The Question That Hurts

Cynthia Dermody
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infertility Some moms can't have more biological children no matter how much they'd like to. Emergency hysterectomies, infertility problems, premature menopause, or other medical issues have cut their family plans short.

Still, strangers and acquaintances inevitably ask, "So, are you going to have more kids?" Some are even presumptuous and judgemental. Without knowing any of the background, one woman at a baby shower told a childless guest with infertility issues, "You should have a baby. They are a blessing."

"When people ask me, my stomach and heart drop and my mouth gets dry," says one CafeMom in Marriage and Relationships who had a hysterectomy at 19. "I am still never prepared for the question. It literally feels like a shocking slap to the face. I usually say, 'I don't know,' because it would be awkward to say, 'I can't'. But I'm sick of feeling ashamed of it and I want to move on."

How other moms deal with this sad and difficult question:

-- If I am feeling snarky, I like to smile and say, "Twelve." You really have to be up for the reaction, though. "I've got all I can handle" works well.

-- I tell them, "When I have the money to adopt."

-- "I can't." I have noticed when I tell this to folks straight out, the questions have stopped as the word has gotten around. Now everyone leaves me alone. But you should only share what you want to share when you are ready.

How do you respond when someone asks you a question that truly upsets you? Do you answer honestly, or do you try to deflect them and change the subject?

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