Things You Should Never Say to Couples Without Children

couple


Parents know what it’s like to hear the ridiculous questions and statements from their friends and family members regarding their reproductive systems and personal decisions. They ask when you’re going to try for baby number 2 30 seconds after baby number 1 enters the world. They ask if you’re going to breast feed. They ask if you’re having reproductive issues. They ask all kinds of questions that are none of their business and they make comments that are downright rude. Well, parents, the same thing happens to couples without children, too. And some of us are guilty of asking these questions and making these statements. Having a baby changes you and your entire life, but it doesn’t give us or anyone else the right to make rude, hurtful and nosy comments and questions to our childless friends. So before you go asking that childless couple why they’re not getting busy making a baby, go ahead and read over this list to see if your silly comment or question is on it. If it is, go ahead and assume you shouldn’t say a word.

When are you Having a Baby?

It’s a natural question that many people want to ask because they are curious and because it seems like good small talk. But it’s nosy and intrusive and very personal. You might as well ask them when they’re planning on having sex or if she’s ovulating. It’s really none of your business, and not all couples are willing to discuss such private issues with you. Additionally, it might bring up painful issues for them, such as infertility they’re secretly struggling with or financial issues that are preventing them from having kids.

Why Aren’t you Pregnant Yet?

Why are you nosy and rude? It’s an honest question, but that doesn’t make it polite. Some people aren’t interested in being parents right this very second, or next year, or ever. So asking someone why she’s not pregnant yet is a bit on the classless side. You might as well just ask her whether or not she’s suffering from issues getting pregnant or if she’s just choosing to remain childless.

I Bet your Parents are So Impatient

They might very well be very impatient to have a grandchild, but you shouldn’t be so presumptuous. Again, like many of the questions on this list, you might not know the full story as to why a couple isn’t jumping on the baby bandwagon. They might be in a bad place in their marriage, they might have been through three miscarriages this year; they might be just as impatient.

You’re Going to be a Great Mom; There’s Nothing to be Afraid Of

Why is it that so many of us assume women (or men) who are not yet parents are afraid of something? Were you afraid of being a parent before it happened for you? I wasn’t. I figured that women do it all the time and that I’d get it together. And I did; and I never once felt the need to tell other parents or non-parents that they shouldn’t be afraid. Though I have told them to get the epidural – that’s good stuff.

You’ll Understand When you have Kids of your Own

Sometimes people don’t want kids of their own so they don’t care if they understand. Sometimes people desperately want children and want to understand, but they don’t and they can’t and your words are hurtful. Don’t assume that non-parents don’t understand what your life might be like. Sure, they have no real idea, but they do understand that your priorities have changed and things are different. Cut them some slack.

The Clock is Ticking

This one; it’s just downright inappropriate. Why not just look at a woman and say, “You’re old, honey, you might want to get busy now before those eggs of your shrivel up and die,” instead of sugarcoating it like this. It’s not polite; don’t say it.

You’re not Getting any Younger

Please reference the above statement. Why must you point out the age of a woman? It’s not polite. Women are having babies older and older these days, so don’t assume that just because she’s 30 and not yet a mom means she’s running out of time.

This is Great Birth Control for You

Your kids might be great birth control for non-parents, but they also might make your childless friends ache on the inside with want and desire. You just don’t know unless they open up to you. If they say they don’t want kids, then it’s probably safe to assume they don’t. But if they just nod and laugh a little, you might have crossed over a painful line.

You’re So Lucky You can do Whatever You Want

Those who do not want kids do feel lucky that they can do whatever they want, but that doesn’t mean that they want to hear you complain about your own choices. Sure, the grass might be greener at 2 am when you’re up cleaning up a potty accident, but your friends don’t like hearing that you think they are lucky for not having kids – even if they don’t want them. And some women are struggling to have kids and can’t, and hearing you say things like this can tear them apart on the inside. Just be mindful that sometimes people don’t want the same things as you, and sometimes they want them so much it hurts.

You Don’t want a Family?

Here is something to be said about this question; what makes you so presumptuous as to assume that a childless couple needs a child to be a family? The two of them are a family; they do not need a child to make them into a family. Childless couples hate hearing this. If they’ve chosen not to have kids yet or ever, hearing this makes them feel as if you don’t consider them a family. If they don’t have kids because of circumstances out of their control, this question is hurtful in a completely different manner.

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177 thoughts on “Things You Should Never Say to Couples Without Children”

  1. Straight up, don’t feel the right to know people’s private information, it’s called private for a reason. However, I will ad, any time someone female says they are wanting/craving something, DO NOT instantly assume that they are pregnant.

    • Absolutely. It used to drive my wife up the wall that just because she wanted something sour at work (like sour apples) that must mean she’s pregnant. No, it means she liked sour apples and wanted some.

    • By the same vein, just because a woman in childbearing years is under the weather do not jump to the “you must be pregnant.” I do have kids, and that question annoyed me SO SO much after 10 years. Childless women (or women in general) can feel nauseous with things other than morning sickness for crying out loud!

      • I know! I once mentioned to a supervisor that I wasn’t feeling too hot (general nausea and fatigue.) She looked at me and immediately jumped to the conclusion that I was pregnant. My response? “Well, C, if I was, it would certainly come as a shock to my long-term monogamous girlfriend!” (Note: I wasn’t in a relationship at the time. And yes, C was an LGBTQ ally.)

      • I had a sour stomach one afternoon and the moment I put my hand to my stomach, my boss immediately was like, “You’re not pregnant, are you?!” I guess, in his defense, both of his daughters, a niece, and another woman in the same building are all pregnant right now. But nope, I’m pretty sure touching my own stomach does not mean I’m pregnant 🙂

  2. I second not asking a woman if she is pregnant every time she craves something and would like to add or when she is feeling sick. It is so irritating when I say “Ugh, I’m just not feeling good today.” and the first thing out of anyone’s mouth is “ARE YOU PREGNANT!?!?” No. I can’t have kids. Thank you for reminding me. Appreciate that.

    • I feel for you, if you read my comment, you’ll see my wife and I are in similar circumstances, though the infertility is from me, however, our situation has been further complicated by the fact my wife was injured at work and is now pretty much registered as disabled…

    • Yes, it is very painful to be reminded of one’s inability to bear children by other people’s thoughtlessness. And, sometimes, things like endometriosis make the whole fertility matter incredibly physically painful as well. Double whammy.

    • When I make that joke, it is to a friend who absolutely can NOT be, and does not WANT to be pregnant and will appreciate the humor. If I don’t know where that friend stands on wanting kids, or I know they want kids and for whatever reason can’t (now, or ever), I keep my mouth shut. And I’m always amused when a friend makes that joke with me–and annoyed when a stranger or casual acquaintance does.

    • It’s also not cool if you’re someone who really really doesn’t want kids. The idea of having an accidental unwanted pregnancy when you don’t want kids is terrifying and anxiety inducing. And if you happen to be someone who is a little paranoid about their physical well-being, that could lead you to be freaking out for days or weeks until you get your monthly.

  3. This is not a slight to the writer’s skills or thoughts in any way and as someone who has chosen not to reproduce I appreciate the sentiment of this article, but this should have been written by someone who has made the choice to not have children themselves, not a mother of 2.

    • Is it not possible that this is a woman who has struggled with infertility and rude questions prior to her two children? I agree that if she hasn’t experienced anything that she’s writing about that it is silly, but I think we don’t know her story.

      I also thought that this was spot on. Exactly the kind of things that are invasive and awful.

      • No, I don’t know her story, but she admitted herself that having kids changes people. She didn’t make the choice to remain childless and she has had the influence and experience of having and raising children. Yes, some couples struggle with infertility and that’s very sad, but there are those of us who flat out do not want kids ever and we are treated differently. If you haven’t experienced society’s reaction to you as a woman stating, “I don’t want to be a mother,” then you really can’t speak for us.

          • I understand that you are trying to play devil’s advocate here, but I am in no way attacking the writer or her personal history. In fact I was not the one who originally brought up her possible various histories with conception. I simply stated that it makes more sense for someone with no children to write an article about how people without children feel.

