On Holding Patterns, Babies, and Small Talk

"Look at this cute video!" I turn my phone to my brother and husband to watch one of my friends little ones hiccup like she's just swallowed a squeak toy. "So cute, right?"

They nod in agreement. My Nonna's eye brows raise from across the table. We're all at her house for Sunday dinner. I turn the video to her and press play so she can see. Afterwards she brushes the phone aside, waving it away as if annoyed exclaiming, "If you want to look at babies so badly, why don't you have one of your own."

Good question.

I get it alot actually. My husband and I got married at 19 and 21 respectively, the first of our friends to do so, but we seem to be the very last to have children. It's an odd feeling actually, to watch as friends continue to announce their good news, entering an entirely different phase of life. Inevitably, as they share their news, they ask about me. I've gotten used to saying 'a couple of years away at least', although I've been saying that for the last seven now. 

My 20's, especially these later years, have been a time of stretching and growing. I've rediscovered who I am, I've challenged old belief systems and replaced them with better ones, and it all feels a bit like being a teenager again. I'm still learning what I want out of life, and what God wants for me.

But living in the Bible belt, where family values are used as fodder for small talk, the questions still come.  And when I'm honest, really honest with people and explain why I'm waiting, there's that inevitable, "You'll never be completely ready for kids." As if I should just go and get myself knocked up right now because after all, there's no time like the present right? Worse still are those that use scripture to try to convince me. "You know we're commanded to be fruitful." There's just no decent reply to that, but I have a few hand gestures.

You see, what people fail to understand is that planning a family, especially in church culture, is still a sacred thing between two people and God. Sacred because it's personal and everyone's journey there is different, none more right than another's. And sacred because for those of us who deal with infertility issues, there's this lump that comes with those questions as we weigh how to explain the heartache and hurt we feel each time we have to answer. And for me, it's both.

So here's what I'm saying. Let's remember that everyone has their own journey towards marriage, family, faith, and maturity. Yours isn't necessarily going to look like another's, and another's expectations shouldn't influence yours.

And please, for the love of God {and people}, let's stop using such deeply personal questions as conversation starters. There are other, honoring, and less complex topics to choose from, especially if you want a kind answer.

Honor everyone.
1 Peter 2:17 {ESV}

For a fantastic article on God, family, and how we can make it an idol, click here.



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