Take, as a case in point, the couple who is trying to conceive. One of my dearest friends, Katie, has started her blog, and one of her first posts, Where is Baby #2?, hits the nail on the head.
It's so painful to want a baby and not have one. Period. I don't care if you have five children or none, an ache is present in the heart of a couple who hasn't conceived when they wished. With that ache, though, can come valuable growth and lessons from the Lord, which Katie expounds upon.
I was thinking, though, after she and I talked on the phone last evening, that people don't think much about asking these questions that cause pain; they mean to be conversational:
"So, when are you guys going to have kids?"
As though we can snap our fingers and--*POOF!*--a child is born! But for so many people who conceive easily, or seemingly at will, it's not an inane question. If people perceive it's been too long and a baby SHOULD BE on the WAY BY NOW, woe to the couple who is bombarded with well-intentioned but increasingly nosy questions! And if you already have a child, everyone assumes you are putting off having another one on purpose.
"When are you giving Johnny a brother or sister?"
"I heard that only children ________________________!" (can't share, are selfish, freak out when their mothers are two feet away, grow up to kill people...)
And Kate's favorite,
"Where is Baby Number Two?"
What is the proper answer to that query? (Multiple choice test!)
A. "Um, I don't know, maybe I left him at Wal-Mart."
B. "Did she roll under the sofa again?"
C. NO WAY! I had a KID? COOL! Tell me all about it!
D. "NONE OF YOUR BIZ-WACK! LEMME TELL YOU, YOU'LL BE THE FIRST TO KNOW. DON'T CALL ME, I'LL CALL YOU. OKAY? OKAY???"
I kind of like "C." "D" is tempting, but too manic.
My point, before I got lost in my own snarkiness and sarcasm, was that the subject isn't a forbidden one, but like all personal issues, it should be couched in genuine love for the human being you're addressing, and consideration for circumstances you may not have considered.
Don't assume that everyone can conceive when they feel like it. "When are you having another one?" should be banished, verboten verbage. I wouldn't even bring it up unless the person was a good friend--and if she was, I might ask gently in an intimate moment of sharing, "Do you and (husband) want any more children?" Give her the opportunity to tell you what she's feeling without being made to feel like there's a deadline she hasn't met or a general expectation she hasn't fulfilled.
And give Kate's post a look. It's filled with wisdom and confidence in the Lord that I find really refreshing.