One of my students asked where I had met my husband (fine) and then, gah! 'When are you planning to have children?'
I was tempted, I really was, to just tell the truth. I didn't, of course. However interestingly, the student in question has young twins, which I had assumed to be IVF twins. I am aware that twins occur naturally, but these days I just assume them all to be the result of IVF. I don't think that this is a particularly unlikely assumption. When I was at primary school there was one pair of twins in the whole school, but now, in my little language school, there are three pairs I know of, two of which are in the same class.
Demographically speaking, this does make a little bit of sense. The school I work for is expensive compared with other language schools, so the parents are more likely to be well off. While this could be family money, its also likely that they would have delayed having children to pursue careers. There is no easy way to find out of course.
What I find interesting in all this is how I now make assumptions and project my own issues onto those around me. Just as a mother of young children assumes that all married women will eventually have children, in my present situation I assume that all twins are the result of fertility treatment.
I started this post to complain about my student asking such a personal question in front of a class of 15 other students, but as I often do when I start writing I start working through other things that have been bothering me. I believe we project our own situation onto the world to try to make sense of it, and I think in this case to feel as though we are not alone. If I see all those twins as the result of IVF, well, look how successful it is! Twins for everyone!
I wonder how well I covered in my class. I think I said something along the lines of 'eventually, but that's a complicated question.' If my student is an IVF mother, from my answer did she make the same assumption about me that I did about her?