Please Stop Asking People If They Plan to Have Kids
Can we please stop treating questions about other people’s reproductive plans as a part of polite conversation? I know that often friends and family want to ask couples about their plans to have kids, and even then it is a touchy subject. But why is it socially acceptable for complete strangers to ask something so personal?
I was at a party recently and was speaking to a woman I had never even met – she just happened to be sitting next to me. She had the audacity to ask if my husband and I were planning to have kids (and she didn’t even appear to think that was a very inappropriate question to ask – probably because for some reason people treat questions like this one as a part of normal polite conversation).
Seriously? What do expect me to say? We’ve been married for almost four years now, do you expect me to say, “Well, I guess we never thought about it, I guess we should go get busy?” Or do you expect me to say, “Oh, well in a year or two we will have our first kid who will be a boy, and we will have our second kid in exactly two years and that will be a girl…”
Seriously what positive conversation starter do you expect to get? More than likely, if we were planning to have kids you would already see them with us. But you’ve never met me, so you don’t know that I have cried many times about how I feel that I am letting everyone down. You have no idea how many parties just like this one I have gone home from in tears thinking how I will probably never have my own little ones. You don’t know the conversations, the self-doubt, the confusion I have waded through. You don’t know that I never planned to have kids, but when I see my husband playing with my little nieces and nephews my heart breaks inside.
You don’t know that I actually see a fertility specialist because I have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and possibly other chronic problems that have plagued my reproductive system and given me intense pain. You don’t know this reproductive specialist has told me I will likely be unable to get pregnant without medical help thanks to my reproductive problems.
You don’t know that I have fibromyalgia and it is utterly debilitating at times. You don’t know that some days I can barely take care of myself, and I can’t imagine trying to care for a baby when some days I can barely keep my head above water.
You clearly don’t know that many many women have miscarriages. That I have several friends who desperately want more children but have been unable to carry those they were so desperate to have. You don’t know I have friends who can’t even get pregnant no matter how long they try.
Clearly, though you are a woman about my own age, you don’t realize this is an incredibly touchy topic. I find myself wondering what on earth you hoped would come from this conversation? All it could possibly lead to was my hedging and trying to say, “Well, I guess we’ll see” as if it is some great mystery, or in a worst case scenario, me breaking down in tears. If we wanted to/were able to have kids, we would have them!
Can we please just all agree to stop asking people about their plans to have kids/have more kids? Unless you know the person well enough to know they feel comfortable talking to you about this, please just stop asking!
We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.
Thinkstock photo via Highwaystarz-Photography.