“You wouldn’t understand. You’ve never had kids.”
“It’s not like you have kids or anything.”
Without a doubt, those are some of the most hurtful words I’ve ever heard.
I ended a 40 year friendship because of that remark.
Hearing my XH say those words to me marked the beginning of the end of our marriage.
And today I heard them from a co-worker. From the last person I ever thought would say such a thing. From someone who should know better than to say something like that to a co-worker. From the HR Director.
It may have been an off-hand comment with no intention to be mean and hurtful.
But it hurt.
And it seemed mean.
She didn’t know if I was “childless by choice”
She didn’t know if I struggled with infertility and was unable to get pregnant.
She didn’t know if I was able to get pregnant but not carry a baby to term.
She didn’t know if I was able to carry a baby to term but there were complications and the baby didn’t survive.
All she knows is “No, I don’t have children” and she used that information against me to prove a point in a senseless debate that she probably won’t remember tomorrow.
But I’ll remember that conversation for a long time. And it will affect me for a long time. And it will color my relationship and all my future interactions with her and will limit what kind of personal information I choose to share with her and, possibly, other co-workers.
And that will make me seem “standoffish” and “cold” and she’ll never understand why . . .