Six Ways to Be Considerate of Childless Couples
I’ve been writing a lot about childlessness and infertility lately because that’s been on my mind and my heart. I don’t know if it’ll help anyone but it’s out there.
We were recently at a gathering where a married couple announced they were expecting their first child. For most of the night, the conversation revolved around the couple and their impending child. We were the only couple without children that night and no one stopped to consider whether we wanted kids or whether the conversation could be hurtful to us.
I don’t blame others for not knowing how we felt that night, but is ignorance really bliss for all involved? Stop to consider what a couple may be going through before you ask them a question about having kids. Here’s how to be sensitive to a couple who do not have children.
1. Make general conversation. Pick a topic in which everyone can provide input. Pregnancy for couples without children is not one of those topics.
2. Invite the childless couple into the conversation even if it is about children. Don’t shut them out because of awkwardness. Ask them if they are planning on having kids. It is a dreaded question for some couples but it opens the door to feeling included.
3. Follow up on the answer. Is the couple happy being child free? Maybe they don’t want to spend the rest of the night talking about kids they’ll never have. Is the couple unhappy being child free? Be sensitive to this. This couple definitely does not want to dwell on a topic that is painful for them.
4. Be considerate. If you recognize conversation about your kids or children in general went on too long, seek out the couples’ feelings on the matter. Some couples will be fine but other couples may feel slighted. Most couples will react graciously after the fact as they recognize not everyone knows what they are dealing with.
5. Don’t forget. If, as a married couple, you once had trouble having kids, don’t forget that painful period in life. Let it serve a purpose. And if you discover that a married couple is having trouble conceiving, don’t forget this when you are around them. You won’t be ignorant anymore and would be held responsible for what you know.
6. Pray for the childless couple. Whether happy or unhappy without kids, this couple would love to be prayed for. Everyone has ongoing needs and they are not less in need of prayer because they do not have children.
Dealing with infertility is not easy for any couple. However, awareness is the key to not letting couples feel shut out. And if someone is single and past childbearing age, having lengthy conversations about pregnancy and babies is just cruel. Remember to be considerate and aware of those around you.