My Misery, Your Small Talk

I was getting a form signed today and the clerk at the desk noticed my profession and asked, “Ah, a teacher, do you have any kids of your own?”.

I blinked back my tears, took a deep breath and owned it.

“Actually, we’ve just begun the adoption process”.

The clerk (male), went on to say how HARD it must be for those couples who can’t have children, how much he loves his own two children and couldn’t imagine life without them and how people who choose not have children are so selfish.

I didn’t even know how to respond.  Here were some of the hugest, heaviest issues in my life (plus a whole bonus issue of his opinions on people who are childless by choice) all presented as informal banter as my paperwork was processed.  I didn’t know how to respond!

I decided to save my long speeches for another day and simply responded.

“It’s been difficult.  We’re really looking forward to moving ahead with the adoption”.

I had to remind myself that this gentleman office clerk had the best of intentions. Adoption and family are exciting topics, and it’s a perfectly normal question to ask a woman in her 30s if they have kids. (I just wish it didn’t hurt so much!)

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