Advanced search

To be fed up of being asked when/ whether I want children?

(44 Posts)
iggypiggy Tue 11-Aug-09 14:17:26

Possibly strange question on MN... and also am aware I might not be thinking 100% rationally about this but... anyway - talk sense into me...

I got married last year - and all I am ever being asked by people is if I am planning on having children and when!!!! In the last two days I have been asked 3 times... and I am not exaggerating when i say it get asked at least once a week by someone - regardless of how well I know them.

Apparently this is an acceptable question?! But what answer are people expecting? Do people often discuss plans for a family in detail with anyone and everyone? How do people know that they are not putting their foot in it massively when they ask this?!

I have totally had enough of saying 'oh maybe one day - but I've got lots else to think about for now...'

I am aware that this is particularly sensitive for me ask I had an MC on Easter Sunday and have been ttc ever since... (hence presence on MN with all the lovely people on here that support me through everything) But - from my own personal experience these are all of the reasons I couldn't answer truthfully:

1) Before the mc we were ttc but didn't want to share with people in case there were problems (and didn't want people to keep asking)
2) I was only just pregnant - so couldn't answer in case anything went wrong
3) I'd just had an MC and really didn't want to shre that..
4) I am still ttc and it's not happening yet and I am miserable so stop bloody asking...

in the future I guess the answer could also be - we can't have children....

So AIBU to be so sensitive? Is it actually an ok question to ask? Would any of you be happy to answer it before you had children?

Is such a personal question - surely people should never ask?? They will be told if someone wants them to know?

Sorry - have just been asked again and think it has sent me over the edge...

giveloveachance Tue 11-Aug-09 14:24:41

I really feel for you.

I think generally people are just trying to sound interested and excited for you when they ask but it can be a deeply insensitive and personal question. It's one I would only ask of a very close friend / relative.

I have one child and get asked by people I barely know, when are you having another, are you trying, don't leave it too late, is she your only one. etc etc. I find it very intrusive and given my circumstances often it is very upsetting.

Don't know really what I can suggest, just wanted to let you know you are not alone in feeling like this.

Maybe just reply - that's a bit personal don't you think? and don't elaborate.

iggypiggy Tue 11-Aug-09 14:30:31

I know people mean to harm by it - I really do... but I wish they realised how hard it can be... sad

I just wonder if i say 'that's a bit personal' that they will automatically assume there is a problem?

woozlet Tue 11-Aug-09 14:30:39

I think the reason people ask is a total ignorance of fertilityproblems. They are not meaning to be rude, but some people really don't seem to get that it's not always as easy as having 1 bonk to get pregnant.

And sorry for your loss x

iggypiggy Tue 11-Aug-09 14:31:01

sorry - that should read I know people mean no harm by it blush

iggypiggy Tue 11-Aug-09 14:34:35

woozlet I know... sad I just don't think I can cope with any more questions without shouting or dissolving into tears... <slaps self>

The person that asked me today got PG on honeymoon, and is now expecting their second... maybe that's why am BU about it..

beanieb Tue 11-Aug-09 14:38:06

I feel for you too sad and am actually getting to the point (After 2 years TTC and one Miscarriage) where I am just going to start telling people the facts in the hope they will shut up!

I think it's so easy when TTC without success to take everything very personally, I do certainly.

Really sorry to hear about your experience and hope it gets better for you smile

PlasticWoman Tue 11-Aug-09 14:41:15

It's only since I've been pregnant that I realise what an insensitive question that can be. It would never have really occurred to me before not to ask a long-term couple whether they wanted children - now I wouldn't dream of it. Until people start TTC themselves, they have no idea how difficult it can be for so many couples. They have no idea how frequent miscarriage actually is, and how worrying the whole process can be.

So YANBU, but people really just don't understand until they've tried to conceive themselves. Rather than be wishy-washy about your response, if you were to stare boggled-eyed at them as if they'd just got their bits out, and say something like, "erm...that's a really private thing to ask isn't it?" in a tone that suggests they've made a terrible faux pas. Maybe they'd be prompted to have a bit of a think about the implications of such a question.

