Jun 4

Life, Love, Laura & Guests: The most annoying post-wedding question

by LifeLoveLaura on June 4, 2013

Today we have my good friend Phoebe, ‘chief rambler’ at So You’re Getting Married. We met whilst I was planning my wedding and then she kindly showed it off to the world on her fabulous wedding blog. When we met for the first time she pinched my bum and I knew we would become the best of friends. I talk about babies a lot on Life, Love, Laura because that is where I am at in my life at the moment. I do, however, fully understand the other end of the spectrum. Following on from Lyndsay’s post yesterday about being 31 and childless, Phoebe discusses one of the most annoying things a person can ask a married couple… 

I am 26, Michael is 27. We are married, we have a dog, we bought a house, we both work (me less so) and so the natural progression that society forces on us is that we are now duty bound to have children. We have been married for nearly 3 years and in this time I have lost count at the amount of times I have been asked “so when are you having children?” or some derivative.

The worst question I was asked was “so when are you getting pregnant?”. I know what they were implying but the wording of the question was ridiculous.  The truthful answer was, well I have been pregnant, I had a miscarriage and I am not that keen to get that ball rolling again thank you. Do they actually want to hear that? No.

I am sure that even if you have been together with your partner for a substantial amount of time you will get asked “so when are you getting married?”. What is with people and their incessant need to know what your life itinerary is. All you are doing is making everyone involved very uncomfortable because there is always a reason why it hasn’t happened.

Just think about what you are asking that couple. You are not asking them if they plan on having children you are asking them if they are having sex, you are asking if they are both fertile, you are asking if they are in the right place mentally and financially, you are asking if they are both on the same page, you are even asking if they like children. What if they found out they can’t have children, your questions are a painful reminder. What if she wants them but he doesn’t? Another stab in the heart each time the topic is brought up. And what if they haven’t had sex in 5 years? Ouch.

Apparently, if you get married, are fertile, have a house and money and don’t have children then you are selfish. You are meant to procreate and give back to the world. Every time I get asked I answer “I don’t want children” and women look at me like I just skinned a puppy in front of their eyes but its the truth. I don’t want children, I never have and I don’t think I ever will. Perhaps this will change but in the meantime, please stop asking. It really is none of your business.

Phoebe

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

J June 4, 2013 at 10:09 am

Totally empathise… As soon as we were married it wasn’t family asking ‘that’ question it was our friends…they had all started down the children route with 100% success. Our first dinner party with everyone after we had found out we would be unlikely to conceive was Hell….and Im afraid I lost my temper.
The boys had started on the shorts & were becoming, as rugby players tend to do, lairy & frankly horrible. Teasing my wonderful, caring husband over our lack of children. ‘Jaffa’ being one insult.
None of them knew the devastating news we had been given months before that my husband is essentially infertile. They didn’t know because WE were still coming to terms, slowly with it & still mulling over whether we should give ICSI a form of IVF a go.
Besides – it had bugger all to do with anyone else. We weren’t ready to tell.
His Mother had been bad enough stating loudly, in front of me & the rest of his family ‘impossible **** only had to drop his trousers & I was pregnant…are you sure it’s not you’ she said, oh so sympathetically.
Anyway after about 5 minutes of merciless teasing I lost my temper, told all of them the truth, made it very clear what I thought of their childish behaviour and walked out.
Because none of us know what’s happening in another couples life & it could be what we were going through. So please never ask that question it’s too personal & none of your bloody business

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LifeLoveLaura June 6, 2013 at 9:54 am

Jane, that’s awful. How disgusting of his mother to say that. You could put it down to her generation (some seem to think they can say whatever they want) but that’s no excuse!

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Cass June 4, 2013 at 10:52 am

Oh yes, I can relate to this.

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Victoria June 4, 2013 at 10:55 am

I was never really the maternal type but it kind of kicked in when I met my husband. Unfortunately I was 37 then. Cue mercilless questions from a catholic, Portugese mother in law with a huge family and EVERYONE, and I mean EVERYONE getting pregnant around me. To be fair, at age 42 I think it’s now entered the silent pity phase so I get left alone pretty much, but yes… the years endured dreading gatherings with expectant grandparents in waiting and blooming pregnant friends etc are pretty draining. Enjoy your kids but leave others fertility issues to them.