            • I’m actually not trying to play devil’s advocate. I’m just trying to make you think a little differently about what you’re saying. No one is saying you are attacking her or her story. We’re trying to say that you are making assumptions about her story as the basis for your opinion that she is not as qualified to be writing the article because she has children NOW. On one hand you are saying, “She didn’t make the choice to remain childless” and then at the same time saying “I’m the one who brought up possible various histories with conception.”
              You said “If you haven’t experienced society’s reaction to you as a woman stating, ‘I don’t want to be a mother,’ then you really can’t speak for us.”
              You don’t know that she hasn’t. That’s the point. If she’s experienced it, why does it not make sense that she can speak to it?
              Shrug.

          • Even if either of the pregnancies were unplanned, though, the author DID make the choice to actually have the baby AND keep and raise it. So yes, she did make the choice NOT to remain childless, because she didn’t have an abortion or put the child up for adoption.

        • It was rude. And a bit judgey. Just as with a childless woman, you don’t know anything about the writer other than that she does have children now. You don’t know how long she waited, or tried, or whether someone very close to her is childless. She may very well be able to relate to this subject matter – it’s entirely possible she lived through every bit of it.

          • As I clearly stated, I did NOT intend my comment to be rude. I just don’t think it makes scene for someone who has kids to speak for those who don’t. Good on her for sticking up for us, but it would have meant more coming from someone who isn’t currently raising children of her own.
            “Sure, they have no real idea”. This statement is a prime example of why I feel the way I do. Someone who doesn’t have kids would not have made this statement.

            • Although you may not have intended to be rude, clearly some perceived your comment as rude. So it kind of doesn’t matter your intent. Unless maybe that was your indirect way of apologizing for being rude.
              Stella hits it on the mark – it is unclear you how long this writer waited to have children. She may have experienced every single one of these comments first hand. Does that suddenly make her less empathetic or “unqualified’ to write on the topic?
              Why would it mean more coming from someone who never, ever had children? Isn’t she JUST as qualified (maybe more?)as she has been on BOTH sides of the fence – childless for an extended period (?) and now with children?
              Just a thought.

    • I agree, this does seem skewed toward people struggling with infertility. I have several friends and family members who have chosen to remain child-free, and they don’t get offended when others ask about their plans. They discuss my mother’s grandcats, or simply say that their lives are wonderful enough as is. My children are seen as a source of joy and humor and energy, and not as a reminder to use birth control. I understand that these comments can be hurtful to those who want children, but many couples have chosen their lifestyle and love it!

  4. Personally, as a woman who can’t bring a fetus to term and has great difficulty conceiving in the first place, I think every ignorant, nosy pos out there should read this and live by it! I’m as fed up as anyone in my situation with people opening their idiot mouths and,in the process, opening very old, very deep wounds!!!

    • My close friend tried for almost 10 years before she was able to conceive her second. I watched her reactions to thoughtless comments, and while they cannot have hurt me as much as they did her, they pissed me off.

      I hope you are able to have a miracle baby someday. And I hope you are able to find some peace, if not.

  5. I really don’t get it, we suffer across the globe from over-population, why on earth would people want to force people, who are iffy at best on wanting them in the first place, to have kids?

    Its like religion: its great if that works for you, but don’t assume everyone else needs to be ‘convinced’ to live your lifestyle.

    • Thank you! This is my exact point. We’re not trying to populate the planet, no one is required to breed. If someone chooses to abstain from having children that choice should not be ridiculed.

    • I mark it down to “misery loves company”. They can’t stand that childfree couples don’t have to deal with the downsides of kids (especially infants) and have free time and money to spend on their own pursuits. To ease their own pain they try to get everyone else to join them. That way they don’t have to see what they can’t have (happy, childfree people doing adult things).

  6. I understand that these questions can be very difficult for some people to hear. And it is most definitely considered rude for strangers or incidental aquaintences to be so presumptuous to speak so personally about family planning. But I sincerely hope the author has some close personal friends she feels comfortable in discussing personal matters. Indeed, she sounds like she is hurting over something traumatic but feels uncomfortable talking about it with anyone. Many people do not wish to appear nosey and in all actuality are either trying to make small talk to see if there is common ground for a deeper friendship, or maybe they sense something is wrong and are trying to make themselves available as a friend, confidant, or even just a sounding board. Just remember, even as someone’s choices in family planning may be misunderstood, so, also, can the intentions of those making the inquiries. Patience, compassion and comprehension are two way streets. My apologies if this came out preachy – that’s not my intention; its just some thoughts and opinions.

    • Those questions or statements coming from friends or family don’t hurt any less. After my husband and I got married, I heard the “when are you having kids” question for the first two or three years. I desperately wanted children, but my husband has fertility issues. When we had what was probably our one and only chance to have a child…I miscarried. I wanted to punch anyone who asked me when we were having children. And it’s funny how, once people realized we had fertility issues, they assumed it was MY issue. I’ve learned to accept and appreciate the life we have together. My husband and I, along with our pets, are a happy family of seven.

      • Yes… when my brother had infertility issues, my parents INSISTED that it was my sister-in-law’s fault. It couldn’t be OUR genes. Is it bad to want to punch your own parents? >_>

        Well, they got IVF treatment and have a baby. That gives me some slack about my own childless marriage. 😛

      • What a blessing you found a way to grow your family and share your love. And I agree that in your extremely stressful situation any comment at all would have felt like a knife in the heart. My thoughts were along more broader and general lines and I hope I have not hurt anyone with my comments.

    • This is far and away NOT the subject that one should broach in an attempt to make small talk or find common ground to “deepen a friendship”. If the only potential “common ground” one can muster is a biological function common to most mammals then it would probably be best to look for deep meaningful friendships elsewhere. If a friend doesn’t come to you looking for a confidant, sounding board, shoulder to cry on, etc don’t go looking to become one, you’re evidently not that close. I would be more comfortable discussing my mid-morning bowel movement that I would the ins and outs of my wife’s infertility.

      • Then what should I have done when I found out that an acquaintance at work – someone I got along with but we were only friends at work – in the same week had to bury a father then miscarried her baby, which made it her second miscarriage? Should I have just sat back and said to myself, “Its too bad I didn’t put forth any effort to develop a closer relationship with her, because I’ve burried a parent and had 4 miscarriages, and if nothing else, I could have just been there for her.”? Was I wrong to slip into the restroom behind her, make sure no one else was there, and offer her my condolences, my shoulder, and my compassion? You would have a hard time convincing me of that now because my attempt at “finding commom ground to deepen a friendship” really paid off and she is the oldest, nearest and dearest friend I have.

        Maybe my original comments above were too mild or too general. Of course there are many people who are just plain rude or thoughtless or nosey. One can usually tell by the tone of their voices and the words chosen what that person’s intentions are. After my fourth miscarriage one relative actually said, “Maybe you should just get fixed, God is obviously trying to tell you something!” Of course it was hard to hear insensitive words like that. But there were just as many consoling comments from people I barely knew.

        And since everyone wants to talk about specifics instead of just taking general thoughts as just that – general thoughts – If one is uncomfortable with a particular person speaking about a certain subject, one ALWAYS has the right to say, “I do not wish to speak about this with you and I would greatly appreciate it if you would not bring up the subject again.” Just as each individual is morally charged with the responsibility to NOT cause another’s pain or unhappiness, we are ethically ENABLED to stand up for our own rights, comfort and happiness.

    • “Many people do not wish to appear nosey…”

      But isn’t that exactly what they’re being? Why is it that the person who is having these questions inflicted upon them should be “patient and compassionate,” while the rude jerk who’s spewing the nosey questions should get off scot free? Sorry, I don’t hold with that philosophy. I feel that letting people get away with being rude just encourages them to be rude in the future. I don’t mean that I’ll punch somebody in the face or go off on a screaming rant because of statements like these, but I’m certainly going to look them in the eye and tell them, in plain language, “Who gave you permission to be this rude to me?”

      I even told my mother, once, after the whole “you’ll change your mind someday” thing (for the billionth time), that if she ever said it again, I would lean in to her ear and scream at the top of my lungs, since the stabbing pain in her ears then would resemble the stabbing pain in my brain from having to listen to her tell me that I wasn’t allowed to make my own decisions over and over. She started to get annoyed, then stopped to think about what I’d said, and actually apologized and hasn’t said it since, so clearly, this approach ahs some merit.

  7. “Sure, they have no real idea”? Really? I guess as a man I have no idea how it feels for women who get underpaid. I guess as a Caucasian I have no idea how it feels to be discriminated against. I guess as someone who has a little money in the bank I have no idea what it’s like to be broke.

