At a recent conference someone asked me whether the “child problem” was on my side of things or if Beloved’s little swimmers were not up to Olympic caliber. She wasn’t a close friend of mine, more like someone I knew through Beloved who had once worked with her.
It seems that for some people no topic is off limits no matter the venue. I was a bit taken aback by this comment, but informed her that I wasn’t aware that there was a child problem that could be attributed to my side of things or Beloved’s.. What I did know was that there were countless children in horrible situations who required adult help. Not swimmers, or sides. Just help.
I am sure there are children’s swim teams who require help or assistance. I’m just not sure Beloved would get behind that kind of help. It isn’t that he can’t swim, but rather he isn’t a very sports orientated type of person. So supporting a children’s swim team? Not likely.
Apparently personal lives become public lives once you become a couple it seems. The typical question shortly after a couple becomes a couple is “when are the children coming” or “are you trying” and things of that nature. As time goes by, if no offspring have been sprung, the question becomes “have you seen someone about your problem”.
It’s as if by some unwritten law, childless couples are supposed to have their lives examined by others. Sometimes by people who aren’t all that close to the couple. But somehow, society says this is completely acceptable. Fertility issues? No worries, we can discuss that out in any venue we desire. So what if you and I don’t really know each other and you don’t want to share your story? I know you are in a committed relationship and therefore I can ask these types of questions.
I’m sure the lady, we shall call her Jane, meant well by asking the question. I’m sure Jane at least meant no offense and thought it would be a way to discuss her life with her family. But you know what? It wasn’t okay. Not at all.
It hit me harder this time than most times because Beloved and I recently found that a child we wanted to adopt was suddenly no longer up for adoption. The system had changed a few things and the child was going to be with him biological mother afterwards.
The problem was we had already started to think in terms of what would be the child’s room. Things we would like to do with the little boy. How we would introduce him to our world and learn his likes and dislikes. In other words we had gotten our hopes up and allowed ourselves to dream a very specific dream. One around this very specific child.
And just like early morning fog burning off under the rising sun, that dream vanished. And with it, some of our hope. But not all of it because you see, the child has a biological mother and if he can with her, then that’s a good thing. There is hope in a system that is there to support the child and his mother. Hope that things are in place to ensure neither of them has to go through the anguish of being split apart again.
So when Jane asked me what is really none of her business, in a very public place, I was not only a little hurt by it, but shocked that she would think it’s fair game to go prying into my life like that. When Jane tried to switch tactics by telling me there is a lot of positives to be childless, I wondered what her intentions had been.
A polite lady would probably smile and move away from Jane. But I’m not always polite, not when you start to invade my private life without me inviting you in. And I’m not a lady, despite my mother’s best efforts to make me one. So I had no intention of moving away from Jane. Instead I told her that it must be very hard to need to be “in the know” about things that don’t concern her. I felt bad for her that she thought her comments were acceptable and supportive when there were rude and unwelcome. Most of all I felt bad that she didn’t’ know how to carry on an engaging and relevant conversation in a public place.
Yes friends, I did truly feel sorry for Jane. Sorry that she wasn’t made aware of how rude, inconsiderate or hurtful her comments may be. Sorry that she wasn’t taught it wasn’t taught how to behave in public with a sense of decorum. But again I have hope. Hope that Jane will have learned from this and may be next time not try to get into the bedroom details of someone else’s life uninvited.