“So when are you having kids?”
“Do you have kids yet?”
“Dogs don’t make a family; you really should have kids soon. Clock’s ticking!”
If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard those questions, the purse slouched on the chair next to me certainly wouldn’t be knock-off Prada. Questions like these are as common as anything, and can seem so benign that most people don’t think twice about asking them; they might as well be talking about the weather. In actuality, asking why someone doesn’t have kids is impertinent to begin with — because it’s none of your business — besides the fact that these questions are loaded and can be seriously hurtful and triggering.
Other people’s reproduction is none of your business, period. Here’s why…
1. We’re capable of making our own reproductive decisions
Whenever it’s revealed that I’m child-free, I get comments like, “You’ll change your mind” and, “You just haven’t met the right man yet.” Telling women that they’ll change their minds about their decision not to reproduce undermines their intrinsic ability to make basic life decisions, and thus is both disrespectful and rude. Women are perfectly capable of making the logical, reasonable decision to not reproduce after considering any number of valid factors.
To be fair, some women do change their minds about not having kids, and that’s perfectly okay, too! That fact still doesn’t give you license to disrespect women everywhere by telling us that we’re incapable of making logical reproductive decisions.
A huge portion of the population suffers with fertility issues. Fertility isn’t something you can tell just by looking at someone, so it’s incredibly rude to assume that everyone can have children whenever they want and that, if they don’t have kids, it must just be because they don’t want them. Asking someone who’s struggling with infertility whether or not they have children can be an extremely triggering thing that can not only ruin their day but send them into a tailspin of depression.
I’ve ended up hospitalized regularly since I was about nine years old with bursting ovarian cysts, and other hormone problems, that refuse to be controlled through medication, and I have a tilted uterus. These things combined mean that I’m likely infertile. While I release my maternal feelings by caring for and rescuing animals, and therefore don’t really feel the need to have children of my own, there’s another component that comes into play for me: I know it’s ridiculous, but part of me feels that I’m less of a woman because my body can’t produce a child, and people prying into my reproduction status reminds me of this and makes me feel both offended and sad.
3. Socio-economic factors
Children are extremely expensive. They really are. They’re time-consuming, demanding, and expensive life-long commitments that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Sometimes, couples simply can’t afford them at the moment. Other times, people don’t have children because they don’t want to raise them in the neighborhood they live in. Or they’re waiting to tie up other parts of their lives (that, again, are none of your business) before having them. There are any number of socio-economic factors that can contribute to whether or not someone wants children, and it’s not your place to pry into them.
A significant amount of child-free people have chosen not to reproduce so as not to pass on certain genetically-inherited traits, conditions, or diseases.
5. Some people just plain-old don’t want kids
Kids are loud little attention-demanding wild things that make everything messy and completely disrupt your life. They also have many good qualities, but some people just plain-old don’t want to deal with any of that. And that’s fine. Many people just don’t want kids personally, which doesn’t mean that they hate children altogether… although, if they did, that’s entirely their prerogative.
People are completely capable of making their own reproductive choices based on a huge amount of different factors. This is why, “When are you having children?” and “You don’t have kids? Your biological clock’s ticking!” are two of the most rude things you can say to someone. If someone doesn’t want to procreate, they shouldn’t ever be made to feel badly for it or like there’s something intrinsically wrong with them for it.
Reproduction is a personal thing, and it’s about time we stop allowing impertinent inquiries into other people’s reproductive statuses to remain common occurrences.