As 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?