ClaireDeLoon Tue 11-Aug-09 14:48:30

They just don't know how insensitive they are being, they really mean no harm.

I had to do a course a few months ago and ask colleagues what one thing I should change in my life (yes I know, was a stupid 'leadership' course bleurgh. One colleague said 'you should have children' and it was like being stabbed in the heart. Yes, because it is that easy.

giveloveachance Tue 11-Aug-09 14:48:38

I don't think they would assume that there is a problem.

I agree with plasticwoman, about how to respond.

If you don't want to talk about it to the people who ask you just don't have to and that is there problem not yours.

Wishing you well and hope you have good news soon. xx

cupofteaplease Tue 11-Aug-09 14:49:10

Hey iggypiggy we mc at the same time, over Easter- so sorry to hear you are still TTC sad

I have had to give up TTC in order to take a new job as dh had lost his, and I get people asking me on a regular basis if I'm stopping at 2. I'd LOVE more children, but I find myself saying, 'yes, for now'. I wish I could tell them that I lost a baby this year, and I'd love to still be pregnant, or pregnant again.

However, I feel really blush now as my BF got married to her partner of 10 years in May and I keep asking her when they will start a family. She laughs it off and says in 3 years, or never. I'd never really considered that she'd be offended, as she's a close friend so I thought she'd tell me if she was having issues TTC. I'm glad you've posted this, it may stop me being so inconsiderate in future.

When it comes to asking someone I don't know, then yes, I think it is an inappropriate question. Lots of luck and best wishes for the future- hope you get your BFP soon smile

iggypiggy Tue 11-Aug-09 14:50:16

Beanieb - I kind of know what you mean.. maybe would be easier to say something sometimes.. And I definitely take it too personally...

plasticwoman I know I know... I just want to tell everyone to stop asking the question - of anyone.. I am certain that if people want to talk about ttc they will share it without prompting. I like your suggested response tho!

iggypiggy Tue 11-Aug-09 14:55:51

claire that's horrible sad I do know they mean no harm...

cupoftea how are you! don't worry am sure your close friend isn't offended! I don't take it so badly from very close friends because they know me so well and I love them! - I can't be angry - they would expect me to share this stuff with them. Is my stupid fault that I like to keep it secret - except for MN!

cupofteaplease Tue 11-Aug-09 15:01:45

iggypiggy I'm fine thanks- nervous about starting my first teaching post but it takes my mind off things!

Perhaps you could share with your close friends a little more, in order to avoid questions? I don't know why TTC and MC are such taboo subjects- it just makes something that is difficult and painful even harder!

dancingqueeen Tue 11-Aug-09 15:03:14

iggypiggy for you. I'm so sorry about your MC and I understand the frustrations, have been ttc for a year now and find it very hard, watching other people get pregnant easily and then assume its as easy for everyone else and say really insensitive things.

like you, I feel this is really personal, and not an issue I want to discuss with anyone, so I tend to make very dismissive comments like ('want to settle into my new job first'; 'want to enjoy a bit of time with dh first') and then move the subect on. I think plasticwoman and woozlet are right though, some people just don't realise / don't think. If nothing else, this experience has taught me to never ask this question, but to let people volunteer the information if they wish to.

Blondeshavemorefun Tue 11-Aug-09 15:12:08


know excalty how you feel

i get asked it all the time

and even more so since i got married 2.5years ago

people assume you get married you must want/start trying for kids asap

you dont want to tell all in sundry that either you are trying,as then every time you dont drink, its are you pregnant - erm no, i just dont fancy wine tonight

or you put a bit of weight on blush and get asked (as happened to a friend of mine) - erm no im fat - thanks a bunch!!!

or you tell them you are trying tcc but it hasnt happened, or that you have just had a mc etc and then you get the look of pity

I find a simple not yet generally works fine

of course then i get told, im getting old and my eggs may have shrivelled up hmm

iggypiggy Tue 11-Aug-09 15:12:44

cupoftea Hope the job goes well for you smile I think you are probably right... I mgiht do if they ask again.

dancingqueen I am with you - I have definitley learnt to never ask the question and let people volunteer info if they want to. I say mainly dismissive things - but i think am having a bad day and has all got a bit much.

