‘Mind your own business’

Saying it as it is – stop commenting on other people’s lives.

I’m at that age where most of my friends are still up all night on the weekends; only half of them are drunkenly leaving the club and nursing a pizza in their hands, while the other half have a whole baby in theirs.

I remember one particular dinner where I was hearing about the best schools in Malta from one ear and someone else speaking about dating an 18-year-old from the other. Even now, I can’t get over the hilarious irony of being placed in the middle of that table. Something I find less comical, though, is how people still speak to you and at you about when you’re going to have a child, regardless of your position on the subject.

It starts subtly with comments about how children change your life and how empty people’s lives are without them. If you don’t take the bait, it might even end there. However, every so often, someone comes straight up to your boundaries and doesn’t only violently prod at them but throws up all over them.

I want to start by saying that not everyone wants children, and significantly more are unable to have them naturally. Contrary to what we were told at school, many people won’t become automatically pregnant the minute they are naked in a room with a member of the opposite sex.

Not everyone is happy or comfortable openly discussing their struggle with something others make look so easy and shouldn’t be forced to, regardless of how well-meaning the other person asking is. A friend of mine was in tears a few months ago when her mother-in-law constantly attacked her over lunch about why she hadn’t made her a grandmother yet, not knowing how upset she was that she couldn’t do just that. It’s absolutely not okay to make someone feel small about something so personal.

I can also never understand the crusade against people who don’t want children, either. It’s not like the world isn’t overpopulated enough. What difference could it possibly make to anyone whether someone else procreates or not? Not everyone desires the same things, and that’s okay. We must start creating spaces where people can feel comfortable talking about what they want instead of shaming them about and into situations they have never desired.

I suppose the moral of the story here is to mind your own business. Maybe next time you feel the urge to comment on someone’s life, you should take those chips on your shoulders and turn them into something more useful, like cookies. If we don’t try to lift each other up, who will?

For other Sunday Circle features check out this news about chef Simon Rogan coming to Malta.

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