Dear well-wishers who love to ask married women like me the question, “Any good news?” – wink, teasing smile and all – implying, “Are you pregnant yet?”,
I do, in fact, have some very good news for you! Guess what??? Today I am going give you some free tips on how to be the most popular, most loved person in your women’s circles, as well as how you can positively impact another woman’s life!
It’s actually pretty simple! Here we go:
- Be sensitive. Stop asking the question, “Any good news?”
Why? I’m sure you only mean the best for your friend/relative and would love to celebrate with her. But just keep in mind that the person just might have gone through the pain of miscarriage, have been told she can never conceive, have lost her child at birth, or something equally devastating.
I thank God immensely that I have not had (and believe I will not have) any such issues myself, but I can imagine and have seen first hand how painful it is for others who have. Not every woman has the ability to produce babies the instant they are married (ok, I’m exaggerating, but you know what I mean). Some women are incredibly blessed in their fertility and that’s a wonderful gift, but, among all the women I have ever known, at least 50% of them (if not more) have either suffered the painful loss of a child, or have experienced difficulty in childbearing one way or another.
When it comes to conception, couples today have a hard time as it is. But have you ever considered the possibility that, with your well-meaning questioning, YOU might very well be the cause of unnecessary stress causing someone’s infertility issues?
So before you ask someone this question again, if you really mean well for her, please be sensitive to her situation. Take a deep breath… and STOP.
- Mind your own business.
Yes, I know that sounds rude. But so is your incessant questioning. While some women have difficulties conceiving, others prefer to practice “family planning”, some decide to focus on their careers first, and still others choose not to have children at all. In my personal case, my husband and I decided to simply enjoy being married the first few years, build our relationship, create memories, and establish ourselves before the kids came along.
Either way, as mean as it might seem, it’s none of your business. To have children, or not, and when is a choice meant for each couple to decide, and no one else must feel they have a right to interfere in that decision. Unless, of course, the couple concerned has already given you the privilege of speaking into their lives and advising them either as a parent, spiritual/marriage/health advisor, or an otherwise trustworthy relationship – in all of which cases, the couple will themselves initiate the topic, rather than you.
Otherwise, how would you like it if we asked you, “So, when did you last get it on with your husband?”, or, “Have you tied your tubes yet?”? None of our business, right? Also, rude? Remember, that’s exactly how we feel when you ask us the “good news” question. It’s personal, and we’d like to keep it that way.
- Practice courtesy.
Somehow this basic element of relationships seems to have been altogether left out in our Indian culture, particularly when it comes to personal issues. People think that it’s perfectly normal to ask about another person’s age, tell them how much weight they have gained (some even think they are paying you a compliment when they say so!), and ask when you are planning to have a baby. If you are such a person, all this may be very new for you, especially if you are from an older generation. But please know that all these things are considered highly impolite and offensive in today’s generation.
If there’s something you would like to ask without offending a person, a simple, “Would you mind if I asked you about…”, or, “May I ask you about…” goes a long way in politeness and respecting the other person’s boundaries before you pry into their personal issues headlong. And most importantly, if the person responds with a “No”, learn to accept it, and don’t pursue the topic further. But if you do it right and keep the information shared to yourself, for all you know, you may very well have won the respect of someone who might otherwise have despised you, and in time, both of you may even get to share a mutual, genuinely caring relationship!
- Pay a compliment instead.
And by this I don’t mean flatter or lie. Rather, look for a really good reason to compliment the other woman instead of offending her. By the way, it NEVER hurt anyone to pay a compliment. Her shoes, the colour of her dress, her hairdo, her cooking, her character, or her stunning beauty… whatever it is, find SOMEthing that you genuinely admire about her and let her know. Trust me, not only will this build a good vibe, but it will also boost her self-image. Who knows, that compliment might be the one thing that brightens the day of a woman who has almost given up hope of ever being a mother, and YOU could be the reason she has found reason to hope again!
And that, in 4 simple points, is how I believe you can not only stay BFFs with the women in your life, but also how you can make a difference in their lives!
I have written this from my own perspective and experiences, drawing on the experiences of others like myself, and I sincerely hope this creates a better understanding of what women like me go through. And while I am aware that many may be offended by what I have to say, I hope these very people realize how much they themselves have offended and hurt others. But beyond that, I hope they can see there is a better way and follow it. Nevertheless, please know that I have taken the effort NOT to write this just out of anger, hurt, and resentment, but have tried to be positive. I can only hope I have been successful!
To all the women like myself out there who have been bombarded with this infamous question, I am sending special hugs your way. I hope you know you are loved. The good news is, you are not alone! So don’t hesitate to reach out for support and encouragement to one of us. Together, we can find strength and hope no matter what the struggle.
And if this has struck a chord, by all means, please share.