We made the rounds of holiday parties in December, and I enjoyed myself 97% of the time. Loved catching up with friends and their significant others, meeting new people, and indulging in yummy things like mulled-spice wine and those little cocktail hotdogs wrapped in pastry and dipped in hot mustard.
Ah, but that remaining 3%. At one lively get-together, I noticed a woman holding a sleeping newborn. I asked how old the baby was and then congratulated her on the new addition to her family. She responded by launching into the gory details of her C-section. I don’t even know this person’s name, but I can tell you a few things about her anatomy and how it was ripped apart during the birth of her child. The man next to me chimed in with his experience of witnessing his wife’s C-section. Feeling at a complete loss, I mentioned my sister had to have a C-section when her 10-pound baby was two weeks late. And then I realized what a complete ass I was for trying to participate in this sorry excuse for chitchat.
I turned away and joined a group of men who were discussing sports…or something. I really don’t know what they were talking about, and it didn’t matter, because all I wanted to do was shake the C-section images out of my brain.
Being childfree can be especially challenging during the holidays, especially if you’re still struggling to accept your status. We have all endured painful questions, awful suggestions, and shockingly inappropriate conversations. I invite you to share a few, and maybe we can start to find the absurd humor in all of this.
Kathleen Guthrie is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She is trying to embrace being childfree.