    Mostly I was fine with this, if underwhelmed, but that line was a huge clunker for me. Speaking as someone who tried for years unsuccessfully, not that it’s anyone’s business.

    • Agreed. Sure, I haven’t BEEN through it, but that hardly makes me incapable of empathy or understanding. I mean, it’s not like there aren’t HUNDREDS of movies and TV shows and books and so forth that walk us through every step of it or anything. And no one who doesn’t have kids has EVER taken care of someone else’s kids on a regular basis or anything. A comment like “they have no real idea” is outright belittling and just as rude as anything else on this list.

      Actually, that should be right at the top, IMO. “You don’t know what it’s really like” is something you should never say to someone who’s childless. Yeah, we’ve got some clue, or we wouldn’t be so smug at you when you’re whinging about being up at 2 am cleaning up toddler urine.

  8. My husband and I chose not to have children, for many reasons. Many, many people have a big problem with this concept. I agree; asking childless couples some of these questions or making assumptions about them would be like me asking parents why they HAD kids. I know I’ve been judged (unfairly) for making this choice, but I happen to believe the decision to have a child is not something to be taken lightly, or for granted. For me, “that’s what you do after you get married” simply is not a good enough reason.

  9. I think there is a difference between speaking for us (in place of us) or speaking for us (as a sympathetic ally).
    I chose to wait and even from loving friends was treated like I didn’t know what I wanted when I did open up to them.
    I’ve had older men pat me on the head and say “soon” like I needed to be comforted; and women my own age say things like, “I never thought of you as ‘that kind’ of person.”
    I’ve had older women ask me about kids before they asked my name.
    I couldn’t be a kind, mature, or happy woman unless I had children. But that’s life. As far as I know, when I’m ready to try I’ll be able to. If I decide to adopt I’ll be able to. If I never do, I have a family who loves me and at the very least I love myself enough to do what is right for me.
    It’s nothing compared to the families who ache for children they lost or may never meet. The reason this matters is because of the emptiness they battle whenever that wound is opened by either a well-meaning or thoughtless comment. They are the reason.

  10. I agree… My husband and I have been trying for a baby for almost two years now. I’ve had two miscarriage and one molar pregnancy which I’m still recovering from (1 out of about 1000 pregnancy is a molar). This mole since it’s growing uncontrollably and as a mass of disorganized cells so I had to undergo a D&C to get rid of the tissue. When my husband and I went to the hospital for the D&C I just cried in the car saying they we’re going to kill my baby (I know it was irrational now). There’s nothing I want more than that so I’m going trough a depressive phase following this lost. Anyone who would say any of those to me could bring me to tears. It’s the hardest thing I’ve gone trough (I know that people have it worst than me, but it’s my worst). It’s also infuriating for me to not be able to try for a while until they make sure the mole doesn’t come back. My fertility specialist found no fertility issue… So there’s nothing they can do to help us, all we can do is keep trying.

    • That just makes no sense. I do have kids. If you don’t really want kids, it only makes sense not to have them. People have called some couples I know, including my own sister that, and I don’t get it. Kids are a big lifelong commitment, why do it if you’re not up for it? That wouldn’t be fair to the child(ren).

    • Yes, that’s probably even worse and more thoughtless. When I’ve thought about sparing my non-existent children from certain hereditary conditions in my family, from going to school and growing up where my husband and I chose to live (which is also 300 miles from our parents and siblings), from my inevitable worrying and overly protective nature, from this world and SOCIETY in general, “selfish” wasn’t what I was going for…

    • Actually, I think MANY people have children for TOTALLY selfish reasons… Like living their lives through their children, making sure they have someone to care for them in old age, having children as yet another possession to be shown off, etc… I am sure many parents are great/ sincere in why they have kids, but I do know A LOT of people who had kids because they pretty much wanted pets who could talk/ make them feel important for being for being “parents”..

      • Right–if you ask people why they have children, it is all about something they want. Often it has to do with having a genetic heritage, though not in those words, or “someone to love” as if there aren’t already enough people existing who need love. What unselfish reasons are there to create a child? Most people don’t give it much thought, just something they want, and it is romanticized by culture so most people don’t have a clue about what they are doing.

        • Thank crumpets. Soo good to see reasonable people. I always get hounded about having my own kids. I dont like children. Annoying and needy. If I ever did change (ha!) Id pool all of my resources into helping as many as I could instead of wasting time and resources on something that has variable copies of my chromosomes. There are so many kids that need a safe loving family.

    • I hate that one. I think many people bring children into the world for selfish reasons. Me deciding to NEVER give birth was a self-LESS choice. I’m not bringing a life and soul into this world to fulfill MY wants and desires (carrying on the genes, carry on the name, accomplish something I couldn’t…). I’ve screwed up enough in life, I don’t need to add that COLOSSAL screw-up to it.

    • Yes, because it’s so selfish for me to not want to further burden this already overpopulated world, half of whose inhabitants are starving.

    • That one has gotten people far more information than they ever bargained for with me. I lay out my extensive abuse history, mental illnesses, medical issues that make pregnancy stupidly dangerous for me, and the reality that 70% of parents who grew up in abusive homes become abusive themselves. I finish that tirade telling them that I’m not selfish. I simply have the good sense to recognize I’m one of those people who have no business raising children. I also like to ask if there were any other assumptions they would like to make about me today. My hope is that I flood them with so much information that they never make the mistake of saying that to anyone ever again.

  11. My decision to not have children is not a judgment against you for having kids. I have never wanted children, but I am also the first person to get stupidly excited when my
    friends announce that they’re expecting because their happiness makes me happy. I like watching those kids grow up and seeing which traits of my friends emerge. (Just don’t ask me to hold a baby. I will ooh, ahh, and admire it from a safe, drool & spit-up free distance.)

    For whatever reason, that excitement and happiness I feel for my friends has never translated into a desire to do it for myself. If anything, watching my friends have children has made me even more certain that it’s just not for me, but that’s okay. Life would be boring if we were all the same and wanted all the same things.

    • This is a great response! Some people love babies, some don’t. As a new mom, I had a few child-free friends who would come and hang out with me. It was wonderful! They happily let me hold and rock the baby, and we would have great conversations. They wanted to help, so a lot of times a load of laundry would get done, or dinner would get cooked, all while I held my baby. Thanks to those friends who love my kids with their whole hearts, just not at a drool distance!

    • Same for me. I was 15 when I said the first time that I didn’t feel like I ever wanted to give birth. I’m almost 35 now and still feel the same. Not as much as a tick-tock even as my friends/close relatives start to have kids.

      I love my niece and my best friend’s little boy (I feel like an aunt there), and I’ve become much more tolerant around babies. Just don’t leave me alone with one, or have me take care of a baby/child under the age of 3 😉
      I’ve worked around/with kids in schools and kindergarden, and think they’re (mostly) awesome to be around but, no, I have no desire to become a mom.
      I’ll be one heck of a great aunt though, and I love watching my niece and almost-nephew grow up with a great fascination.

  12. Really good advice about couples without kids. Several of these can be addressed for singles as well. It’s like you’re supposed to find a partner and reproduce, or something is wrong with you.

    My ABSOLUTE favorite comment to a single (heavy sarcasm here) isn’t as much a question as a very typical comment, you can/often will get when you say you don’t want children: “Just wait till you meet the right man/woman”.

    That comment is truly slap-worthy.

    I don’t know how common it is for single men to get this line, but as a single woman to say she doesn’t want kids, it’s pretty inevitable to hear this at least a few times. Especially while being in your 20’s
    (I’ve personally experienced it less since I turned 30, and still said I don’t feel like giving birth myself. I finally sunk in with most people who know me).

  13. I never had kids, and I don’t ever want them. That’s not to say I don’t love my girlfriend’s daughters, but I met them when they were 11, the little kid phase was over. I have a good answer for when people ask why I don’t want kids. I know myself. I know I would be a terrible parent. I have major depression and bipolar disorder. I have mood swings no child should ever have to witness. That’s not to mention I can’t stand little crying beings I can’t communicate with. So hells no, I do NOT want little kids thank you. You can keep your emotional roller coaster with legs, I have enough of my own problems!

  14. Yup. One of my friends is childfree, we were childless for years. (we finally had a baby a year ago) Neither of us appreciate these kinds of nosy, intrusive comments

  15. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told that “you should at least have one.” Why? To be even more sure that I DON’T WANT ONE? It’s not a puppy, I can’t return it.

