Never Ask a Woman

Don’t ask me when I’ll get married.

Don’t ask me when I’ll start having kids.

Don’t ask me if I want more children.

Don’t ask me if I’m going to try for a girl (or a boy.)

Just don’t.

You have no idea.

I’ve been asked all these things.

Year after year.

By strangers.

And I know I’m not alone.

You probably don’t want to hear my whole story.

You were probably trying to make small talk.

If you want small talk, let’s talk about the weather.

Let’s talk about movies.

Let’s talk about lunch.

If you’re a stranger, a relative, or even a friend, this is what you shouldn’t ask me.

Don’t put pressure on me if I’m single to get married.

(But you can introduce me to someone if you have good taste.)

Or if I’m married to have children.

(Unless you’re agreeing to be my free babysitter.)

Or if I’m a parent to have more children.

If you truly know me, then you know why I might be hesitant to have more children.

It’s not that children aren’t worth the effort.

It’s that my mental health is important.

It affects myself, my husband, and the children I already have.

And, no, you shouldn’t ask if I’m on birth control.

Not everyone is the same, and that’s okay.

Some people have lots of children.

Some people have zero desire for children.

Some people cannot carry their own children.

Some people really do find joy and elation in parenting, in babies, in pregnancy.

And it is special.

My kids are fun and awesome and sweet and smart.

I don’t intend to scare anyone out of having kids.

You may think you know what’s best for me.

But your opinions carry little-to-no weight in my decision making process.

And that’s assuming it’s even a decision.

There are hundreds of reasons I might never have kids.

Or stop having children.

Or adopt rather than give birth.

Maybe I’m delaying it for financial, personal, or health reasons.

Maybe I desperately want to have children but have unexplained infertility or heartbreaking miscarriages.

Maybe I feel that my family is complete before you do.

Who are you to say anything?

You don’t know.

So don’t speculate.

If I wanted you to know, I’d tell you.

It’s not necessarily a secret.

But that’s up to me.

Don’t gossip or start rumors.

Don’t drop “hints” or give “suggestions.”

Resist making comments when I hold someone else’s baby.

“Looks great on you.”

“Doesn’t it make you want one?”

“Maybe someday.”

No.

What’s wrong with me being an auntie or a godmother or a friend?

I am a whole person on my own.

I’m not incomplete if I don’t have a spouse or a child.

In fact, if I’m looking for my spouse or my children to complete me then I’m signing up for disappointment.

And yes, I know I have a spouse and children, but I still have issues.

I’m not suggesting we ignore one another and walk only on eggshells.

I believe in people living life together.

But please think about the impact your words might have.

It’s not that I don’t think about my future.

I guarantee I think about it more than you do.

It’s my life, after all.

I’m just not ready to talk about it.

I’ll bring it up when I’m ready.

In the meantime, let’s build one another up.

Let’s affirm one another.

Let’s create an atmosphere of trust and safety where I can share the details of my life without others prying or speculating.

Let’s support women rather than questioning their every decision (or non-decision.)

We don’t all fit the same mold.

We’re all fighting a personal battle of some sort.

Let’s at least fight on the same team.

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2 Comments

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  1. Yes, yes, yes! Yes to every single word.

  2. I will only ask these types of questions if I’m close to the person, and only in the right context. These are the type of deeper topics I’d like to discuss with people I know well, but having suffered two miscarriages before having a healthy pregnancy, I know what it’s like to want kids and realize it’s ultimately not in your control. So that is another reason to be sensitive about these topics with others.

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