When everyone asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up, it was an exciting question to explore. “The sky is the limit,” my teacher used to say. Well, if that was the case, I wanted to be a singer and “sing for Jesus.” Unfortunately, Jesus didn’t give me the vocal cords so that didn’t happen.
I evolved through an entire list as I got older, and each year, there were new expectations. What our teachers didn’t tell us about was a strange phase between 23 and 35 years old when people would stop asking and instead start telling us what we should be.
The two questions I hate most: “Has he asked you yet?” and “When are you thinking about starting a family of your own?”
Although I have default responses for both of those questions, I scream inside every time someone asks. Who said I had to be a wife, and who said I had to be a mom?
It’s none of your damn business.
Those questions always seem to trigger a wave of emotions in me because I either want them to be true or can’t stand the thought of them — it depends on the day. When my husband finally proposed, he might have been more excited about the prodding proposal questions coming to an end than my acceptance.
Up to that point, I know my husband had dreaded every wedding we were invited to because our future was always the topic of dinner conversation. I always told him it was because people knew how lucky he was (wink-wink, nudge-nudge). However, we had no idea that a proposal opened a new door for people to ask the second question — before we even set a wedding venue!
Why are people so eager to know how we want to chart our life when it really has no effect on them?
Yes, we are married now and have bought a house (another question that people were dying to ask), so now we get asked at every public gathering about kids. Technically, it’s next on “the list,” but I can’t seem to escape the question. If I post an unflattering photo where a gust of wind happened to blow my shirt in an awkward way, in come the questions. The messages start flowing from people eager to find out if I am pregnant or not.
Holidays are the worst. I made one small comment about the smell of my dad’s strange chicken dinner concoction, and I heard whispers from the other room: “Is Mekayla pregnant?” I escaped to the garage to cool down before I exploded.
Here’s the thing: We can’t get pregnant.
Not yet at least.
My husband and I went through some major health issues just four months after we got married. Trust me, I want to tell you more than ever that we are trying to get pregnant. I want to tell you that on my 27th birthday (one month after we got married), we decided that we would start trying. I want to tell you that we have an ovulation calendar taped to the back of our bathroom door and that we have a little basket of pregnancy tests waiting to be used.
I want to tell you that we are pregnant so badly.
But that’s simply not the truth. Instead, I would have to tell you how harsh the chemotherapy treatments were on the man I love. I would have to tell you that I watched him suffer on the couch for three months and couldn’t do anything to ease his pain. I would have to tell you that we ate Mexican food and pizza for 30 days straight because that’s all he could taste. I would have to tell you that my husband held me while I cried after I found out all of my friends were pregnant. I would have to tell you that we may not be able to have children.
Every time you ask if we are pregnant yet, that is what goes through my mind. So to save you from the downer story, I say, “It’s in God’s hands!” because it is at this point.
So the next time you think to ask someone that very important question, just don’t. Don’t even bring it up. If you really want to know, ask someone else or wait for them to bring up the topic. You never know what they are going through.
It may not be cancer. It could be infertility, illness, loss, financial problems. But at the end of the day, it is none of your damn business — even if you do love them.
And for all of my friends who are still living out their short-lived yet exciting pre-marriage and children life, consider this your warning: Once the clock strikes midnight on your 25th birthday, the world expects you to drop your dreams, find a suitable partner, and procreate. That’s what it feels like, at least.
Don’t listen to them. Live your life to its fullest, and everything else will come when it’s supposed to. Life is short. Trust me — I know.