  16. Never have kids if you don’t truly want them. Kids know when they are not wanted and they will spend the rest of their lives believing nobody else wants them around either. Don’t put such a curse on an innocent being!

    • There’s a difference between not wanting a kids and neglecting one. Sure, some people who don’t want kids might neglect them. However, a lot of parents who want kids neglect them too. Personally, I don’t want children. I have never had the urge in my whole life, not even as a small child. However, if I ever had an oopsie, I would never ever neglect my child or let them ever believe they weren’t wanted.

  17. It gets frustrating and it hurts to get asked those questions.
    I have in the last year been diagnosed with a chronic disease where I was advised by my doctor that until I’m in remission if I fell pregnant there would be considerable risk to both me and the baby.
    Add on to that now I have a 10-15% chance of passing it on has me unsure.
    But people still come up to me and ask and (even worse) tell me I’m really missing out. 🙁

  18. Thank you all for your comments and insight. I agree that
    there are so many more comments and questions that apply and should be included
    with this list! I’ll say that I believe the vast majority of people who ask
    these questions and make these comments have no idea how thoughtless they come
    across; some are making small talk, some just don’t think first. I don’t think
    the majority of people (I’ll say me, too, since I’m guilty of many of these in the
    past) think that their seemingly innocent comment could be considered hurtful
    to some.

    For those who have addressed my own personal experience with
    this issue, here goes (I’ll try to be concise):

    I actually have four children now, but I was once a
    child-free woman. My husband and I were married several years before we decided
    we wanted kids. We weren’t sure for several of them when/if kids would be a
    part of our lives, and we endured these endless questions. There was a lot of, “If
    your aunt asks me one more time if there is anything wrong with my uterus…”
    mumbled ringing doorbells on holidays. After we were married a few years, we
    decided to have a baby.

    Fast forward 7 years and we have four beautiful kids, and we’ve
    suffered two miscarriages, a very difficult pregnancy and a week-long NICU stay
    following 12 weeks of bed rest. Our first daughter was a simple pregnancy. Everything
    was a dream. While I never suffered from infertility, I did miscarry twice
    between our two oldest. The first miscarriage happened Mother’s Day 2010. Few people
    even knew we were expecting when we lost that baby or the baby after that, and
    the, “When are you going to have another baby?” “She needs a baby sister or
    brother,” “Isn’t it time to try for that boy yet,” “You’re not getting any
    younger and those things stop working, you know,” began to take on a completely
    different meaning. We smiled politely and changed the subject often. I cried…a
    lot. It hurt. I couldn’t understand the hurtful comments and how people did not
    see how hurtful they truly were to someone trying so hard to have another baby
    and continuously having those babies taken from me before they had a chance. It
    was difficult – and I still think of those babies every day. This experience taught
    me that people mean well, but they often just don’t understand the impact their
    innocuous comments can have on a woman or a man.

    When I finally became pregnant with our second daughter, it
    was a difficult pregnancy. We spent many days in the doctor’s office with
    issues, we had many ultrasounds, several of them second level and many of them
    with scary news. Thankfully – she’s perfect and beautiful and amazing, and she’s
    pretty much a stubborn little monster who makes us crazy on an almost daily
    basis; and we love her so much. She’s four now.

    When we made the decision to have a third baby, we were VERY
    surprised at 18 weeks to find out we were actually having twins (and on a fun
    note, our good friends were due to have a baby just two days after us and they
    found out two weeks after that they were also having twins, and we ended up
    delivering 4 days apart, so that’s a fun story and experience for all of us). I
    was put on moderate bed rest at 24 weeks, solid bed rest at 28 and I ended up going
    into labor at 36 and 6 and we had to spend about a week in the NICU with a 3
    lbs. 15 oz. little girl and a 5 lbs. little boy. They’re happy, healthy,
    beautiful, vibrant, EASY babies who just turned one last weekend.

    So I’ve been on both sides of the fence. And if any of you
    are parents of twins or higher-order multiples, you know that the comments
    single people, parents of one, parents of two and so on receive are nothing compared
    to the invasive questions and horrid comments mothers and fathers of multiples
    receive (a lot of personal questions, a lot of “Are they natural,” – as opposed
    to unnatural? “How did you breast feed two” – because we all love discussing
    our breasts with strangers in the supermarket “OMG. You know how that happens,
    right?” “You have to be done now, right?”)

    All parents were NOT parents at some point, and most of us
    will hear some variation of these comments at some point. It’s important to
    remember, in my opinion, that people typically mean well, they just don’t know
    better. Hey, we live and we learn. Experience is the best teacher. Trust me; I know.

    • Thank you for understanding that some people are just making small talk. I do agree that some of these questions are very rude, but the comments i have read on this board are much worse than; “are you going to have a second child?” not everyone is trying to be invasive and mean so people shouldn’t get so offended.

      Also when people say, “you don’t completely understand,” non-parents are trying to tell the parent how to take care of their child and what they’re doing wrong. So there’s two sides to everything. Having said that, i do understand where the writer of this article is coming from.

    • Nothing wrong with fencesitting if you’re not sure. Better than having a kid when you’re not sure if you actually want them. Kudos for thinking about it beforehand. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly.

  19. I will say this, as a single parent, it will change your world, for the better or it could be for the worse. I for one think it has been the better for me, but thats me. If one chooses not to have kids, thats just fine, dont have kids. Cause your life might be fulfilled without one. In fact I feel if you dont want kids and had them, it wouldnt just be unfair to you, but those children as well. Parenthood is a very draining thing and if you choose not to have any, I for one would understand. I love my kid, he is most of my world. But for those who feel people without kids should have one, I ask this, what more in your life could you accomplish if you didnt have any? just think about that. Think of the music you love. The movies you watch. The artist you enjoy. Ect. Ect. How much of our world would be changed if some of those who created the things in our world had kids…… Life as we enjoy and know it, would be far different.

  20. Of course it’s every person and couple’s right and responsibility to not have children should they feel they are not equipped to raise them. But as a parent of four, who in the beginning thought I felt that way too, if you ask me for any advice or comment, here’s what I will say: Think twice. You will be missing out on one of the biggest gifts the universe has to humble and truly wisen we inherently selfish, materialistic and shallow creatures.

    1. Being pregnant was the first time in my life I had to live healthily for the benefit of another human being. it was the first time I had to eat properly, sleep properly, avoid things that are bad for me. Never before had I really had to exercise true self discipline, to learn to tolerate discomfort and even pain for a purpose. I absolutely grew into a better human being because of it. I totally credit my four pregnancies with my ability at age 42 to train for and finally complete a marathon, even with a cranky knee. There really are no other substitutes for what you learn by either being pregnant or being in a loving, committed relationship with one who is. Men/non-pregnant partners can also learn a lot from the whole experience should they choose to be awake and aware and make the same commitments to parenting that you do.

    2. Having children allows you the opportunity to further master the habits of positive self discipline and self-improvement for longer than any other task you will complete over time. Medical school and neurosurgery residency is shorter than raising a child through all the twists and turns of his or her childhood to adolescence, and even beyond. And it is there throughout your entire adulthood, demanding you manage all the other things you do without failing your kid.

    3. Contrary to everything you may have heard about parents being burned out and miserable, I soon learned how to give myself plenty of what I needed to be happy and healthy at the same time I was earning a decent living, getting an education, and being a contributing member of my community while raising children. But because of my kids, I also found it harder and harder to sacrifice what I believed in just for the sake of a job, a paycheck, a degree, my peers in the Booster Club’s approval. My children, and really my concern about all children, gave me the courage and insight to take action to make positive changes in my workplace, in my kids schools and in their extracurricular activities–things that made life easier for the folks coming up behind them and me. My struggle to be a genuine person for my kids has meant that I am a more authentic and healthily selfish person now because that is what I learned to be in order to make my children’s lives better.

    4. Putting family first means having a partner with whom you work to run the most important business on the planet: a family that turns out caring, hard-working, conscientious human beings. It means putting that fellow parent, my spouse, above all other adults in the world because our healthy relationship is the very foundation of my kids stable, loving home. My heart often breaks for my childless friends who’s careers demand ridiculously long hours, intrusion into their off hours and demands that all outside work takes a back seat to the job. They have barely enough time to squeeze in mini vacations or even meaningful weekends at home and find they are neglecting to nurture their intimate relationships-even if they don’t want to– because they rationalize it with the fact that “its not like I have a family”. Somehow, an adult will never make you take the kind of stock about what matters in this short life like a child will.

