8 Reasons to Stop Asking, “When Are You Having Kids?”

Don't Ask About PregnancyBefore my partner and I got married it was a constant stream of questions like, “When are you getting married?” The questions and comments about our relationship’s legal status was tiring, even emotional at times. Well, now we’re married, and a new inquiry dominates: When are you going to have kids?
The question isn’t, “Do you plan on having kids?” No, people assume it’s a given. At least once a week someone asks “when when we are having kids. The people who ask mean well, but it’s time to really think about how serious (and private) questions about conception are, and why you should stop asking. Here are some situations to consider before you pester a couple about kids…

1. I’m pregnant, but don’t want to disclose for because of viability concerns.

A lot of pregnant folks wait until they pass the first-trimester mark to share news about pregnancy. Risk of miscarriage decreases with each passing week of fetal development, so a lot of expectant parents keep a lid on the big news until the fetus is developing normally.

2. Fertility issues might be a barrier to conception.

Pregnancy can’t occur without healthy sperm and eggs. It’s just a biological fact. It’s also a fact that some people have health conditions (like endometriosis) that seriously limit conception. Or how about a low sperm-count? That can make pregnancy tough too. And some people don’t just live with fertility complications, but total, non-elective sterility.
Do you know a couple’s fertility status? Nope? Then maybe it’s best not to ask.

3. I might not want kids at all.

It is perfectly normal, and perfectly healthy to want to forego kids altogether. Read that sentence again, folks. Some people just don’t want kids, and they shouldn’t be forced to defend their choice at every turn.

4. Maybe I want kids, but my partner doesn’t.

Ouch. Just reading number four should make you cringe for asking a couple about their parental prospects. What if papa is ready for fatherhood, but mama just doesn’t see it happening? Does the couple split up? Stick together? Try foster care? None of the above?
Those questions are all really tricky, right? Right. So don’t force people to answer them on the spot because of your nosey questions.

5. Adoption papers are in, but we won’t know until they arrive.

Have you ever considered that a person doesn’t want biological children? Some folks have genetic conditions they don’t want to pass down, and others just don’t want to go through pregnancy. Either way, adoption is a tumultuous time, and it’s best to be mindful, because the adoption process is an emotional rollercoaster.

6. I miscarried recently.

Remember number one–that whole viability thing? Pregnancies terminate on their own sometimes, and you might not know it happened to a person. Unsolicited haranguing about when someone is going to conceive might trigger a cascade of sadness you can’t imagine because of a recent miscarriage.

7. I just had an abortion.

One in three people have an abortion in their lifetime. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that you’re going to ask someone, “So, when are you having kids?” when maybe they just went in for a D&C earlier in the week. The decision to terminate a pregnancy isn’t always emotional, but it can be–so make sure you’re not unnecessarily harming someone with your nosey questions.

8. I’m a trans* woman.

Not all women have a uterus, and your assumption that they do is cis-normative. Some women have penises, and some men have vaginas. You don’t know the genital and/or reproductive organ status of every person in your life, so don’t make assumptions about if someone can get pregnant.
Of all the reasons not to ask someone when they’re having kids, the most important, and fundamental aspect underlying everything above, is because it’s private. Becoming a parent is a life-changing decision, and you’re not changing anyone’s mind about entering that life stage with constant pestering. Stop asking insensitive and personal questions about other people’s conception choices–or one day someone might call you on it with something from this list.

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