Sunday, January 30, 2011

Welcome to My Soapbox

"We decided it was time to start a family..."

I've seen this phrase crop up several times recently and it always raises my hackles. I'm quite sure it is said unconsciously and not meant the way it sounds. The person writing it is inevitably referring to the decision that they were ready to procreate or adopt, but by extension, this would mean that they are not yet a family (so logically neither are the rest of us who are living child-free, either by choice or circumstance).

I believe in the power of words. While they can only have whatever power we give them, it takes real effort to dis-empower a word. I try to choose my words carefully to express my true meaning. Professor and I are already a family. We will continue to be a family whether or not we ever produce offspring. Your spouse is the ONLY family you ever get to choose. Even those of you who are in the process of procreating or adopting without a life partner are still part of a family.

Don't denigrate what you already have in the face of what you want.

(Stepping down from my soapbox now)


  1. Such an excellent point! Love it!

  2. You're so very right. I think this is just one of those phrases that is so built into our social consciousness (or perhaps unconsciousness) that people never think of the inverse; that they are suggesting that people without kids don't have a family. It really is astounding when you think of all the many subtle ways our society is relentlessly pro-procreation.

  3. I have never thought of that before, that your spouse is the only family you get to choose! I join you on your soapboax about society's view of a "family" :)

  4. I didn't realize I felt this way (that LG and I are a family all on our own) until I went through loss and IF and sadness. Now I know it for sure, and that makes me very happy.

  5. Yes, the definition of "family" has long been a thorn in my side. I have been openly discriminated against because I am a family of one. It really pisses me off!

  6. I actually just posted about this @InfertilesKnow.

    To the assumed question: "So when are you going to start a family?"

    I started off with the snarky, "We ARE a family. You mean 'when are we going to have to have children??'"
    But that didn't answer the question. And when you add the hashtag #stupidanswerstostupidquestions, it's too long for a tweet.

    so I ended up with:
    "We'll 'have a family' when the matched boy/girl set we ordered from Sears come in." #stupidanswerstostupidquestions

    I also find the "starting a family" thing to be triggery. I had a family before I got married. I still have a family now that I'm married, and when I have children, hopefully soon, I'll have a bigger family.

    And I happen to like my family very much, bless their hearts.

  7. I agree, totally. I'm with you, in that the day I married my husband, we became our family. We added to it when we got cats, then dogs. Family is what you make of it. If you're lucky enough to have an offspring, then good for you. If not, it doesn't mean that you don't have a "family." Well said.

  8. You are so so so right. Families take on so many different shapes and colors and sizes that it's impossible to really define the word family. I have people that I consider family that aren't even related to me - not by blood and not by papers - and they are just as precious.

  9. I so agree with this! I remember feeling this amazing feeling after we got married, that we were now a family. Forever. It was so exciting to me. And, I feel it now more than ever.

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