We had a conversation with another couple yesterday about societal pressures of being married couples without children. For some reason, other people think its their god given right to probe into our personal lives with the excuse of being concerned for our lack of having children.
Why should they be concerned when we are not concerned? Or perhaps being concern is merely an excuse to be nosy? Are we anomalies because we don’t conform to the Malay norm of having a child within the first year of being married?
We managed to trade stories of how other people have tried to probe into our personal lives in a sneaky manner, by asking the other couple about us. Couple X told us of how various other individuals asked them if they had sought medical help to help them conceive. Then the conversation progressed to the question if they knew why we don’t have any children. Hmph! They might as well ask us how often we have sex and what sexual positions we practice!
So we told couple X that we too have heard stories about them. We never asked them about it before, or talk about it to them because we felt that it was far too much information than that was necessary for us, it was none of our business and it was a hurtful thing to ask anyone because it was a very personal issue. But somehow the opportunity came out while we were having a heart to heart talk.
“B mentioned to us that you guys tried IVF and was unsuccessful.”
I could see Mr X’s face change. His jaw almost dropped to the floor.
“Just to get the record straight, we have never tried IVF in our lives before. What happened was I met Mr B and we were just talking about the exorbitant medical costs in the country. And I guess it was my fault because I mentioned that another couple we knew was comparing the huge difference in the cost of IVF between Malaysia and here. I never said anything about myself having done it or even considering doing it.”
“But well how the story came to us was like it. Mrs B asked me if I had met you guys, and told us in the same breath that you guys had tried for IVF and was unsuccessful. Of course, then I didn’t know you guys very well so we never said anything about it because seriously, it was none of our business.”
More than anything, the conversation illustrated to us how an innocent conversation can be twisted and misunderstood. And worst still, it could spread into a vicious gossip that was totally untrue and unkind.
Sometimes its issues like this that makes me just want to isolate myself from interacting with the Malay community. For whatever reason, topics like this would be of no interest to my Western friends.
Malas tul kekadang, cerita sebenarnya lain tapi bila sampai ke telinga orang ceritanya jadi lain.