BY REBECCA COOPER
I think most of us can agree that life has stages that the majority of us go through. You start dating someone and things progress to engagement and then to marriage. Most of us have barely gotten the rice or birdseed out of our hair before the questions start…‘Are you starting a family right away?’, ‘Are you guys at least trying?’, or ‘Do you want a family? But are any of these questions ever appropriate? I’m so glad you asked!
Some Questions You NEVER Ever Ask a Woman
From an early age, boys and girls are taught that there are three things you should ‘never ask a woman about’: her age, weight, or size. But it’s time to add another question to the ‘don’t ask’ list: ‘Are you going to have kids?’
Strangely, the comments and ongoing questions in relation to a woman’s ‘biological clock’ are not only inappropriate but never seem to end until you have your first hot flash. Even after a woman has one or two children, she still gets asked if she plans to have another one or how big of a family they want. If there are certain people in your family who ask these questions, you may even start to steer yourself away from them at family gatherings just to avoid the question. So don’t be the one family members steer away from at Thanksgiving dinner.
The Question That Makes Everyone Uncomfortable
There are a few reasons why the ‘kids question’ is not appropriate and makes people uncomfortable.
Infertility: In a recent survey of married women, the CDC found that 1.5 million women in the US (6%) are infertile and 25% of infertile couples have more than one factor that contributes to their infertility. This is not only a touchy subject but a hurtful one causing the infertile couple to judge themselves for not being able to biologically do what their friends are doing…having a child.
We Don’t Want Children: There is no rule book that says as a woman you must have a child, and if you choose not to have a child, there’s a stigma of ‘she must be selfish to not want kids.’ It’s that judgment and more questions that usually follow like ‘Don’t you want to add to the next generation?’ or ‘Having kids is the best way to show your love for your partner, so why wouldn’t you want to have a child?’ As you can see, it just gets worse in the question department.
We’ve Been Trying for a While: Pregnancy doesn’t always happen overnight, and even a fertile couple with no medical issues may take a year or more to conceive. Hearing the ‘kids question’ just adds stress and unnecessary pressure to an already hard time.
We’re Dealing with IVF: After years of trying to conceive naturally, many couples will attempt to add to their family using in vitro fertilization (IVF), which is a physically challenging process for the woman and stressful for the partner watching the mom to be go through all the testing, etc. Most of the time IVF doesn’t happen the first attempt and often feels like an unrealistic process. When the ‘kids question’ is posed to IVF couples, not only are you reminding them that they long for a child, but that IVF is very expensive, and the quicker it works, the less expensive it is. IVF couples are not guaranteed results either, making the whole process draining emotionally and physically.
We’re Not Ready for Kids: Many couples are two-career households, focused on climbing the corporate ladder, and so the pitter-patter of little feet is on the back burner, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all. Couples may have a bucket list of things they want to do and places they want to visit before they start a family. That’s not selfish, that is understanding the importance of needing time to spend with a child and not being distracted by wanting to travel.
Having children is a very personal decision and not one that many want to share in just casual conversation, so try and stay away from making anyone uncomfortable being a bit too nosy. You won’t regret it.