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It's Personal ...

woman fertility choice.jpg

a blog by S.I.F., December 15, 2010

There are so many decisions in life that are considered personal — off limits to questions and discussion. Things like how much you spend on your first home or what medical treatments you choose to pursue when sick.

These are decisions that are, for the most part, left to us to make on our own. As adults. Without too much input from anyone else.

You would think that how you choose to build your family would fall into this same category. That the ways in which you choose to bring children into your life would be seen as equally personal in the eyes of others. And that as such, they would accept the information you are willing to provide and allow you to keep whatever remaining details you choose to yourself.

Family building is one of those subjects that you would think people would understand is off limits for input. But somehow (some way), family building doesn’t seem to fall into that category at all. In fact, everyone has an opinion.

From the moment young couples tie the knot, the questions begin. “When will you start trying?” becomes a question newlyweds grow to loathe.

And from that moment on, every skipped glass of wine is questioned.

  • Could you be pregnant?
  • Would you be pregnant?
  • Are you pregnant?

Everyone has something to say about the inner workings of your mid-section. And it only gets worse if the quest to conceive turns out to be anything but standard. If there is a struggle, and others know, the questions and comments triple.

  • “Have you thought about IVF?”
  • “I’m sure if you just relax, it will happen.”
  • “Why not just adopt?

No matter which path you choose to take, those same questions and comments only seem to multiply.

  • If you do pursue ART, how much does it cost?
  • If you adopt internationally, why not domestically?
  • If you pursue a closed adoption, why not open?

Suddenly, everyone has an opinion. On your life. Your choices. Your family.

And most of us are too caught off guard to know how to react. We are so consumed by our own thoughts and feelings about this process that we fail to register how many lines are being crossed by everyone else who has an opinion on something that should be deemed personal.

Why are we so afraid to say it though? To tell people to back off? To explain that they are treading on private areas? To simply say “It’s personal.”

With every question, comment, and piece of unsolicited advice, why aren’t we more willing to say what it is we’re thinking?

It’s personal.

If we had wanted input from others, we would have asked for it. Sought it out. Requested the opinions.

But in most cases, that never happens. Because in most cases, we already have enough on our plates with the thoughts rolling around in our own heads.

So the next time someone asks or pries or comments on this wholly sacred area of your life, why don’t you turn the tables?

Ask them how much they make at their job. Inquire as to whether or not they’ll be up for a promotion soon. Push regarding possible openings in the area.

Or perhaps it may be simpler instead to say what you’re really thinking.

“It’s personal.”

Because it is.

Comments (4)

Thank you so much, SIF, for saying this. I totally agree it is personal but people seem so ready with their answers of what they think is best for your life. It's frustrating, but par for the course. So thank you, I needed this!

I think this is actually a turning of the tides of sorts with our society these days. There are far fewer things that are considered "personal" these days, not just family planning. With the media constantly in our faces proving that there is nothing too personal about a celebrity's life and then skewing the lines of celebrity and "real person" with all the quasi-celeb reality show people, the lines of personal and old-school manners are fading. It seems that, especially the younger generations, are starting to be more open with their personal lives and demand it of others. I think it goes hand in hand with the downfall of class and manners. I know that there are things that were considered "not polite conversation" when I was a kid that are talked about with a total blase attitude these days.

I think you're right that it's partially a reflection of society now as well. People are just, in general, far too entrenched in the lives of others. But I do believe that the only way to take that back and change it is with a willingness to proclaim things as personal! :)

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