When are you going to have a baby?
Earlier this year, I wrote a post called “5 Things Never to Say (or Do) to A Pregnant Woman,” which was shared over and over for obvious reasons. When it comes to family planning, setting boundaries with others has been very important to me and I know from the feedback I got on that post, I’m not alone. That being said, since I’m fortunate enough to have a platform to speak on, and feel it’s important to write this as well in hopes to educate people who read it and don’t already know.
Family planning is a very delicate subject that is often casually chatted about over dinners with friends, lunches with co-workers and holiday parties full of family. For some, talking about it is an exciting next step and sharing their hopes, plans for the future or the fact that they’re trying is thrilling. However for others, it can bring up sadness, fear, feelings of failure and frustration and is often an un-welcomed conversation.
Immediately after Joe and I got married four years ago, I found myself constantly being asked versions of, “When are you guys going to start having kids?” At the time, I would laugh it off without feeling pressure and tell people that eventually our plan was to have a child and adopt a child. (PS: Can’t a girl just enjoy being a newly wed?) Fast forward to today, and my reaction is uncontrollable. Sometimes I cry, sometimes I get really angry and want to tell people to F off and sometimes I do the awkward dance around the conversation just to be polite. No one wants to hear the truth – We already have a child and she’s in Heaven.
In working through my new responses to this question with my therapist, I learned not to blame others for asking. It’s just the way our society is and I had to accept it instead of become angry about it. Just like when people would ask me questions about my pregnancy. It wasn’t their fault, but I often thought people were nosey. Having prepared responses to this question now helps me respond instead of react when I face the situation. I’ve rehearsed and can respond in a numbing sort of way that shuts down the conversation while being friendly.
What I hope by writing this post is that next time you want to ask a woman or man that question, you don’t. You don’t know if they’ve been having a hard time trying to conceive, have gone through failed rounds of IVF, recently suffered a miscarriage or maybe they just don’t want to have children and are sick of having to explain why. Either way, know that family planning is difficult and can be a very sensitive subject. Please wait for people to volunteer information if they wish to discuss it instead of bringing it up.