Last Saturday I went to get my eyebrows waxed. The woman was very talkative and wanted to keep up a running conversation with me. I know she was just being friendly, but I wasn't interested. I have always been an introvert, and not really good at or interested in random conversations with strangers, but it is especially annoying now. I feel like I have to keep up appearances all day long, and I just want to get my eyebrows waxed, or get through the checkout line at the grocery store, or get my coffee at Starbucks in peace.
As I was laying on the table with hot wax being smeared on my face, the woman asked the dreaded question, do you have any children? Gasp. I was feeling "on the edge" as it was, and I knew I just couldn't go there. I did the thing I never wanted to do and said "no", all the while screaming on the inside…yes I do, she is dead. She then rambles on, "oh, you must have enough with your students at school" (because of course she has already asked about my job) and proceeds to tell me about all of her children. At this point the initial emotion was subsiding, and I wanted to say: shut the hell up, you want to know so much about me, here you go…
I know she was being friendly and innocent, but this is a prime example of a situation that could have been avoided. Yes, I am overly sensitive, but I also believe that in our society people do not have enough tact or common sense. Sure, most babies are born living, but 26,000 a year are not. Thousands of people suffer from infertility, miscarriages, or face the death of their child. Asking someone, especially a stranger, if they have kids is a really personal and insensitive question.
So please, if you are someone who uses that question as small talk with a stranger, stop. The person you are asking might be facing the most painful struggle of her life, and really, its none of your business.