Monday, 31 January 2011


Today was the first day of a new class, and as I had about ten minute to spare at the end, as the mixer had taken less time than expected, I did the 'write a question to ask your teacher' stand by, which always eats a good fifteen minutes!

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?


Anonymous said...

Welcome to the blogging world. Hope you enjoy it!

How exciting to live in Asia. I have never been there. And yeah, what to answer when getting that question without sounding rude or strange is a challenge.

Anonymous said...

I live in fear of that question now... I know I was guilty of asking it before too. Now I know better.


rebecca said...

Stopping by from LFCA to welcome you to the IF blogosphere! It is an incredible group of women, I hope you feel embraced and supported on your journey! I couldn't agree with you more in terms of our likelihood to project our own experiences onto others, I've also had the same thought whenever I see multiples!

Kat said...

Thanks ladies - its really nice to read abut other people's experiences, especially when they are similar to my own. Stop by again soon!

China Doll said...

Hi Kat.. I totally do this too! I recently became friends with a woman of 44 who just gave birth to her first child. I was sure they'd had IVF but turns out they hadn't (though she does have a fertility 'story' too). I think I'm so keen to not be alone in this, that I almost 'want' others to be in the same siutation... how awful is that!