Yesterday, Her.meneutics (the Christianity Today women's blog) ran a post I wrote about the hype surrounding whether or not Kate Middleton will have a baby this year. It seems to me that our cultural obsession with a little royal is an exaggerated snapshot of our comfort with asking people we hardly know when they will have kids. Sometimes our lack of knowledge about their situation, coupled with questions about their plans, can bring more pain to their situation. Obviously, this doesn't pertain to everyone, nor is it the same thing as asking good friends about their plans for children. It's more of a general observation and some thoughts on how to think through the questions we ask people we don't know very well.
In the post, I say:
You never really know where people are. I’ve seen people ask a woman when she was going to add another child to her bunch, only to find out later that she had miscarried a week earlier. She and her husband were trying; it just wasn’t public information. We tend to be really comfortable with asking couples when they might want to have children, but we tend be unaware of the fact that these questions might bring pain rather than encouragement. Unless we are invested in the lives of young couples in our churches, we don’t know about their circumstances any more than we know about Middleton’s.
Of course, the answer is not an end to all pregnancy questions. Children are a gift from the Lord and should be welcomed and celebrated. One of the things we often fail to embrace when we ask such questions is that conception is not a man-made invention. Even the most fertile couple in the world can “plan” their family only to be met with a little “surprise” earlier than they had scheduled. God is the author of life, an oft-forgotten concept in our zeal for new children. But as Christians, our questions should always be laced with sensitivity and, more often than is true, restraint. Thinking through your questions before you ask them can bring a wealth of grace and encouragement to a couple who might be facing infertility or the loss of a child.
Read the rest here.