, health concerns, financial situations, or other issues that are keeping couples from starting a family, so please bear this in mind before you ask what seems to be an innocent question.  Just to clarify, this is NOT the case with us at present, but I am well aware that could be in the future, so I'm sensitive to the issue.

Anyway, this past week's frustrations have led me to ask God daily for His help in trusting Him, and as a result, I've begun to rejoice in the fruitfulness I see all around me.  Aside from the pregnancies at work, I have two close friends expecting babies, and two of my former youth group girls (who are now married and in their 20s).  It has been so amazing to see this women go from teens to mature adults.  As well, last Wednesday, I noticed that a pair of bluejays have built a nest in our front yard tree, so I anticipate baby birds in the coming weeks (or months?); for me, it was hugely comforting to know that there is new life on our property even in the midst of a week that felt lifeless.  We are planning a vegetable garden, so we anticipate growth and new life in our own backyard.  God is alive, and He is good.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come 
that they may have life, and have it to the full.
John 10:10


  1. I am one of those that's guilty of asking this question to married-women-without-kids. Til I got married. Then I stopped asking.

    Why did I stop asking? It was partly because I became one of those married-women-without-kids and realized that it wasn't that fun to be asked that. But, to be honest, that's just a small reason. We were only married for a year before we started trying to have kids and most people don't question that timeframe.

    The real reason that I stopped asking is that I became aware of how personal this question is and how painful it can be. I mean, what are a woman's options for an answer?

    If her reasons are financial, now she feels like she's just invited you into her financial life. A place you don't belong.

    If her reasons are fertility reasons, now she's reminded of it. And she has to decide whether to let you into the "inner circle" of people who know her struggles. That's probably not your place in her life either. If it was, you'd probably already know her struggle.

    If her reasons are marriage-based (i.e.: hubby isn't ready or their relationship isn't in a good place), then she has a decision to make: tell you that her and hubby don't agree? Tell you that her and hubby are having a rocky time? Again, probably not the place in her life you're supposed to be in.

    If her reason is "desire" (i.e.: she just doesn't want children), then she's potentially just invited a debate with you. Some people are really opinionated about kids and would even go so far to try to convince you that THEIR decision on children should be YOUR decision on children. And they probably mean well and are sincere in their beliefs, but again, probably not their place.

    If she's pregnant, but not ready to be public, now she has to decide if she should lie or not. Obviously, she isn't close enough to you to tell that she's pregnant, but she's not likely to want to have to lie.

    I'm all about kids - I love being a mom and I wish we wouldn't have waited even that year to have started our family, but since I've been on the receiving end of the kid question, I've realized how personal this really is. There are people that I didn't mind asking me that question (my family, my mentor), but everyone else is better off not asking.

    I think most women that ask that "When you having babies?" question mean well - they just don't realize how personal their question is and what the ramifications of their question is. Course, some are just nosy, but I'd like to think that most mean well.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts. You hit SO many nails right on the head. I agree that most people are well-meaning rather than busybodies, and that helps me when I have trouble grinning and bearing it. I try to assume good intentions for most people.

      I have only just started realizing how painful this question can be for many women. A colleague of mine had her son after more than 10 years of marriage, in which they tried and tried and eventually were told they couldn't have children. He's grown and in university now, but I can still see the painful memories it brings back when people lightheartedly ask her, "Oh, didn't you want more than one?"