I’ll always remember the first time I was asked if I was expecting a child because it was so odd.
It was not even two months after I had gotten married. My husband and I saw one of our wedding vendors with whom we strictly had a business relationship. Yet despite the fact we did not have a friendship with this person, they asked a question that would have been inappropriate even if it came from a family member or friend.
“So are you having a honeymoon baby?”
I was speechless. I didn’t have a good response to a nosy person who needs to stay out of stuff that is not their business.
That conversation ended quickly. What this wedding vendor did not know was we actually would have been thrilled if we were having a honeymoon baby. We weren’t and were sad about it.
Little did I know in the 28 months it would take for me to become a mom, that would be far from the last time I was asked when I was having kids. As I waited longer and was getting more anxious and depressed as the months turned into years, the comments I received stung more.
There were comments about my age (early 30s) and how I shouldn’t wait to try.
The people saying I shouldn’t wait to try had no clue how much I was trying.
I was seeing a doctor for infertility, had taken fertility charting classes, was on medication for infertility, had a surgery at one point related to infertility, and also was working with an adoption agency while going through infertility treatments.
There were the comments from people who said they were sure I would have been pregnant by now, accompanied by a look as if I was either hiding a pregnancy or owed an explanation for why I was not pregnant.
There were the comments at dreaded occasions like showers asking when I’d be having a baby shower—I’d cry all the way home because I’d have given anything for it to have been my turn to be a mom.
Finally one wonderful day, my turn came. I got a call from the adoption agency about our surprise miracle baby. He was worth every tear and sleepless night wondering if he’d ever be home. I wouldn’t change a thing about the timing of my wait because if another baby had come sooner, he would not be my son, and I cannot imagine my life without him.
What I would change, though, would be to silence everyone who had questions or comments about what they seemed to think was my choice to not have kids yet.
I still see others on the receiving end of the rude questions and comments I endured, and I’m sick of it for their sake. There are so many reasons it’s inappropriate to ask a woman when she is having a baby.
She may be struggling with infertility, waiting on a match at an adoption agency, or both.
The last thing a woman who is waiting for her baby needs is commentary or questions about when she’s having a baby.
When someone I knew found out we were working with an adoption agency, they insisted on asking me weekly if we had a match yet. My politeness quickly wore off after I told this person several times I did not like being reminded I was waiting for a baby, and they needed to stop asking. They assured me they understood, then the very next week asked me the same question. Conversations with this person left me in tears because I was already going through a very tough time and all they seemed to care about was being in the know rather than respecting my feelings.
She may have had a miscarriage (or several).
Miscarriage is unfortunately more common than we may realize. There were two friends of mine who learned of my struggles to get pregnant and shared with me they had experienced miscarriages. These are women who both had multiple children, and I never would have expected that miscarriage was a part of their story. Though I had known both of them for years, I did not know of the pain they had gone through (nor was it my business until they decided to share this). I cannot imagine the pain they went through or how much worse it would have been for them to have had a miscarriage and be asked by someone, “When are you going to have kids?”
It is rude to imply a woman is old and saying so is not going to make her a mom any sooner.
A woman is well aware of her age. I did not appreciate being told I was running out of time to have a baby. I was well aware that fertility drops in your 30s, that age 35 is considered a “geriatric pregnancy,” and that it can take a long time to get a match with an adoption agency. Every month that went by caused me anxiety because I knew I wasn’t getting any younger. I didn’t need others pointing out to me what was already stressing me out.
She may be pregnant or have been matched with a baby through an adoption agency, but is not at the point she is sharing this news publicly yet.
Oftentimes, people share their news about pregnancy once the risk of miscarriage is reduced. This is their decision. Someone may be pregnant but not be sharing the news with many people yet. It is rude to put people in an uncomfortable position of asking them to share something they are not ready to share yet. If they are pregnant, they will tell you when they are ready.
Adoption matches are also not a guarantee. Sometimes a family is matched with a baby, and the birth parents change their minds about going through with an adoption. Just like a pregnancy, adoptive parents do not owe you updates on whether they’ve been matched with a baby unless they choose to share information with you.
In either pregnancy or adoption, a woman will share the news with you when she is ready. Trust me, she’s not going to forget to tell you the happiest news of her life. She’s waiting for the time that is right for her to tell you.
If she has chosen not to have kids at this time, your poking and prodding into an issue that is not your business will not change her mind.
There could be a reason a woman has chosen to not have kids yet. Maybe she has health issues. Maybe someone in her family is sick and she is stretched thin as a caregiver for them. Maybe she is not ready to be a mom yet. Someone asking her if she is having kids soon or telling her she better get a move on it because she’s old, will not change whatever it is that is making her not ready to be a mom right now.
I ask you . . . before you ask a woman when she’s going to have a baby, ask yourself if the pain your question might cause is something you want to inflict on her. If a woman tells you to stop asking questions about when she’s going to have children, take her seriously. She will share any news she has when it’s the right time for her to do so.