    So there. I will not assume for you or anyone else what you can or cannot do, should or should not do. But if someone asks you a “rude” question about why you are not having kids, consider that it may be because they want you to share in the joy, not insult you.

    • However, you seem to be one of these people who can “easily” fall pregnant, I’m assuming that you never had any trouble with conception and that you have no health issues that may well cause you harm if you fall pregnant. The “rudest” things that are usually said are said by the most well meaning of people and are usually uttered without forethought…

    • God, I hate this kind of crap. “YOU ARE MISSING OUT ON THE GREATEST GIFT!” Um…no, sorry, I’m not. I’ve thought way more than twice, and this so-called “gift” is not one that I want. EVER. Let me address your points one at a time:

      1. I have plenty of self-discipline, willpower, and pain tolerance. In fact, given that without medication my period is enough to put me on my knees, physically unable to stand upright from the sheer force of muscular contraction, and that this happens EVERY MONTH, I’ve probably got a higher pain tolerance than you. As for eating, sleeping, and “being healthy,” if you need the crutch of “being pregnant” for that to happen, I can confidently say that I’m better at it than you, too, since I do all those things for MYSELF.

      2. I don’t need kids to continue my journeys of self-improvement, either; that is an ongoing and constant quest, pursued through many tasks and many venues. I have three college degrees and it’s easier to list the things I’m not good at than the things I am good at. Furthermore, I have plenty of time to devote to my tasks, without small ones demanding my attention all the time.

      3. Funny, I seem to have no trouble whatever standing up for what I believe in, or refusing to compromise my principles, or even being a “genuine person.” I’m starting to think that you at least think that you were a total trashy scumbag before you have kids. Let me assure you, many of those of us who are childless suffer no such sad delusions.

      4. Never had a problem telling an employer that I wasn’t going to neglect my own health–and even have had bosses try to tell me that “it’s not like you have a family,” to which my reply was a very firm, “I am not a robot, I am a human being, and I don’t have to have kids in order to need to take care of myself. I am not available to work those extra hours. Period.”

      So there. Take your EXTREMELY RUDE judgmentalism that you did NOT manage to disguise behind your “I won’t assume” crap, fold it until it’s all sharp corners, and go make yourself need some Preparation H with it.

      • Her reasons were awful! If I wanted to give a good reason why you should have children it would be because you seem like a strong person who has a lot of knowledge and can impart that to a child which will improve the next generation and society as a whole. Time management and self discipline, seriously? Anyway, I don’t want children either, never have.

        My periods are horrible too. My cramps are so bad sometimes that I can’t eat or drink anything because I will immediately vomit it up. Ironically, menstrual cramps are supposed to be better after you have a child which when I am curled up in a ball in bed is a better reason to have a kid than any she listed.

    • You seem to have used pregnancy and parenting as motivation for personal growth, which is great. There are too many people, however, who have babies for selfish or even unthoughtful reasons–those people may remain selfish, materialistic and shallow–there is no guarantee that they will use the experience to become emotionally mature or healthy. Their children are pretty much guaranteed to have emotional issues that they will struggle to overcome.
      On the other side, although you do not see any other substitutes for what you learned, that is not the reality for everyone. Life is full of experiences that require a person to become aware and to grow–whether a person actually does it will vary.
      Some people will have already had experiences, perhaps being required to care for younger siblings, that make them aware of the need to be unselfish. Don’t project your experience, however wonderful it seems to you, as universal

    • What you are missing is I actually feel very equipped to be a mother. However, I can remember being 5 years old and not wanting children! I have no desire, none, zero, zip, nada. I have a niece who adores me who I have babysat for quite a bit. Everyone who sees us together is shocked that I don’t want kids. All that babysitting I have done I thought might spark an inclination for children – or at least, that’s what’s implied by society – and nope, it didn’t. You know that as a woman, you hold a baby and it’s a magical experience, not for me.

      Your reasons are terrible. Having children because it instills in you better time management or self discipline are a horrible reasons. I don’t deny it requires better time management but not something I would say is a ‘perk.’ Many of us have self discipline without children. You must be financially well off that you can have mini-vacations and feel sorry for those working long hours. Workaholics love their jobs or really want to climb the corporate latter. If not, then they need or want the money. Their priorities are different and they don’t need your pity, it’s condescending.

    • I want to share in that joy, too. and every single time someone asks/says something like this, I want to curl up in a little ball and cry. So, please, shut up about all the joy I’m missing out on unless you are expressly asked. Those who don’t want to be parents won’t change their minds because of your bliss, and those who do already know, and it kills them to be reminded of what they are missing. I love being around other people’s kids. It gives me great joy and helps to fill some of the void I feel in not having my own. What does not is to be told that I’ll never know what real love is unless I have one of my own – thank you so much for twisting the knife.

  21. I’m selfish.

    I’m deliberately choosing to remain childless just to spite my mother.

    I’m an inferior being for not having children.

    I’m never going to understand love.

    Heard it all. And I’ve stopped being polite about it in response. No, I don’t “hate your kid”. I hate everyone’s kid.

  22. Yea these all hit right on the nose with me, I’m a 31 year old lady, in a committed relationship with my boyfriend of almost 4 years.
    Neither of us wants children for many, MANY reasons (genetic health issues on both sides is a large factor, as are finances) I’m immensely lucky that my parents don’t try and pressure me for grandchildren, but everyone else, including close, child rearing friends, like to poke at that aspect of my life sometimes, its annoying.
    And no, just because I’m nauseous, craving something, achy or anything else does not mean I’m pregnant, I’m getting older and have many genetic health problems, or just having a bad day.
    Its sometimes astonishing how thoughtless so many people can be.

  23. “You’ll change your mind some day/ regret this”,…. 35 years post husband’s vasectomy in his 20s… still just fine with our choice to be a family of two…

    • I Had a tubal in 2007 at 28. Gyn questioned me for my first 3 annuals. I had no regrets. Still don’t. I do get twinges of, ‘I want to snuggle a baby’, but it doesn’t have to be MY baby–I’m content with my brother’s kids.

      • What magic words did you use to convince your doc to do it? I’m 26. I want to adopt kids, not have biobabies. I can’t find a doctor to do it! “You’re too young.” “You’ll change your mind.” “You’ll regret it someday.”

        • On top of just plain not wanting kids, I have been told that pregnancy would be dangerous for me, and I manage those medical issues with drugs that are FDA Category D which means they are proven to cause birth defects. I still couldn’t get a doctor to agree to sterilize me until I hit my 30s and had an IUD for 5 years as a waiting period.

        • Honestly I just have an awesome GYN. I expressed concern about my genetics (depression and cancer run heavily in my family). She DID ask what if I changed my mind, and I said that, should that happen, I was leaning toward adoption anyways, because (my personal belief) there are plenty of kids already born who need homes. And frankly, if I did regret it, that would be on me, and me alone.

          I have seen others say that to convince their doctor to do it, they mentioned it each year they went in, always with a rational list of reasons (“I hate kids” may be the actual reason–it was for me, but other more factual reasons go further). I would just say keep trying.

  24. my ex- and I were married for 21 years. She had had 2 daughters previous to our marriage. After 5 years of being married, and no pregnancies, we went to the doctor. The tests came back that I had a low count…..in many ways, I was relieved, because at the time, I wasn’t ready for kids. We’d discussed it, she wanted them, I was ambivalent, but if they came along, they were going to be treated the best I could, because anything less than that is wrong. It’s not the child’s choice to be created, it’s the parents’ choice. We take the consequences of our choices and live with them, do the best we can by those consequences, and live our lives. My brothers have had kids, they’re happy. I have not had kids, I’m happy. Why assume that I need to be a father to be happy? My brothers will carry on our legacy, I don’t have to be the torchbearer every time.

      • Heavens no! If I know someone well enough to ask any of the questions above, I wouldn’t need to ask them in the first place. Most of those questions are personal and should be disclosed when someone wishes to, not before.

  25. I always hate the comment “You don’t understand because you don’t have kids.” You are right that I may not understand your specific situation, but do you know how annoying this is to hear as a childless person. I always respond with “I do understand and THAT’S why I don’t have kids.”

