If you’re a woman of childbearing age, you can almost guarantee that everyone from friends and family members right down to strangers will at some point ask you about when you plan to have children. If you’re in a relationship, that goes double. Yet while you may think nothing of asking a couple when they plan to start a family, one Australian mom is making the case that everyone should think twice before doing so.
Adele Barbaro, and her husband Paul, struggled with infertility when they were trying to conceive their first child. Adele was eventually able to get pregnant through IVF and gave birth to their son, Harvey, now two. The couple are also parents to a second child, Chloe, who is four months old.
In a Facebook post that has since gone viral, Barbaro explained how she felt when she was continually asked about when she was going to start a family while struggling to conceive. She laid out the reasons why this question is actually rude and invasive.
To hide the pain she was going through with infertility, she used a number of excuses to explain why she was not yet pregnant, she explained, such as saying she was focused on her career and that they wanted to travel first.
“They would tell me that I’m not going to be young forever or that my maternal clock was ticking. And believe me, I knew it. I just didn’t need to hear it from everyone else. Trying to conceive isn’t easy unless you are a highly fertile 17 year old, that could fall pregnant just by talking about it. The odds of conception and retaining a pregnancy are actually pretty sh**, topped off with the huge amount of people that are reproductively challenged with polycystic ovaries, endometriosis etc etc. And I was one of them.”
Barbaro went on to describe the hardships associated with fertility treatments, including the emotional, physical and financial investment with no guarantee of a happy result. She detailed the isolation she felt while watching other women in her life get pregnant while she herself began to lose hope that she would ever be a mother.
There are other reasons a couple may not be having children besides infertility that are no less valid, she pointed out. Those reasons, too, can be deeply personal and not something they want to share. “And what about the couple that doesn’t want kids?” she wrote. “Or the couple that had a child but can’t afford to have another? Or those that have lost little ones?”
Barbaro ended her post with some advice:
“So, next time you go to say that ‘throw away’ comment to the newlyweds or the couple that have been together for ten years, be sensitive. Don’t ask them when they are having kids. You never know what’s going on.”
Her post touched a nerve, and has now been shared over 22,000 times—not surprisingly, because it’s something many of us have heard ourselves.