The Kid Question

pregnancy-belly

pregnancy-bellyAs most newlyweds are aware, almost as soon as you walk back up the aisle, the questions about when you’re going to have children (if you don’t already) start. The jokes about expanding your family or when pregnant friends/acquaintances come up in conversation the “you’re next” comments and knowing looks. As DG and I are still quite young, we’ve been lucky to avoid hectic questioning, but we still get the occasional comment.

Mostly, of our friends who have asked, they’ve asked when we think we’ll want to have children as we’ve both openly spoken about how much we would love to have children. When it’s people we know and have good relationships with, these questions don’t bother me. It’s when it’s people I don’t really know that well that it irritates me.

As a young teenager I used to ask newly married couples when the kids would be coming along and I look back at past Monique horrified that she would ask those questions. Luckily, most people allow for some grace when it comes to teenagers. As I’ve gotten older and my friendship base has expanded, my eyes have been open to the very real world of infertility and to those who, while they may like children, have made the decision not to have children.

The subject of children is so intensely personal and, if I’m being completely honest, it’s no one elses business what your stance is. If you don’t want to have children, you don’t deserve to have people telling you that you’ll change your mind and it might be too late. I can think of nothing worse than people who genuinely don’t want children having them because society has made them feel wrong about making the decision to remain childless. Not everyone wants children and that’s okay. You shouldn’t have to justify your choice to anyone.

If you desperately want children and are struggling to conceive, the last thing you want is people who don’t know your situation heaping on the pressure to ‘expand the family’. If you’d like children eventually, but aren’t in the financial position you would like to be in, or you would like to focus on your career, or any number of reasons that will influence your decision to have a child, you don’t want to start feeling guilty for putting it off. There is no perfect time to have children, but people should be able to make that decision for themselves without the input of others unless they ask for it.

While people are mostly well meaning, I think we’ve become a very nosy society and seem to think that asking these kinds of questions and applying the pressure to start a family is okay. People should just suck it up and deal with it. I say no. While I’m about as curious as they come, whether or not you want children is really none of my business. I admit that I will make a passing comment (which probably contradicts everything I’ve just said) and ask people if they want to have kids eventually but I leave it at that. If you tell me that you’d rather not answer my question, I’m completely fine with that.

How long were you with your partner when people started putting on the pressure to have children? Do you think it’s okay to ask people outside of your close friendship circle about their plans to have children?

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  • http://kikiandtea.com/ Tamsin Howse

    At my cousin’s wedding, during his speech he announced that people would probably ask when they were having kids so he would answer it now. He then gave dates, names and genders, and said they would be dogs. No one asked him after that.

    • Monique Fischle

      That’s an awesome way to do it! I wish I had thought of that! I have friends who tell people “when we’re able to” and they don’t get asked so much any more.

    • Hayley Ashman

      Haha that’s the best!

  • Melissa Savage

    My father in law married us, and even though we’d never heard any talk about babies from him before that moment, in his prayers he specifically mentioned how he wanted grandchildren soon. I’m pretty sure he was showboating a little, because he hasn’t been vocal about it since but it was kind of confronting!

    I don’t think we’ve ‘become’ a nosy society, I think we always have been. Ask your parents and grandparents what their parents were like when they married. And great swathes of history (Henry VIII for example) are all about public speculation about reproduction or lack thereof.

    • Monique Fischle

      You’re right, it’s something we always have been.

      That would have been a bit confronting to hear that in a prayer on your wedding day, I’m not even sure children were mentioned in ours. If I’m being honest, I don’t remember a whole lot of what was said during the ceremony, only our vows haha

  • PW

    After years of trying for a baby, it still hasn’t happened for us. Which makes me feel a bit blue to be honest. I’d be okay if we didn’t have kids, but the not knowing is actually really awful. We’ve also just started medical investigations to see if my husband has cancer. Add on that the pressure of constant questions such as “When am I going to have grandchildren?”, “What are you two doing wrong?”, “It’s been long enough, why hasn’t he given you babies yet?”. I am really beginning to hate people and hate life.

    • Monique Fischle

      Oh PW, that’s awful. I’m really sorry to hear that. People suck. I wish there was more I could say, but it would probably just seem like a cliche platitude. Hugs to you x

  • ro

    I actually think it would be helpful if there was more general discussion about the pros and cons of having kids and how to juggle everything afterwards. In many ways, there’s not enough discussion. I personally find it helpful to get advise from people who have gone before me and why wouldn’t I seek the advice of people who know me instead of reading some random book by a stranger? Some family members can be overbearing but we have actively sought out advice about bringing up our two children now aged 10 and 8 because parenting is difficult but also rewarding. We get training to do just about everything else but most of us either go into parenting blind or choosing not to have kids without much insight either. Everyone is entitled to their privacy but this is your close family and sharing what’s going on in your life is important. That’s what relationship is all about. I have had friends who are too touchy about a whole swag of topics which they didn’t want to talk about and in the end, I gave up and found friends who wanted meaningful relationships. These might sound like strong words but my pregnancy with my daughter 8 years ago, triggered a life threatening auto-immune disease and I have been fighting for my life and to see my children grow up while also developing my own interests and it really does force you to evaluate life. One of the things that I find really important is being able to share heart to heart with people and I do that quite easily with strangers and yet often hit a brick wall with people I know. This is perhaps a different response to what you were expecting but some food for thought.