    • id rather die alone and happy then some figure who will eventually forget me, cuz I would know what kind of awesome life I have build over the years then sat working 9-5 for 25 years raising your kid so he can tell me good bye at my funeral, it’s just not worth the time

  26. Here are some more for you:
    1. You should look into adoption/being a foster parent/in vitro.
    2. You should have (fill in the blank who has a large family) show you how it’s done. (Actually said to me at a grandparents funeral)
    3. Have you had his sperm tested?
    4. Sometimes losing weight helps.
    5. Maybe you should relax and stop trying; the stress of trying makes some people have trouble.

  27. The, “you’ll understand when you have children” line is usually delivered right after a childless friend says something stupid about a child or parenting style in my presence. Sorry, not taking that one off the table.

    • Take it off the table if you want to keep your friends. They have as much (or little, as the case may be) right to their opinion as your friend WITH kids has. If you know for absolute certain that it’s by choice then respond however you want. but if you don’t, you risk hurting someone far more deeply than their misplaced opinion could possibly hurt you. You might try, “I appreciate that you care about them/me, but I know my kids better than anyone else, and you are mistaken.” or something along those lines. THAT you can say to anyone who makes a stupid comment – from the know-it-all, self-proclaimed super-mom to the friend who has never changed a diaper, and you won’t end up deeply wounding the friend who cries herself to sleep every night desperately wishing she had a child to love. You have those children; you can afford to avoid being mean and you can make your point without doing so – your friends care about you and your kids (if they don’t, they shouldn’t be your friends), so what they are saying is meant with love, whether they are right to say it or not. Try remembering that next time.

    • Do you think that your child-free friend wasn’t parented themselves? Many child-free people also have a lot of experience caring for an influencing children, which certainly relates. Oh yeah, and they have experience with life. Agree with @disqus_JJLw7QGF0u:disqus that taking it off the table would help you keep your child-free friends. And maybe keeping an open mind before discrediting those “stupid” ideas will help you be more open and accepting to various viewpoints. Or take a nugget and expand on it in a different way to benefit your own life. An example of this is when I incorporated what I learned from training dogs into managing a human team in corporate america… with success. Then I read business books that applied the same principles.

  28. The one I really hate is “I’ll give you one of mine” – usually said when the kids are being bratty or crying. As someone who desperately wanted children, but was unable (for several reasons) to have them, this comment would tear my heart out. I know you don’t want to give them up, that this is a sarcastic comment, but it’s so cold and hurtful.

    • I hear you. I have a sister in law to be who tried to shame me/boost her confidence that way. She talked to me when we were both having issues. She got pregnant, and at her shower said in front of everyone, oh! you should have a baby!! All I could do was smile and slowly walk away. We were talking about this before but as soon as she was expecting, threw me under the bus. I felt we had made ground as sister in laws to be, but apparently not. She hasn’t married my brother in law yet, but I am now suspecting her getting pregnant talks with me with no so much about getting to know me, but as to how to trap her man.

  29. This also applies to single women. Some women want to be married with children and aren’t, some have chosen to be that way, but all of these apply to that situation too. Anyone who tells me I don’t/won’t understand until I have kids of my own will rapidly find themselves with one less friend. I understand just fine, thank you very much, and it is not by choice that I don’t have kids (and likely never will). Making a comment like that tells me that you are the one who just doesn’t/can’t understand. The other one I hate is “I would never have kids after age (insert number lower than my current age, here). Women who do are crazy.” Well, then I guess I’m crazy to want that – thanks SO much for calling me crazy.

  30. I think this all has to do with your relationship with the friend/family. If they are comfortable talking about this stuff with you, then you already know it. If your not sure it means you are not close enough to discuss these things. I can think of only two of my friends that I would/have discussed these things with.

  31. I am child-free by choice. I am so tired of people telling me I am selfish because I refuse to breed. Why am I selfish for not having something I don’t want. I work two jobs and still can’t afford to have children but I am deemed selfish for not bringing kids into an overpopluated world and allow my tax payer neighbors to feed them. In fact having kids is selfish. Think about it. Ask yourself why you have kids. It will start with well I WANTED…..someone to love me, someone to take care of me, a mini me….etc.Not everyone has to breed!

    • When I ask myself why my wife and I had our daughter, I answer myself this: I am happy my parents made the decision to have me and I will sacrifice to give my child love and hope. My parents are not perfect and neither am I. People are broke and people get sick. I have cancer and my wife is diabetic. So what? Life will never be perfect. You will never make enough money or be as prepared as you would like. That’s ok. If your parents had not sacrificed, you would not exist. Would you be happy if your parents never had you? When your parents had you, would you consider that “breeding”? I would hope not 🙁

      • Wow. That is such a limited and judgmental view (in my opinion, of course).

        So is it I should make the same decisions as my parents did (or have them decide my life decisions for me)? Because by that logic I should probably make some of the same hateful and damaging decisions my father did and destroy my family.

        Or is it that the only way I can “sacrifice” in my life is doing as my parents did by having a child – this is the only way to have that quality? Because there are so, so many other ways to “sacrifice” or give to other beings without having children. Volunteering and serving others, making charitable donations, being a Big Brother or Big Sister to the less fortunate, saving the life of animals on death row, and so on. Or adopting if you want children but don’t want or can’t have them physically. There are so many ways in the world to find love and hope, physically having a child is only one way of many. Some of the most selfless, sacrificial people I know do not have children and devote all of their spare time and funds to saving animal, helping children that aren’t their own, and more. While it’s not even their own responsibility nor what they themselves brought into the world.

        But at the end of the day, whatever way you look at it, this is a *personal* decision that does not involve anyone other than the two people making the baby. And no one else, including whatever their parent did. Parents aren’t perfect, and certainly shouldn’t make the decisions for their adult offspring.

      • “Would you be happy if your parents never had you / would you consider that ‘breeding’?”

        Well, for one, I wouldn’t exist so I wouldn’t have to worry about being happy or sad. As for the “breeding” comment, pretty much. Humans are animals and animals breed, therefore, copulating with pregnancy and miniature humans as a result is breeding.

      • By your reasoning every month a woman doesn’t get pregnant she is depriving someone of life. Every egg that goes unfertilized is a person she didn’t create. That makes no sense. You can’t have feelings for non-existent people. That is not a valid reason to get pregnant. Everyone that bugs me about not having kids says things like: “but I just don’t know where I would be without my kids and grandkids” <– selfish. "Being a mom is the greatest feeling in the world" <— selfish. I could go on. I happen to love kids. I've spent my life taking care of kids and everyone always told my husband it was just a matter of time before I would want to have some of my own. But we both knew it wasn't going to happen. There are plenty of ways to have kids in your life without birthing them yourself. So many kids need help. If I had my own, I wouldn't be able to help the ones I do. But yeah, people see me as selfish.

  32. I love not having kids, I will have children when I’m ready and willing to care for them as they deserve. I want to make sure I’m ready mentality and financially:)

  33. Me and hubby married for 5 years. Pressured for being asked and teased by people around us. We are trying to be polite with them in response. Now thinking if I would be a great parent at all to bring up good people in this society or its just we are not able physically??? Tired of being asked and being expectant. Me myself trying to picture life without kids and look at the lifestyle in different perspective and convincing my hubby with it.

  34. This was one of the big things that split my ex and me up. When she found out she couldn’t have kids,We were both upset but, I loved her, she began pushing me away until we were strangers and then she left for someone else who couldn’t have kids.

  35. Personal choice not to have kids….when some relative said to me ‘Your parents deserve grandchildren’ my response was ‘In that case they can go have them’ – they never mentioned it to me again!!

  36. You mean as opposed to using the phrase ‘child-free,’ which implies that having children is something that imprisons you and escape from that state is desirable?

    • No, I don’t Ara. Shame on you for being just as polemical about this as the author. The point is for all people to enjoy reproductive freedom and be conscious about the socio-cultural forces which can shape choice beyond their own will. These go beyond the narrow frame of reference of the writer, and clearly your black and white view too.

      • Clearly you have a preferred phrase in mind to convey the state of not having born children. As you have indicated it is not ‘childless’ or ‘child-free,’ would you care to share this unoffensive and encompassing phrase with the pitiably uneducated creatures that are, most distressingly, not your luminous self? It might help advance this discussion of manners more than simple, directionless insults.

        Or perhaps you would prefer to simply continue stating the obvious and being condescending? I just want to make sure that I am allowing you full conversational freedom, even at the cost of meaningful discourse and learning. You have full right to be as disputatious as you like, after all.

