sexism

Don’t Ask Us When We’re Having Kids

chris-and-kathy
My husband and I have been married well over a year now. I, of course, had my suspicions that once we were married the “when are you two having kids?” questions would be next. I just didn’t expect that I would be asked so casually, frequently, and sometimes by people I hardly knew.

My husband and I are on the same page in that we do not want kids now and we go back and forth on if we want them at all. Having children is a huge decision and one that could often be a tender subject between a newlywed couple for a variety of reasons.

The ways I’ve been asked about this subject have ranged from the crass “You pregnant yet?” to the more acceptable “Are you two going to have kids?” (without the loaded “soon” at the end of the question).

I’ve been asked about our plans to have kids ranging from family members to casual acquaintances. I’ve had family friends say, “Oh, you’re drinking, I guess that means you’re not pregnant.” Things we’ve posted on Facebook have been misconstrued and I can’t hold someone else’s baby at a family function without getting the knowing looks and little comments. It sometimes feels as though everyone is just waiting around for a pregnancy announcement.

For me, dealing with this is just a minor annoyance but it also reminds me that patriarchal family values are still very much ingrained in society.

What if we had just had a fight the night before because I was ready to have kids and he wasn’t, or the other way around?

What if we both desperately wanted kids but were having fertility issues?

What if I had recently had a miscarriage?

It just baffles me that people think it’s okay to ask about this subject so casually.

I’m sure no one meant any harm, but it’s no one’s business but our own. That’s not to say there aren’t circumstances where it’s an okay subject to broach. If you know the person well and it fits in the context of the conversation, then it’s probably okay to bring it up.

Otherwise, it’s safer not to go there. You have no idea what’s going on in someone’s life that could make this a touchy subject to talk about.

 

– Kathy Clark
www.laceandwhimsy.com

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4 thoughts on “Don’t Ask Us When We’re Having Kids

  1. Hi Kathy,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this sensitive subject. During the 10 years that I was with my ex (we weren’t married), his family kept asking about when we planned to have kids. It was annoying at first, but then it became a painful reminder of something that I could not have.

    I managed to conceive once during the 10-year relationship, but didn’t know that I was pregnant until I had a miscarriage; I was only a couple or three months in to the pregnancy when it happened. A week after the miscarriage, my partner’s sister-in-law called to brag about how her daughter was pregnant. After chattering away for 30 minutes, she finally realized that I wasn’t mustering up enough enthusiasm about the wonderful news. I explained to her what had happened; she paused, and then went right back to bragging.

    The rest of his family? Well, the ones that knew let me be for a few months, and then started back up with the questions. The family members that didn’t know were shocked and upset that they weren’t informed; apparently the members that did know didn’t think that it was important, and didn’t tell these few family members. They supported me, and kept the others from asking those questions when they were around.

    Now that I’m married to my husband, I’m waiting for his extended family to ask those questions. I don’t plan on sugar-coating my response, I will tell them the truth; we don’t plan on having kids, and that the question is hurtful and inappropriate. If they don’t like it… Well, then they don’t have to have anything to do with us.

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  2. I can’t remember where, but I was listening to a conversation about this a while ago! And it’s so true! Since when did my/your uterus become a hot topic? It’s your body and your business, and you shouldn’t be forced to go along with the interrogation for the sake of society’s sense of fulfilment! On point, as always, Kathy!

    Jessica Marie | JESMGIA

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