There’s an issue in our culture I feel just has to be discussed. It has to do with harassment: specifically, asking women when they are going to have babies.
Before we delve into this, I have to admit this is a personal pet-peeve. Let me explain: A week after I got married, my new husband and I began opening our wedding gifts and reading through cards. While everyone was super generous, I couldn’t help but wonder why some people felt the need to tell us when we were supposed to have children--specifically, now. I mean, we had just gotten married. Living with a boy was all the change I could handle at that time. And they weren't telling us when we were supposed to buy our first house or anything else like that.
I know many readers have had similar experiences—and it doesn’t just stop there. Some people, it seems, truly, madly, and deeply cannot wait for every couple to have kids—and right away. I understand. Families are incredibly important, and we have been commanded to replenish the earth, for goodness sake. As members of a religion and culture that take that commandment very seriously, it can be difficult for those who are childless to answer the question, “Why don’t you have kids?”
But let’s give couples a break. We don't know what's happening in the lives of other couples, and if we don't know, maybe that means it's not our business. A woman one of our editors knows wanted to have kids and couldn't for medical reasons--for eight years. In addition to this trial, she also had to face a constant barrage of questions about when they'd have kids. For other couples, they may just need time. Or there could be a multitude of other unkown factors at play. There are just a lot of “maybes” we don’t need to know. The decision to have children--when or how many or any other aspect of it--is between each couple and the Lord and, unless you are their doctor, you’re not included.
I have been married for four years, and I deeply appreciate those who are close to me and have never asked, “So when are you going to start having kids?” They knew my husband and I were excited to someday be parents and were respectful enough to suppress their curiosity and respect our privacy. To these individuals I say, “Thank you.” I am happy to say that we are now expecting our first child. As I count down the days and remember my experiences, I hope I'll remember to be a tad more sensitive to my couple friends who do not have kids.
Your turn: How do you handle questions about kids, whether they are about yourself or about your children, friends, or other family members?