Like me, I think that most of the readers of this blog are accustomed to people saying stupid things when they find out that we don't have kids. These things are often said innocently, but they often hurt. But I also think that women are on the receiving end of those comments more frequently and that a lot of men don't/can't fully understand their impact unless they have an experience of their own.
Hubs had one of these experiences about a week ago. He came home from work and asked if anyone had ever said something stupid to me. I said "of course" but then asked for a bit of context. He said "you know, about not having kids." I said "oh yeah, fairly frequently."
Apparently a coworker asked him if he had kids. When he responded that he didn't the coworker, also a guy, told him that he was lucky and went on to say that he'd lost a child to cancer, then proceeded to proclaim that it's the hardest thing that a couple could ever go through.
I asked him how he responded to the guy. He indicated that he didn't really say anything beyond that he was sorry. He said he felt like if he said anything else that he'd come across as an asshole.
Hubs was really taken aback by the whole conversation. I wasn't taken aback since I'm quite a bit more experienced with this particular assumption, but I did feel bad for him, because this was genuinely the first time he had been made to feel like crap because he doesn't have kids.
He said that he felt bad for the guy because he and his wife had to go through something that nobody should ever have to go through, but he also feels like we went through something that nobody should ever have to go through too, and that we certainly weren't lucky. I agreed.
I hate that he had to experience this first hand. But I'm also glad. Because I think that now he gets it on a deeper level and that empathy will be the result.