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LifeLoveLaura June 6, 2013 at 10:06 am

I was the same Victoria, up until the time around our wedding I would’ve taken a puppy or a kitten over a baby any day but it was like a switch was suddenly flicked. The thing is, it has to come from you, not from pressures of interfering people around you. It baffles me as to why people think they can ask such uninvited personal questions.

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Phoebe June 4, 2013 at 11:51 am

Hello! Thank you very much for having me and I am glad I am not the only one that gets beyond annoyed at this! J so sorry to hear about your troubles, I can only imagine how awful that could have been. I just don’t understand why people think it is ok to ask? Perplexing!

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LifeLoveLaura June 6, 2013 at 10:21 am

It’s a pleasure Phoebe, you’re welcome anytime!

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Colette June 4, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Phoebe I love you :)

Ah, that wonderful question! I’ve been married 5 years, my husband has 2 children from past relationships so of course for the first 3 years of marriage the question of babies popped up over and over again. Infact, from the day I met him as people presumed that having 2 kids under the age of 3 instantly meant I was insecure enough to want to be pregnant within weeks of meeting him. Erm, no thanks. The questions came from friends, family, in fact anyone I ever met. The thing is I can’t have kids. So for years I spent it getting upset with being asked. But now I just reply, tell them I’m barron and then pray they just move on from the conversation! They normally do :)

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LifeLoveLaura June 6, 2013 at 10:07 am

And Colette… I love you! Sometimes saying it as it is is the best way, it knocks some sense into people! Your reaction will certainly make people think twice about asking that question again!

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Sara Russell June 4, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Totally agree! I get asked it a lot too and you’re right, do you really reply with ‘we’ll have them when the IVF doctor gives us them thanks’, erm no….

It’s certainly made me more aware of asking others. If a couple has some news they want you to hear, you’ll hear it.

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LifeLoveLaura June 6, 2013 at 10:09 am

Exactly Sara. I know people are curious but even still, it’s something you just don’t ask!

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John Charlton June 4, 2013 at 2:10 pm

I can completely sympathise with this, it’s not everyone’s business to know what is going on in people’s lives and to question their decisions, it’s upto the couple as to what they want and also how much they want to tell people.
I think the reason that people think it is acceptable to ask such probing questions is because so many people put so much of their lives on social media and blogs. I’m sure we all have friends that post updates on FB which give too much information! It’s meant that the boundaries of what is acceptable to ask someone are seemingly being lowered all the time.

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LifeLoveLaura June 6, 2013 at 10:13 am

That’s it John, because of Facebook, Twitter etc there aren’t many boundaries left and not much is left private any more. People assume that because one person’s life is all over the internet for the world to see, everybody wants their business out in the open and it’s not the case. I for one, am very selective about what I put on here and on Facebook for that very reason. If something is not out in the open, you don’t ask!

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Joanne June 4, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Great post and comments. The family thing never worked out for me, but I have accepted that now and have a new outlook on life. Friends and family struggle to believe that I have given it up and am happy with the decision though. I am 40 and due to the nature of my work (social photographer) still always get asked the child question. It doesn’t bother me to give an honest answer any more and the more open people are, the more society will start to accept that not everyone has a family – they still have a life though x

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LifeLoveLaura June 6, 2013 at 10:18 am

Great point Joanne, just because somebody does not have a family it doesn’t mean that they don’t love their life. A lot of people assume that having kids is a natural progression once you’re in a long term relationship but, for one reason or another, that’s obviously not always the case. Way before I was married people would ask when I was starting a family. I always wanted to wait until after our wedding as I felt that was the right thing to do. How do you say that without sounding judgemental and offending the person asking, especially if they had children before marriage? The best thing to do is to not ask in the first place!!

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anna | far from the wedding crowd June 5, 2013 at 8:35 am

Great post.

The questions are hard. Why are we not allowed to make decisions on our own?

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LifeLoveLaura June 6, 2013 at 10:19 am

Anna, you’d think that being able to make our own decisions wouldn’t be that much of a difficult concept nowadays but there is still such a huge pressure from people and the society around us in so many ways. Argh!

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