Stop Asking Women When They’re Having Kids

With this month having been Mother’s Day, I thought it was an appropriate time to bring this subject up again. I understand the inherent curiosity regarding children and when or if someone plans to have them, but unless someone brings up the subject, it’s never okay to ask when they’re having kids.

In fact, let me just say it loud and clear for everyone right now: stop asking couples – and women in particular – when or if they’re having kids. Just completely stop.

I was having a conversation with a coworker a few months ago about families, and I mentioned that Shane and I don’t want kids of our own. Her response? “Oh, you’ll change your mind.” I was obviously annoyed, but insisted that, no, we don’t want them and have had many years together to make that decision. Then she says, “You never know; accidents happen.” And that was the point I ended the conversation.

Shane and I are in our mid-late twenties. We’ve been married almost six years, and have been together almost ten. We’ve gone back and forth over the years trying to decide whether we want kids and if so, when, before we finally came to the definitive conclusion last September that we don’t want kids of our own.

We are fortunate enough for that to have been a choice we could make, because for a lot of women and couples, that choice is made for them. Whether it’s genetics, illness, abusive relationships, or other factors, having children isn’t something everyone gets the privilege of doing.

Telling someone who says they don’t want kids “accidents happen” is so insensitive and harmful. What if I didn’t have the choice not to have kids? What if I desperately wanted them but couldn’t have my own? What if accidents COULDN’T happen to me? What if saying that we don’t want kids is our way of finally coming to terms with the fact that we couldn’t have them?

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This, and a convo with a bff, motivated me to write this post.

And what about telling people they’ll change their minds? How fucking infantilizing to tell a 27-year-old woman that she’ll change her mind about having kids? As if I haven’t already thought about all my options. As if I don’t know myself or can’t be trusted enough to make that kind of decision for myself.

Women’s bodies aren’t only useful for repopulating the planet – not that it needs much repopulating as it is. We aren’t just baby-making machines that serve no other purpose. And adding to that, couples (newly married ones in particular) don’t serve the sole purpose of producing children; nor do some even care to. Sometimes, as crazy as it sounds, two people get married because they genuinely love and care for one another and only want to share their love with each other. And maybe a dog.

So stop asking women when they’re having kids. It’s rude. It’s invasive. And it’s none of your business.

Love,
Angel

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3 thoughts on “Stop Asking Women When They’re Having Kids

  1. Completely agree with your whole post! I’m not in a relationship, but my brother is. Already I get the sense from my parents that they expect to be holding a grandchild sometime in the future. Just the other day too, I truly felt my mom overstepped her boundaries by complaining about my brother’s girlfriend once stating casually that she “hates kids”. She got all concerned about how my brother wouldn’t have any kids if he stayed with her. In my mind, I was like… how is that even your decision to make? I told her, “So? Maybe he [my brother] doesn’t want kids.” Even if he does want children someday, it’s still a personal issue for him and his girlfriend to discuss and no one else needs to get involved in the decision making.

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    1. That’s awesome of you! It’s almost harder to talk to family about it because they really don’t understand why it’s a problem.

      I was talking to a friend about this recently and she said, “I know she meant well” regarding the coworker who asked about her plans to have a baby. I told her, we always let people get away with asking such personal questions like that because “oh they meant well” but they really didn’t. When a family member asks it, it’s coming from a place of selfishness: they want a new baby to love and hug on but know they don’t have to do the dirty work. Or they want to be grandparents so they can be the fun parent they didn’t get to be the first time around. And when strangers or friends or whomever asks, it comes from a place of judgement: what’s the point of a woman if shes not going to bear a child. Or what’s the point of a couple if they don’t plan to procreate?

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      1. Family can definitely get too wrapped up in the idea of children. I do think that partially my parents want to take on the “doting grandparents” role, but no one should have kids just to fulfill their parents’ expectations. The culture my parents come from is big on having a nuclear family and the concept of passing on the bloodline, I guess. I mean, that’s great if some people want to do that and they have the means to, but for myself personally, I have problems with both of those things lol.

        I agree, when strangers ask the baby question, it sounds judgmental coming from them. It would be great if people just don’t ask the question at all. Marriage is often associated with children, so it does seem like a “normal” question to ask, but it is also a societal/cultural problem people need to stop thinking that way and making assumptions that all women want children.

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