Did you see the new Star Wars?
How ’bout them Braves?
Cold outside. I hear it might snow this weekend.
Three of those four statements are universally accepted as small-talk banter. However, the fourth question when are you going to have kids OR the siblings of the interogation: when are you going to have another child and why didn’t you ever have children should hereby be eliminated from the dinner table this Christmas season.
The reason questions related to procreation can be uncomfortable is because a large percentage of couples face the reality of infertility or pregnancy loss. You might not realize that the sweet couple sitting across from you at the table this season desires nothing more than children, but their heart’s desire and the timing of God fail to intersect at the same point. You might not realize they have children…but these little ones reside in heaven. You might not also realize that the sweet lady across from you is unable to have children. There is so much you might not realize…
When are you going to have kids stings to the core because the couple on the other end wants to cry out we have children in heaven or we would LOVE to have children but it is not easy for us. However, unleashing these real, raw emotions while passing the mashed potatoes to Uncle Charlie can be challenging, right?
So this Christmas season let’s talk about a multitude of topics, but let’s leave this question off the table. I am going to go all Emily Post on you and say it is not appropriate dinner-time banter.
I know you are also saying, I want to show love and support to the sweet families who I KNOW have faced the sting of loss or infertility, but what can I say?
It’s hard, isn’t it? Addressing grief is not easy…for any of us. And I know you do want to be more helpful than harmful with your words.
Today I questioned some of the members of our Loved Baby Tribe and we agreed on a few statements. Here are some things to consider:
1). Avoid offering “answers.” Telling a mama to relax or stop stressing out isn’t helpful. It also isn’t truthful. Pregnancy loss is most often a chromosomal abnormality and in most every single case is not preventable by the mother. Don’t accidentally cause her to bear the false burden of guilt. Instead be empathetic and just offer your listening ear. When the conversation pauses avoid the tendency to babble with answers or advice.
2). Avoid saying, “it will be your turn soon.” Are you a genie? Unless you’ve got a magic lantern please avoid offering this hope. For many women, they will never get a “turn.” I know you mean well, but we must instead encourage people by meeting them in the place they are anchored. Instead listen, show love, and maybe offer to go fetch a piece of chocolate pie for the two of you to devour. Realize she is grieving a precious child and she needs time to mourn.
3). Avoid “ignoring” the truth. Did you sweet niece give birth to a child born sleeping this past year? Why don’t you offer some extra love by gifting her a remembrance gift this season. Here are some ideas for support.
4). Be watchful. I love this advice from my Loved Baby Tribe sister Pam. She says, I think we live in a time when people get criticized for speaking or not speaking, and a lot of well-meaning folks either freeze or begin babbling. Learn how to be a good listener and noticer. Is someone hanging back on the fringes of the group? Pam has such wise words for us all to follow. Let’s watch. Do you see someone who looks like they are struggling this holiday season at a gathering you are attending? Go get an extra cup of coffee and take it to them. Ask them, “How has your year been?” They might give something positive or negative. Engage in conversation. Giving your time is a small way to show love.
5). Give grace. Give grace to yourself and others. Navigating grief, of any type, is a boat we often don’t know how to steer. Your best answer is to show love, patience, and compassion in any and all situations.
Much love to you all as you embark upon this Christmas season. May your table be filled with laughter and rejoicing as we focus on the TRUE reason of Christmas, and may the small-talk question of “when are you going to have kids” be kicked to the curb.
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