I like to think of myself as a graduation present…from high school. My parent’s were just 18 when I was born. Although I’m preeeeetty sure I wasn’t planned, I think I turned out ok. They were young, but stable, loving, caring parents. I was always surrounded by an extended family who loved me and my siblings who followed. But one thing nobody ever asked my parents was “Are you going to have kids?” They were technically, kids themselves. But had they waited a few more years, surely the question would have come up.
I’m 34. I’ve been married for almost 2 years and our only baby is a 9 year old pup. Almost weekly, I’m asked “Are you going to have kids?” Sometimes it’s by close friends or family. Sometimes it the nail salon lady or a bartender. Sometimes it’s a coworker or neighbor. But it happens. A lot. And it’s rude.
Why do we think it’s ok to ask such personal questions of people? We’re taught to never ask about money, politics or religion. But for some reason, it’s ok to ask about their plans around procreating.
A few months ago I started experimenting with my answer to this question, purely for my own amusement. If I answered “Yes” the next question was usually “when?” or “how many?” If I answered “No” the conversation, more often than not, ended there. When I answered “Maybe” I often got a list of reason why I should have babies.
The reality is, it’s personal. It’s a decision for my husband and I to make. The chances of your advice on whether I should or shouldn’t have kids, impacting my decision, is slim to none. If I want guidance on this very sacred part of life, I’ll ask. How do you know this isn’t a painful topic for me? How do you know we haven’t been trying? How do you know I haven’t been pregnant and miscarried? How do you know we’re not trying to adopt?
If you ask a woman this question, be prepared to hear an answer that makes you uncomfortable. Because being asked about having kids is equally uncomfortable.
You never know what goes into making this life altering decision. And it’s none of your business. I know women who would love to talk about their journey to building a family or their decision not to. I know more women who would prefer you respect their privacy and their body by not questioning what it’s going to do.
If we do end up with kids, you’ll know.
Amen sista! Nicely said. I have been asked many times by strangers, or people that I barely know if I have kids or if I am going to and then the next question is if I am married. I immediately find myself on the defense and then I feel like I am being judged. My answer typically goes something like this. No, I don’t have kids and I never will. I then quickly follow up to that by saying, I love kids, I just don’t want them. I like being an aunt. I think I answer this way, because I immediately feel a quick judgement of my first response, like oh she doesn’t like kids, so I want people to know that I do, I just don’t want my own. Then the question about marriage comes up and I typically respond with, no, I am not married and did you know I am gay. I mean this answer is slowly changing for gay people, which is awesome. But again, Is this what defines people, kids and marriage? I wish people asked me questions like, what do I like to do for fun or what was the last trip I went on or what drives me to happiness every day?
I am sure I have also been one of those people that have asked those personal questions about being married and having kids, but I am really going to try to not do that anymore. I think people do it, because they are not sure what else to say or ask and people are just trying to find something to relate to another on.