  37. On rare occasions when it comes up, I sometimes mention that I dont plan to have kids of my own, but that I might adopt one day. I never thought that was anything more then a simple comment that most people wouldn’t say anything about. I don’t think I’ve ever had someone not say something ‘extreme’ after hearing that. People would immediately ask me if I was unable to have kids or if I had some horrible genetic problem I didn’t want to pass down. When I would say that no, I just think it would be nice to adopt, I don’t really feel the need to spread my own genes but one day when I am financially and emotionally ready I think it would be nice to have children I could help support and raise- children that will exist in the world regardless of what I do but likely with far less opportunities, they ask why don’t I just have my own kids then? ._. I would never tell someone else to adopt, why would someone tell me to ‘get over it and have my own kids’? They will be ‘my own kids’ after I adopt them, that’s sort of the point.

  38. They REALLY need to add, “Just stop trying and it’ll happen” to this list for people with fertility issues. I heard that so many times I started wanting to punch people.

    • Yes! My husband and I have been trying to work around my PCOS and the fact that it prevents me from ovulating. I have to count days, take pills to make me ovulate, then pee on a stick every day so I know when and if I did ovulate. Then, even if not in the mood, we have to do the deed and hope it works this time. Tell me again how I’m supposed to not think about it and let it happen? When people say this to me I want to cry.. or punch them in the face. So hurtful.

  39. Most folks I know should have never been parents. They aren’t very good at it. Once the baby shower is finished and their little bundle of reality sets in they are overwhelmed.

  40. The other is the assumption of finances. “Oh are you just waiting to have more money because you’ll never feel ready you just have to do it”.

    Or how about marital issues, some people really want to have children but they are too busy trying to survive their marriage. Think about the pain of so many people whose marriage is hanging on by a thread. Think about those who feel trapped in their marriage due to the commitment they made, social obligations, money, family, even love of their spouse but they aren’t in a happy marriage and they know their time is ticking but as much as their heart desires children they won’t bring children into a dysfunctional home.

    On the reverse side too someone shouldn’t assume that just because people aren’t having children doesn’t mean they are having trouble at home.

  41. I can see how these questions would be very hurtful to a couple trying to have kids but can’t. In my case it’s a choice and I’ve learned to shrug off most of these questions and understand that most of the people who ask them have good intentions. If they don’t let the conversation go and keep harping on it then I just become passive aggressive and politely mention that their children are going to grow up in and participate in the destruction of the overpopulated planet where nations will be at world war vying for the Earth’s last precious resources and that usually shuts them up.

  42. My wife and I have been married for 3 years and yes, we do want children in the future. We’ve talked extensively about artificial insemination and especially adoption 🙂 Over and over again, even from family members we hear, ” But you can’t have kids, you’re both girls.” “Who would carry it? Probably you because you’re more of a girl.” “Will they have to call one of you daddy?” These are very rude and hurtful. Personally, I cannot carry children due to medical complications. My wife can and wants to, but we aren’t ready for children AT ALL at this point in our lives. I think the most hurtful question I’ve heard so far is, ” Why would you adopt? They wouldn’t even be your actual family.” It saddens me how closed-minded a lot of people are. Hopefully one day, it won’t be that way anymore.

  43. Clearly you have no kids. Because when you do, you will be asking all these questions to people who dont. I’m a brand new father who had no intentions of having a kid. And until you do, you will never understand how empty your life really is

  44. So… I’m just going to not ask any questions, or care about any couple at all. That sound good? I mean, yes you can be sensitive and not be pushy or judgmental but would it be that bad just to ASK? Like, if you’re my friend – isn’t it normal for me to ask about your life?

    • Of course it is normal to talk to your friends and ask them about their lives. For example, a good question to ask a married, established couple is, “So what are you guys thinking about kids?” This allows your friend to choose what they feel comfortable telling you without you sounding pushy. If they think children are not for them, then you don’t need to ask the types of questions listed in the article. If they say they want to have children and years go by without them having children, you STILL don’t need to ask anything more nosy than, “How’s it going on the baby front?” because it is up to them to decide whether or not to tell you.

      I think the main point to be taken away from this article is to not assume things. Not every couple wants or can have children. And not every friend wants to share such a deeply emotional problem as wanting a child and not being able to have one with people outside of their partner and family.

  45. People make the same rude comments everytime they see you at a family wedding and you’ve been dating the same person for a few years. “When are you two getting married.” After you’re married the next question is “When are you two going to start having a family”. I got so sick of it. People just need to keep their thoughts about such things to themselves. Some people don’t feel the need to conform to “society’s norm” and why should they? We are all free to make our own choice based on personal feelings that are nobody elses business. It’s that simple and those who see themselves in the examples above should stop asking the questions they ask. Plain and simple it’s personal. I’m sure many don’t realize they are being intrusive or that it could be a very sensitive subject between a couple. Just don’t ask. You’ll know what you’re privileged to know when people decide to share and it should be done on their timeline not everyone elses.

  46. “Those who do not want kids do feel lucky that they can do whatever they want” – This too is presumptuous. While I agreed with most of this article, it’s wrongheaded to assume that just because a couple does not have kids means they somehow have unlimited time and wealth to do whatever they want. Many of us are under tremendous pressure that drains our free time and resources, even without a baby in the picture. So please, just don’t assume that no baby = unlimited resources, money and free time. Because it is so not the case.

  47. Aren’t people who are considered friends the exact people who can ask personal questions? Don’t you know personal information about your friends? Aren’t your friends trustworthy enough to know but not share personal information? Can’t you tell friends what subjects are touchy and too personal without compromising that friendship?

    Maybe the problem is that you don’t really have friends.

  48. This article makes me want to slap someone. It’s so dumb. If you’re that sensitive just stay at home with blinders and ear muffs on. Then you won’t have to risk being hurt by the big bad awful world out there. geez

  49. “You’ll change your mind.”
    “Don’t you have that maternal instinct?”
    “Who’s going to take care of you when you get old?”
    “Children change your life, I can’t believe you don’t want kids!”
    “But why don’t you want kids?” — because something must’ve have prompted this…
    “Does your husband feel the same way you do?” (no..I always make life-changing decisions without discussing him…)
    “But your parents will want grandkids!”

    hmmm…I’m sure I’m missing a few.

  50. I hate, hate, HATE when someone brings up me not having kids. I want a child so badly it hurts, I’m just not able to have any kids at this moment. I’m 29 so I definitely feel my biological clock ticking, but I have to put my health first. I’m in stage 4 congenital heart failure and I have a restrictive lung disease caused by the heart failure that requires me to wear oxygen 24/7. If I did get pregnant, there’s a 60% chance neither the baby or myself would survive the pregnancy, let alone an actual birth. Also, one of the medications I’m on for my PAH (pulmonary arterial hypertension, my dreadful lung disease) causes extreme birth defects, like extra and/or missing limbs, so I have to use two forms of birth control AND have a blood pregnancy test taken at my doctor’s office monthly before the specialty pharmacy will even send me my meds. All my high school friends are having kids or raising toddlers and some days I just have to stay off of Facebook because it’s a bummer to see all the happy, smiling kids and family photos. I’m happy for them all, don’t get me wrong, but it definitely just rubs in my face what I’m missing out on. Hopefully though once I have my heart & lung transplant, if I pull through, maybe then I will be strong and healthy enough to have a child biologically. If not though my husband and I are open to adoption or maybe surrogacy. We’ll see what the future holds for us, it’s all in God’s hands!

  51. I have to admit, I take issue with your reasoning on a lot of these fronts. You yourself are still making the assumption that most women would want to have kids. It’s rude to say these things because it’s rude. No need to presume that deep down, these couples do want kids and are struggling with fertility issues and that is why these comments may hurt their feelings. And just because a couple does not have kids doesn’t mean they get to do what they want! Most adults have work, family and financial responsibilities, kids or no kids. I don’t think you realize how biased your own point of view actually is, although I recognize that you’re striving for some awareness here and your intention seems good.

  52. Well said! As one who struggled with infertility throughout my potential childbearing years, I so appreciated those who didn’t feel the need to make “small talk” by probing into my personal life.
    I especially bristled at the “child on board” stickers that were so popular a while back as it always made me feel that I was viewed as less valuable … I was the one who didn’t have a child on board despite wishing every minute of every day that I did.

