If anybody remembers from my last post, due to biology beyond our control my wife and I may not be able to have children -- and we're perfectly fine with that. That's about as much information as most people get regarding the subject, as frankly any other medical details are just not anybody else's business. Yesterday, there was a an odd situation that sort of amused me, but got me thinking.
A relatively new coworker who I haven't yet interacted with too much was chatting with me while waiting for something to process. She has a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old and was gushing about every detail of their lives in the manner that new parents tend to do. I was politely listening, but not really paying too close attention, because frankly, I don't care. In the corner of my eye, a second coworker (who I am friends with outside of work and knows more about my situation than most people) was becoming a little visibly annoyed with the parental rantings. Then, the coup de grace -- the rambling coworker asked if I had any children. "No", I responded succinctly. "Oh, well, when you have kids, you'll know that blah blah blah", she continued rambling. At which point, the second coworker actually twitched in embarrassment. I just shrugged and let her continue -- eventually what we were waiting for was done, and she went back to her work and I to mine and I thought nothing of it.
Several hours later, the second coworker came up to me and apologized on behalf of the first for her faux pas of assuming that I would be having children and it was only a matter of when. I assured her that I was not offended as most people assume the same and I've gotten used to it over the years. She had said that after getting to know me, she became more aware of people who assume that everybody will eventually have children and how it can cause some awkward situations.
Now, I know that it helps that I try to follow the serenity prayer* and let that which doesn't not matter truly slide, but I know I'm in a very small minority. However, does anybody else think that we could slowly change the societal politeness to not assume that everybody will have children eventually, or at least not to say it out loud? I'm sure there are many stories just on these boards of people who desperately want to have children, but have had difficulty -- and hearing somebody flippantly say "Oh, when you have kids, you'll know...." might be a bit more emotionally damaging than intended.
*Serenity prayer, for those who aren't familiar:
Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference.