I am the first to admit that I am guilty of asking these questions and thinking these things myself. I never realized how rude/prying/hurtful these questions can be until we started trying and weren’t succeeding. I also learned some of these things from my sister in law after the birth of my niece.
1) When are you guys having kids?
This is a question everyone who is recently married hears. Before marriage, it’s “ when are you two getting married?” . After getting married, it’s “when are you having kids?”. I never found this question rude when I wasn’t ready for children. Once we started trying and things weren’t going anywhere, this question hurt. My husband and I were very open when asked that we were trying for X number of months and waiting to start our family. As we progressed further into our year of trying, this question hurt each time it was asked. It was only a reminder that we were married for over 3 years and still weren’t parents.
2) Do you want kids?
Yet another personal question. You don’t know someone’s story. Maybe they are in the midst of IVF, starting the infertility process, or approaching their deadline of trying without assistance. This question is just a reminder that they don’t have children. I am guilty of asking this question to a co-worker when I first started my job. I found out she was married for over 5 years and still did not have children. I found this odd. How can someone be married for such a long time and not have a child yet? Looking back now, this was such a rude and personal question for me to ask someone I just met. I didn’t know her story. Maybe her and her husband had been trying for years and were not succeeding. Maybe they were told they can’t have children. Maybe they just didn’t really want children. All of these things are something that a new acquaintance does not need to know and shouldn’t feel entitled to ask.
3) Was your child planned?
This one I learned from my sister-in-law after she gave birth to my niece. An acquaintance actually asked her this question. How is this anyone’s business?! Now those who know me best, know that my opinion of trying is that you aren’t using anything to prevent getting pregnant. This day in age pregnancy is completely preventable. If you aren’t taking the proper measures to prevent this, to me, you are trying. However, how is it anyone’s business if someone tried for months to get pregnant or just accidentally did after one crazy drunken night? Rude!
4) When are you trying for your second?
This is another one I learned from my sister-in-law. She overheard someone ask a couple, “when are you two trying for your second child?”. It seems like a pretty innocuous question considering the couple already has one child, right? Wrong! What the person asking the question didn’t know, is that the couple had to do IVF to conceive their first child. IVF on average cost $12,500.00 a cycle. Maybe that couple can’t afford to pay that amount of money again to try for a second child. They may not want only one child but budgetary constraints may not allow them to have a second and asking that question just reminds them that they can’t have a second child.
All of these questions seem harmless to people who haven’t struggled to have a child. They seemed harmless to me before I started trying and struggled to conceive. But when you think about these questions from the others’ perspective, you may start to see that they can be an unwelcome reminder of one’s struggle. Don’t get me wrong, I think infertility and miscarriages, are something that should be talked about more openly (hence why I started this blog). You don’t have to suffer in silence as your heart is breaking every day (that seems like an exaggeration but those who have miscarried or struggled to have a child know this is not). However, my point is one’s decision/struggle to have a child is not something that new acquaintances should be asking of someone they just met. I have found in my experience that people think children and one’s decision to have them, is just another topic of small talk to be discussed. It’s not. It’s a serious topic of conversation and not one to be talked about lightly.