I really wish to use The Broad Place to share important messages. Erin Lovell Verinder who was recently interviewed at our Gathering is a brilliant nutritionist, herbalist, and naturopath and a dear friend of ours. And when I was in Byron Bay, Erin and I discussed the topic below at length. It hits a strong cord with me as I was told I could never have children by specialists and doctors and I never wanted to have kids when I was told this, at the young age of 25, so it didn’t seem at the time a big deal. I then fell pregnant by sheer miracle, not even trying. I have never had to have the conversations Erin is currently having, but I have too many friends who are silently anguished and agonising over conversations about children just like these. I think as we move into a tricky part of the year with Christmas, and family, this is a good time to raise this.
We have so many of our wonderful friends and students consciously choosing to NOT have children. We have so many struggling to have children. It’s an emotional hell for all involved a lot of the time, and is made even worse when people casually ask, ‘wow, how come you haven’t had kids yet’ or worse, ‘my God, you MUST have kids, you would be a great parent, you should have them!!’.
Arran has raised Marley since she was four years old. He’s the greatest father I have ever known. And I have been upset so many times but not as furious as Arran, when he has been asked ‘when will you have a kid of your own?’. Sometimes this has even been asked in front of Marley and we have had to work through a very emotional time with her, due to someones innocent but also ignorant question. She sees Arran as her Dad, just like her other Dad. One time Arran stood like a lion hairs bristling and said, “I have a daughter’ and the person said, ‘yeah but mate surely you’d want one that’s really yours!’ I mean honestly, WTF.
What needs to be raised here is how to consciously have these conversations and really knowing when it’s utterly inappropriate to even raise it. It’s not okay over a beer at a BBQ, or intently over the family table, or at a casual cocktail party to start making judgments and assumptions about people’s decisions to have or not have kids, of their blood or otherwise.
I would never say, “Damn, how come you had a kid?” or, “You would be such a better non-parent person! You should consider it!!”
I wanted to share Erin’s words, as they are powerful and I stand next to her 100% on this. I dwell on all the things I say a lot. I wish more people would say very gently to me, privately, that sometimes what spilled from my mouth is not okay. Most of the time I had simply not seen my comment in that light and am grateful for the new take. And so I share this so that you can bring into the light some of the things you might be putting out there with a nice intention but are getting a probably horrible and secreted, different result.
In Erin’s words…
I keep it neutral in so many ways here in this space. As a practitioner I walk that fine line of not wanting to share too much, yet allow you all to know me, to really know who I am so when you work with me, or learn from me, it’s sincerely me. BUT I feel so completely opposite of neutral about this issue I felt called to write this as a fire burns in my belly from many conversations, although well intentioned have left me weary & sore. So here goes, a little big PSA.
Please don’t assume it’s ever ok to ask a person when they are having babies, or tell them they should. We completely underestimate the tenderness, charged emotion & challenges many are facing to create a baby. We underestimate the lengths people may have already or be going through to create a baby. We underestimate the pain simple well-intentioned questions may bring to others, as they stammer to answer the question to ultimately make the questioner feel better, when inside they feel a range of entangled emotions but suppress to comfort others and answer to appease. Creation mode is a sacred space. We can not assume it’s ever a topic to make assumptions on. Many cannot just magically make a baby, many have health stories throwing curveball challenges, many need interventions- clinic & modern medicine to assist, many may be same-sex partnered & needing a donor, many may not actually desire biological children or children at all. As women, we can show up for our sista’s and hold that space. By not assuming anything. By knowing her womb is a wonderland of her own, by honoring that every woman is creating in some way, and babies are not the only thing that can come from a woman in tune with her womb.
But to honor the fragility, heartache, and softness we can take when we open conversation with anyone about parenting/bringing babies into the world.
I have witnessed this so much personally, as a woman in a long-term loving epic committed marriage with a man and whilst I am not willing to dive into my/our story here (maybe later, maybe not..) it’s greatly impacted me. The amount of really woke people saying insanely inappropriate comments wondering why I, a nurturing woman in a solid partnership is babyless. Let’s show consciousness, a whole lot of tenderness, and inclusivity. For any woman who talks to other women (which is all of us). Please don’t make assumptions.
Approach this with loving caution, trust me it’s a raw minefield for many. Approach this subject as you would want your most tender parts to be approached, softly softly, respectively & as judgment free as humanly possible, and most importantly with love.
Thank you for reading,