In each one of my exam rooms is a canvas 16 x 20 photo of Dusty, Wyatt and Myself. They are two of my favorite pictures of us and do the job of providing a conversation starter for times when I am doing an in office procedure and need to do small talk as well as for those appointments where I am providing nail care for the older population.
My head will be bent over someone’s feet and they will look to their right, spy the picture and inevitably ask “is that your family?”
I look up and can feel the grin splitting my face as I too look at it and say ” Yep! Those are my boys!”
I put the picture there for that exact purpose and I love talking about my family. I could talk about Wyatt for hours when invited to do so, and often times even when not, and I like the ability to connect with my patients on this level.
Unfortunately, this often times goes beyond this though. Several times a day the person will then ask “Is he your only one?”
I’ve perfected my answer over the last 3 years: “Yep! I love my little family. It is perfect”
Thankfully, most times that ends the line of questioning and we move on to other subjects or I get back to talking about their foot condition. A handful of times a day though, the person persists “you don’t want any more?”
What I want to do is look them straight in the eye and tell them “It isn’t about wanting. What I want doesn’t seem to matter in this regard. After 2 years of unprotected and very planned sex often times with pills, injections and invasive tests involved there was never a pregnancy and never an answer as to why since all tests came back perfectly normal and healthy. After we adopted there has been 4 more years of unprotected sex without a resultant pregnancy, so no wanting has nothing to do with any of it”
Instead I have learned to just repeat my above answer “I love my little family. It is perfect the way it is”.
Some persist though. “Don’t you want a daughter?”
My mind reels. Why pester a complete stranger with such personal questions? What would they say if I said “no…I would hate to have a daughter!” I’d love to tell them that getting pregnant doesn’t ensure a daughter and I don’t have another $47,000 to spend on adopting one. We still haven’t paid off half that from Wyatt.
I repeat my answer “I love my family just the way it is”
“You really should have a sibling for him. He would be happier”
Are you kidding me?! Now the person is telling me I am a bad mother for not having another child. If you don’t think this happens, guess again. I go through this multiple times a day. My answer to this one has always shut down any and all additional questions: “A lot of siblings don’t get along. He wouldn’t be better off if he hated his sibling”
I could take down the pictures. I could tell them I adopted Wyatt. But the thing is that it is none of their business. This is an extremely personal question and one I would never ask any person unless I was incredibly close to them to the point of sharing such information. I don’t like explaining that Wyatt is adopted 20 times a day and don’t feel like I should have to. People tend not to think about problems they never had to face. To many people getting pregnant just happens, whether it is wanted or not, and so they never dream that for someone else it wasn’t so and that their line of inquisition could be hurtful.
I won’t take the pictures down. I love them. I love talking about my boys and I love giving my patients an easy way to connect with me and come up with small talk which can be awkward. I don’t mind being asked if he is my only child and I don’t mind the follow up about having more, but once it gets beyond that it is crossing a line.