“So, are you and your husband going to start trying?” excitedly asks my coworker, who had to get a hysterectomy at age 34 due to vaginal prolapse, as well as incontinence and pelvic floor issues, all directly caused by the births of her three children.
“You’ll probably regret not having kids one day.” gently announces my sister, who sends her children to bed every night at 6:30pm so she can down a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc while chatting on the phone with her mom group friends about her perpetual exhaustion.
“Being a parent is so rewarding!” says my beaming cousin, whose postpartum depression got so bad that her husband couldn’t leave her home alone with their children for a year out of fear that she might actually kill them.
“But without kids, who will take care of you when you’re old?” asks my befuddled brother-in-law, who is estranged from all of his adult children and siblings due to arguments over money.
“Do you think you’ll ever want to have a baby?” eagerly asks my friend, six months after she and her baby both almost dying during her labor, and her frail newborn’s two-week stay in the NICU, during which she was forbidden from holding her son, all causing her such deep emotional wounds that her doctors actually refer to her experience as a “traumatic birth.”
“Your sweet dog would be such a good Big Puppy Sister!” warmly declares my friend, who was forced to rehome his beloved cat because of his new baby’s severe animal allergies.
“Do you think you’ll choose to create a family of your own?” enthusiastically inquires my sister-in-law, who spent four years trying to conceive, mourned three miscarriages, suffered through two unsuccessful IUI treatments, and finally achieved one viable pregnancy on her third round of IVF.
“The experience of having children is truly priceless; you just won’t understand until you have kids of your own!” confidently remarks my uncle, who had to take out a second mortgage and work three jobs to make ends meet, yet could never even afford to bring his kids on a vacation.
“You’ll never know true love like the love of your child.” cheerfully proclaims my brother, whose initially happy marriage crumbled over parenting style differences that even years of marriage counseling couldn’t fix, resulting in a tumultuous divorce and ongoing custody battles.