  53. This article hits close to home for my wife and I. We have wanted a child for a better part of 5 years and nothing. We’ve watched our “younger” friends have kids. We’ve even supported them and babysat the kids. If I hear “once your parent you’ll know what I’m talking about” one MORE time I might punch that person! Not everyone chooses to NOT have children! Sometimes its already chosen for them! We’re not done trying but now we’re into the “medical” stage of insemination. Anyone out there who is familiar with the LONG and not always successful process has my sympathy and support. My wife and I understand what your going through.

  54. This is just so beyond no one’s business. Imagine asking a woman who had just had a miscarriage “are you EVER going to have kids???” (or any of these questions) Now they get to re-live that pain all over again.

  55. They should add the question of “When are you due” to this list! I’m a full figure gal and I’ve lost count of how many times strangers have asked me this question. I am not pregnant and I am actually dealing with infertility issues, thank you very much for reminding me of the one thing I want, but can’t have. I hate the sheepish look they get after I quietly tell them I’m not pregnant. If you don’t know the woman then don’t ask the question!

  56. Honestly this goes both ways. There are comments made to those who don’t have or want children but there are also comments made to people with children. Its stupid and pathetic on both sides. I have 1 child, a daughter she is quite possibly the best thing that ever happened to me. But this is just my own personal experiences. I do not want anymore and am completely happy with what I have. I do not remember what it was like not having her around. People who decide to not have children do what is best for them, perhaps they know they wouldn’t enjoy it, perhaps they know they cant afford it and maintain the lifestyle they want (or they really cant afford it). Maybe their family has some horrible genetic things that they do not wish to risk inflicting upon another person. And there are those who really want children but can’t for one reason or another and I was once in this situation. It doesn’t matter to me either way if you have them or don’t have them.

    I find articles like this irritating. They always seem to pit one side against the other and it should not be this way. People are people, if everyone stopped having children in time there would be no more people. If everyone had children there would be a worse problem with population than there is already. Whatever your reasons, they are yours and its no one elses business to be involved (Unless you have a whole bunch of kids and are neglectful, abusive or cant afford to take care of their basic needs) then it should not matter what people decide. The world would be a better place if people would stop being judgemental asshats and keep their noses out of everyone elses business.

    • I understand why you might find articles like this irritating, because a lot of articles like this are mean-spirited and vindictive, but for the life of me I don’t get why you find THIS article irritating. From my reading of it it isn’t doing anything to pit one side against the other. To the contrary, it seems to be pushing for empathy in the form of “maybe you shouldn’t say certain things to people without kids because they might be struggling with infertility.” Again, maybe I’m reading it wrong, but I didn’t get the impression it was advocating for or against having children.

  57. I am currently about 35 weeks pregnant at 29 years old with my first child, well beyond the family average. I have heard all of these and it drove me crazy. It was not my duty to have this baby; it was my choice. My timing was my own, as would the decision have been had we not wanted children. My family started when I decided to be with my husband for the rest of my life.
    It really hurts my heart when I see friends of mine torn up because they think they are somehow behind the curve in LIFE because they don’t have A, B and C “accomplished”- life is not a procedural checklist. Likewise I have friends that have resolved not to have kids and people get so weird and in their business about it. I think it’s far worse to make a child grow up in a home where they were never fully wanted than having them never exist at all.

  58. I’ve lived with infertiity for seven years now. All of these questions and statements about why I might not have children are painful to me. I wish that I could enjoy holding a baby in public without immediately being interogated about my own lack of offspring. It’s not ok for people to do that. I find it the most painful part of this horrible infertility journey. Close friends who ask, in private, because they care, is fine. But why would anyone else think that they have the right? They’re not actually really interested in listening to my pain and wouldn’t be able to cope if I did share it. The ticking biological clock one is the worst. I KNOW how old I am!

  59. The comment about not understanding until you have kids: I have said this with good reason. People with no kids can be very inconsiderate and rude when you say you can’t do such and such because you have kids to keep on a schedule/look after/run for/worry about. I don’t pull that out as a first resort but rather when I have explained that, for example, it is easier for you, who has no kids, to pack up and go somewhere than it is for me, with two kids, to pack up two children and all of their belongings needed for an outing, haul them somewhere, unpack them, be frustrated while they try to get settled somewhere that is not set up for them, spend most of the time monitoring what they are doing and where they are rather than visiting with you, because that was the whole point of this excursion, only to have to pack them up and leave to head home, unpack again and get them to bed, or whatever I have to do.

    I’m fine if you have no kids, by choice or not, but you do need to realize that you can’t sit there and try to make me feel bad because I don’t want to go through all of that. You have no kids, no one to pack up and take somewhere and worry about, so if you really want to see me that badly, you will have to make the trip out here or wait to see me until another time. It’s not that I don’t want to see you, but it is a lot of work for me to get there, and maybe I have already put in a full day of work (either at my job away from home, or at home with my kids) and I am just too tired to do it all again.

    So yeah, if you try to make me feel like crap for not doing something that you want me to do, and I can’t or don’t want to because of the amount of work involved and you choose to be rude about it, then yes, I will tell you that you will understand when you have kids. Because you will. And if you don’t want kids or can’t have kids, don’t try to bully someone into doing something or make them feel like crap for not being able to go out on the drop of a hat. That isn’t fair and it isn’t right. If you don’t want to hear me say that you will understand when you have kids, then don’t be rude to me in the first place. Just like you don’t want me to make comments to you, don’t make them to me, or expect that I am going to have to defend myself with a comment that you don’t like.

    Bottom line: be considerate, no matter which side of the “kid fence” you are on.

  60. My younger sister: “I’m actually more mature (or older, I can’t remember the actual phrasing) than you because I have kids.” She actually said this with a straight face!

  61. Unable to have kids due to something I couldn’t control when I was a kid myself. I hear, “You’ve got a belly, can I touch it, how far along are you,” and so on. I’m like, “I’m about 30 seconds from getting my first assault charge, get your hands off me, I’m not pregnant, I’m fat.”

    I carry about 20 #s of scar tissue in my abdomen that sometimes looks like pregnancy belly. It’s not, you still don’t have rights to touch me. I’ve forcibly had to remove hands from my belly, and then the offender screams about assault and calling the cops. Had one that did call the cops, the officer who showed up, his wife has the same condition I do, offered to let me charge the idiot with battery, I opted to teach a lesson, other peoples bodies aren’t yours, it goes as much for women towards other women as it does for men towards women. Don’t touch without permission.

  62. For the love of everything good and holy, do NOT bombard a bride on her wedding day with “when are you having kids? soon? are you already pregnant? you need to get busy!”.

    If I did a shot for every time someone asked me that I’d have had alcohol poisoning on my wedding day…

  63. I agree with all of this, except there is a difference between “childless,” and “childfree.” Child_less_ people are folks that want kids but don’t or can’t for whatever reason. Child_free_ people are folks that don’t want kids, ever. Lumping childfree people in with childless people is implying that there is something in our lives that is lacking, and denies the conscience choice we made to not have children. It sounds like a value judgement to childfree people. I super appreciate that you brought all these issues to light, as they are true, but please use the correct terminology.

  64. “You’ll understand when you have kids of your own” is a tamer version of the comment that really gets to me, which is “You don’t know what real love is until you’ve had a child.” I’ve heard this completely asinine comment way too often, and all I can think when I hear someone say it is that they’re the ones who don’t know what love is.

    Honestly, if you can’t feel “real love” for other human beings until one of them has your genes, that doesn’t make you enlightened, that makes you selfish.

  65. Why cant people who don’t want to have kids do so in peace without taking questions from those with kids so personally? And vice versa? Make your life choices, be willing to deal with whatever benefits/consequences come with said choices, and if people are curious as to why your made said choice, don’t get so easily offended. It only shows that you are not truly all that secure in your choice after all.

  66. you don’t know their story so don’t pretend you do. I made the mistake not knowing that they couldn’t and stilllfeelbad about not keeping my mouth shut.

  67. ” just pray about it and God will give you a baby.” That’s the one that makes me want to choke people. I’m not religious but even if I was, sometimes “God’s” answer is NO. Hubby & I have tried for 10 years to have a baby. I have PCOS, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, I’m missing 1 ovary & the other is fused to the back of my uterus causing it to be tilted all because of endo & scar tissue from the multiple surgeries I’ve had to have. Trust me it’s not my choice to be childless but it’s the way it is. And please don’t ask me about adoption that’s a whole other personal & private journey.

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