A recent article in the Atlantic gave a wonderful introduction about advice for grandparents who want to ask their children about their family planning activities. The summary was don’t ask.
It’s worth stopping here to read this if you are a hopeful future grandparent or are currently facing fertility challenges and thinking about your parents. Here is it again.
One premise of the article was that the would-be grandparents are wannabe grandparents and that the asking is therefore self serving. When am I getting grandchildren? In that circumstance, the asking amounts to pressure and of course is completely unwanted. However, maybe this is coming from a place of wanting to care and support your children too. Maybe the grandparents-to-be have fertility losses and challenges in their own past, often which children don’t know. It’s eye opening for children to think their parents may have some awareness of what they are experiencing, but it still doesn’t make it welcome. It’s worth thinking about if you have that kind of relationship about anything with your children before asking. It’s up to the kids if they want to talk about this or anything else.
To be sure, there is scientific evidence that no grandchild has been born as a result of a future grandparent asking. It doesn’t work that way.
Many grandparents are in the loop and do work out how to talk to their kids about it. Many people also know that future grandparents are a likely a percentage of the source of funding for IVF outside of patients. Hasidah is lucky to have support from many of them! Hasidah has also received called from grandparents looking to help their children. One such call was from a future grandparent that had already used her 401K and was looking for other ways to help her daughter. She had been through infertility herself and it was heartbreaking to watch her daughter’s experience. She sincerely wanted to help and that was one thing she could do. She wasn’t even so heart set on having a grandchild, but she was committed to supporting her daughter’s dreams of being a mother.
If you have the kind of open relationship with your children, then asking about grandchildren just needs a check – is it about you or about them? Consider the relationship you have with them. Some of that awareness of your relationship will guide you in how to approach the conversation.
Would love to hear your thoughts or experiences on talking with parents about fertility issues. Please feel free to share!