Is it’s never ok to ask someone about the status of their family size or future growth of their family.
Before we started trying to get pregnant I wouldn’t think twice to ask a couple if they were thinking about kids, or to ask a parent of X amount of children if they were thinking of having more. I would encounter the questions in my own life after Adam and I got married and thought nothing of it. Shook it off as expected after getting married and never gave another thought to the question.
But once we started actively trying to start our family, I realized how incorrectly placed those questions are, no matter how innocent the asker is. I remember a few months into trying to get pregnant, feeling confused about why this had been so easy for people I knew, but seemed to be alluding us. I was standing at work with coworkers, looking at new baby product we’d be launching in the spring and someone says to me, “Come on Ashley, just do it already. It’s amazing.” I smiled and nodded, but inside I was thinking, “I AM FUCKING TRYING. YOU DON’T EVEN UNDERSTAND THE AMOUNT OF TRYING I AM CURRENTLY DOING. MY BATHROOM LOOKS LIKE A SCIENCE LAB AND I AM VERY SKILLED AT PEEING ON STICKS.”
It seemed like the minute we started trying to have a baby someone sent the world a memo. ASK ME ABOUT THE STATUS OF MY UTERUS! Or maybe the world had always been saying these things to me, except I’d simply not been hearing them as I wasn’t in the sensitive place where someone casually asking if I was going to start a family was capable of setting off a bomb of disappointment as I reviewed my current lack of baby status.
The reality is that my reaction to these comments is so slight compared to the amount of pain a simple, “Are you guys thinking about having kids?” question can cause a couple. I realized during our months towards baby that you never really know the behind the scenes struggle or path a family is currently on.
Maybe they’re like me, and they’re in the middle of it and it hasn’t worked yet, and they’re starting to worry about why it doesn’t appear to be as easy as their Health Teacher made it out to be all those years ago.
Maybe that couple recently suffered a miscarriage and the loss they’re silently feeling is greater than you can imagine. In asking this seemingly harmless question you’ve just set off a bomb in their heads. They might be screaming in their heads, “I was pregnant and I lost my baby, that’s when I’m starting my family thankyouverymuch + [700 expletives],” but all they feel comfortable saying to you is a shallow, “Someday.”
Maybe this couple is struggling with infertility. They could be months or even years in, thousands upon thousands of dollars deep into a journey to baby that simply hasn’t worked yet. Your question is a reminder of the struggle they’re currently living through.
Maybe this couple has suffered the loss beyond all losses and is grieving the death of their beautiful child. You can’t even imagine what you just stepped in.
Fostering gone awry, adoption processes that aren’t cooperating, medical issues, or simply a conscious decision that children are not right for them at this moment, you have no idea what this harmless sounding question could be doing to the person you’re asking.
So this is my PSA.
Don’t ask. Honestly, just don’t.
You don’t know what the couple/person you’re asking this question to is going through, and as harmless as your inquiry feels, it could be extremely painful, frustrating, or downright rude.
Just tell them how nice they look today, and keep on walk’n folks.