Thanks all - am feeling bit better for talking about it actually...

iggypiggy Tue 11-Aug-09 15:17:13

blondes am glad is not just me! I too have been told that I shouldn't wait too long as people can have trouble if they leave it too late (thanks...) and I drove at a dinner party a month ago and was asked if I wasn't drinking for any reason i wanted to share with everyone (accompanied by a wink) - and I said quite truthfully that i was driving!!!

There is no way around this - i was just having a vent... you are all totally right - people don't mean to be rude and is fine to dismiss it, but my hormones make me a crazy woman and therefore cross about it... ho hum...

OhBling Tue 11-Aug-09 15:22:04

I hear you iggy. And feel for you with the MC this year.

Unfortunately, I think that 99% of people are just being friendly and interested and don't realise how sensitive it is. I find that even though it drives me crazy that everyone keeps asking me about it, I still find it's almost instinctive to ask people after they're married, "So do you want children then?"

I think your approach so far is good - a simple, "one day". Later you may want to change that. Because the truth is most of us don't realise that we all ask the same questions that everyone else already has. Five times. Today.

The other side of this that drives me mad is when speaking to a pregnant women, you'll make chit chat and inevitably they'll then say to me, "Ooh, you'll be next". And that one is harder for me because it's harder to fudge without outright lying. I'm practising saying, "I doubt it" because truly - I do! I always assume someone else will get pregnant before me!

fizzpops Tue 11-Aug-09 15:23:58

When I had just got married one of my male colleagues asked me if we were planning children. As it happened we were and very soon but I didn't want people to keep asking so I said 'no'. Fast forward 6 months and DD is on the way. 'Oh, I thought you weren't planning children for a while.' 'Oh well it happened sooner than we had thought it would.'

I didn't mind so much because I like this person and I know he was saying it to try and be interested in what was going on in my life even though he is at a totally different stage of his life. But I still thought, 'Why would I have told you all the details?' - I probably wouldn't have done anyway as I would have assumed he would be bored.

You could try saying, 'Give us a chance to enjoy being a married couple!' and make a joke of it.

I think it is really insensitive but there has been another thread on here saying how it is all just small talk. I think your situation shows that there is nothing small talk about it.

OhBling Tue 11-Aug-09 15:24:00

The one where people think you are pregnant and ask you actually is ruder in my opinion. Because if you ARE, and haven't said anything, you'd think even the dumbest person would realise it's because I don't want to say anything? Speculate away, I'm okay with that, but don't ask me outright and put me in a situation where I have to lie or be forced to tell you something I'm not interested in discussing.

iggypiggy Tue 11-Aug-09 15:35:59

ohbling is true - am sure I've asked it myself, although I was never much one for talking about children, so I don't think I have much... although I 100% hope I wouldn't ask now... You are right with pregnant woman... and a friend of mine has a 6 month old and she has in the past talked to me in great detail about how to conceive etc etc... which was amusing as I was pregnant at the time...

fizzpops I really like your suggested answer - going to try that too! And you are so right about it probably being small talk - but not actually being at all...

sleeplessinstretford Tue 11-Aug-09 16:14:34

my mums friend and friends mum said to her (as only an irish mother can)
"oh *mutual friend's* pregnant again-i know she's not married but how have her parents got x grandchildren and we're still waiting for you to have one"
to which she stood up and said 'because James has a low sperm count and we've been told we're unlikely to conceive naturally,now would you pass the gravy mother and not mention it again'
emotional aramgeddon...
i would never ask someone if they were pregnant or trying or anything like that-it's so fucking RUDE and personal,and none of my business.

WelliesAndPyjamas Tue 11-Aug-09 16:20:56

I'm guilty of it. I've asked people about their plans for having kids but it is really only because I'm interested/I think it would be lovely if they did have kids/I'm rying to make conversation.


iggypiggy Tue 11-Aug-09 16:23:23

wellies it would be lovely if I did too sad but is ok - I do really understand that people me to be nice by it... is just hard sometimes.

sleepless that is a good answer! Although my mum does know... although I have told her we are not ttc - just cos I don't want to discuss it...

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: