If there’s one thing I’ve taken from my journey to parenthood so far, it’s not to ask people when they will be having kids.
Firstly, and most importantly, it’s simply none of your business. Full stop. End of. You are not entitled to the ins and outs of my reproductive decisions.
But in case you need more reasons, let me offer you just a few:
- I may not want kids. Ever. And I shouldn’t have to justify that to you.
- I may desperately want kids, but not be able to conceive.
- I may be a victim of domestic abuse, and afraid to have kids.
- I may want to have kids later in my life.
- I may be pregnant and have chosen not to tell you yet.
- I may have been pregnant and lost my baby.
There are infinite responses. None are wrong, or right, or better than another. Each person has the right to make their own choices, and each person will face their own challenges.
At best your question may be inoffensive. At worst you might break someone’s heart a little bit more than it is already broken.
I’m actually lucky that it hasn’t happened to me too many times. But I dread it. Because I know I’m of ‘an age’ where people are likely to start asking. And so every time I go out with friends I get anxious that the question will come up and I’ll be faced with the horrible decision of whether to put a dampener on a good night by sharing the story of my miscarriage or whether to smile and shrug my shoulders and pretend my little one never existed. Neither option is ideal.
The worst situation I faced was a few weeks after my miscarriage at a wedding. I deliberately carried around an obviously alcoholic drink for the entire day (despite the fact that I didn’t really want to drink) to try to stave off the question. No one will ask me if I’m getting pregnant soon, because I’m very obviously drinking, right? Wrong. I was asked. Not even by a close friend. If it had been a close friend maybe I wouldn’t have minded so much. But the question was just a conversation filler… small talk to fill a void. I was devastated and hurt and annoyed that someone I don’t really know all that well would think it was an appropriate question to fill that momentary silence.
Of course, I’m not saying you should never have an honest conversation about these things. I’ve told friends about my miscarriage, and they know I’m trying to get pregnant again. But in every case, it was my decision to tell them. Either to tell them I was trying or tell them about my loss.
So, next time there’s a lull in the conversation and you’re tempted to ask the question, don’t. Please just talk to me about the weather.