Many couples are asked shortly after they get married: “So when are you having kids?” Women with a strong career path are also asked the same thing. Many people, often family members, have no filter and feel free to pry about family planning.
But sadly, many people do not understand the pain that can go with questions about having kids. People may have no malicious intentions, but without knowing the person’s circumstance, it is hard to openly ask about such a very personal topic. For example, a couple may have been trying for a while to get pregnant without success. They may be trying fertility treatments but not sharing that information with anyone yet. They may have experienced an early miscarriage and are still grieving, hoping to focusing on healing before trying again for another pregnancy.
There are so many factors that go into a person or couple’s personal relationship that I do not ask this question of anyone. It is a very personal question that does not impact anyone but that individual couple or person.
But if you are asked about when you are having children or given unwanted pregnancy advice, what are some tips or ways to respond?
One way is use the time for education. For example, my husband and I were asked about starting our family shortly after we were told we could not biologically have children, as I struggle with infertility. We had started the adoption process, and were told that since we had started the process, we would become pregnant. That is such a negative myth and is hurtful, as to me, it implies that adoption is secondary to having a child biologically.
Another tip is to think before you speak. Consider the background of the person asking the question and the motivation behind their curiosity. Always communicate in a way that is kind and respectful to everyone involved.
Finally, keep confidences. If an individual or couple decides to share information with you such as fertility treatments, adoption, or the decision to not have children, that information must be kept confidential. That is not your information to share or pass along for anyone.
Pregnancy and starting a family, like all personal topics, is something that should be one’s own decision and choice. No one truly knows someone else’s history, so advice should be given at a minimum, and only spoken with a lot of care and grace.
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