Cheers, dear readers,
“So, when are you going to have a baby?”
This is a question that many women across the globe dread. Why? Because it can feel invasive, pushy, and also as one of my friends so aptly put it, a woman’s uterus and what she has planned for it is none of anyone else’s business.
I recently read an article here that goes into this type of invasive questioning and shares comments and feedback from a woman whose uterus has so often been in the spotlight and is again now as she suffers through another divorce. It seems one of the first questions on anyone’s lips is, “well, when and how is Jennifer Aniston going to have a child if she is getting divorced again?”
I have to wonder why this is anyone’s business? Do we not ALL have a right to our private lives and thoughts? And also why do these questions not get lobbed at men nearly as often? We have no idea what goes on in the privacy of someone else’s home, and within a person’s personal life, nor should it be of our concern.
From the article:
“I have christened such questions ‘reproductive harassment’ and I think we should worry about them just as we worry about verbal sexual harassment. Although not sexual in nature, they are deeply personal and make women feel powerless to keep their private lives private.
Aniston said last week: ‘There is a pressure on women to be mothers and if they are not, they’re deemed damaged goods.’ Quite rightly, she points out that ‘no one knows what’s going on behind closed doors . . . they don’t know what I’ve been through medically or emotionally’.”
Many women choose of their own accord to not have children just like many men do. Alternately, many of our readers here at Slow Swimmers & Fried Eggs are enduring the dis-ease of infertility, which as I’ve stated has been proven can be as devastating a diagnosis and cause as much stress as a cancer diagnosis. Do we really need to know or have the right to ask such questions? Another woman in the article stated that she “felt her reproductive capability and decisions were being turned into public property.”
I am truly upset that women seem required to deal with and negotiate such questions.
A super powerful statement from the article:
“We must come to see that this is not an acceptable topic for conversation unless a woman chooses to bring it up herself.”
“In truth, it’s hurtful and insulting to keep asking a woman when she is going to procreate. Why? Because the subtext is that you are not a whole woman without children.
If people would only think before speaking, they might understand there may be many reasons why a woman hasn’t had a child. Perhaps she is hiding years of misery and medical problems. Perhaps she simply doesn’t want one — and she shouldn’t have to justify that choice.
My sincere hope is that people wake up to the hurt caused by reproductive harassment and, next time they encounter a woman in the ‘motherhood window’, bite their tongue.
Satisfying their idle curiosity is less important than a woman’s privacy and dignity.”
This is a very important and highly charged topic for many of us, especially those who have compromised reproductive systems and are struggling to cope. What a wonderful world it would be if we could all learn to be more sensitive to each other, let private lives be private, and respect each other’s boundaries. I believe we can get there, yet in the meantime, hold firm to your boundaries, your privacy, and stay strong on your journey, readers! We are rooting for you here no matter where you are on your path! You are not alone.
Please join Julia next week to hear more about her own personal journey down the fertility path. I look forward to speaking with you soon. I wish you the best on your respective journey.
This post is also available in: Arabic