The question that is driving me crazy: "Where is the baby?"

Updated Oct 12 2015
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Baby Toss
By: shanegorski – CC BY 2.0
I recently got married and there is one question that is driving me crazy: "Where is the baby?"

Now let me explain the circumstances. We have been trying for a baby for about a year and a half, but only a handful of close people/family know about this. Therefore after the wedding, these questions tend to sting a little, even though I know it's not the "asker's" fault.

My question to others out there is, how do you answer this without getting emotional or rude, and letting them know it is a personal issue? And all without conveying our issue in that department? -Noelle

I am going to actually argue with you on one point: It IS the "asker's" fault. I'm a staunch believer that your reproductive choices are personal — not something to be discussed over dinner, or inquired about in passing. In short, these people should NE-EV-ER ask "where is the baby."

It took about FOUR YEARS for close friends and family to stop asking me about whether or not that guy I married was going to shoot his sperm into my body in the hopes of fertilizing an egg, in the hopes that I would start forming a human that I might incubate, birth, and raise. FOUR YEARS of people asking me about those deeply intimate activities and choices. Dah fuk, people!?

Which leads me to my second point…

I also believe there's NO reason to be polite. The people asking you about your sex-havings and reproductive choices aren't being polite to you. I think four years of our response of "hell fucking no" was jarring enough for people to never forget, and stop asking.

In short, I suggest giving it to them straight: "That's actually a deeply personal issue, and I'd rather not discuss it." I guarantee that response will not only stop them from ever bothering you about it again, but it may actually stop them from putting another couple in this awkward situation in the future.

A few very related posts from our archived sister site, Offbeat Families:

Oh, but Homies, I have ISSUES about this topic. Maybe you'd be less angsty? How would YOU answer the awful question "Where is the baby?"

  1. My mother in law for years would ask if we were having kids. She finally got a clue after about 6 years that if we had kids, it would "happen" (natural or adoption). We don't have kids and people don't even ask anymore (esp. since I am pushing 41). Unfortunately people will ask. It will piss you off, as it did me. So you WILL have to find your own way of telling people to mind their own business. It is peoples natural question once you get married and some people don't even realize it might be offensive to you and some ask for other reasons (nosiness, religious reasons (Marriage = babies)).

  2. How about the standard "I appreciate you feel X, but Y".
    So maybe "I (appreciate/am really happy/pleased) that you'd love an extra addition to our (family/friendship circle/community), but that's something that me and (name of partner) need to figure out in our own time." Then firmly but politely change the subject.
    It softens it up a little bit if you feel that's appropriate, but it's direct enough to get the point across.

  3. My husband and I struggled to have a baby; it took us over 3 years. My favorite answer to people who were not close friends who were asking, "When are you going to have a baby? " was to say, "Nine months after he knocks me up."
    That seemed to end the conversation (and subsequent questions) pretty quickly.

  4. Nearly a year into 'trying' (hate that word) and four months after a very difficult silent miscarriage I've just started batting that question straight back at people by being honest – I say that it's just not working for us at the moment and it's quite traumatic. People don't half look sheepish then! I initially thought it was oversharing, but then thought that every person I overshare with might think twice about asking that invasive question of someone else.

    I agree that it is the askers' problem and they are frankly rude, but TBH a few years ago I used to ask the same question without thinking, and had someone pointed out to me why it's not OK then perhaps I would've stopped sooner!

    • It would be nice if it actually worked that way, but one of the worst offenders in my world was an old family friend of my husband's. She had lots of trouble conceiving her first son but had no problem publicly harassing me about "why wasn't i pregnant yet?" and I've found that most people don't stop when asked politely top do so. It sucks.

    • I like your fierceness and openness, and of course it's your decision how you react, but I somehow feel that if we answer these things truthfully, it's a validation of the question.
      You know, just because they ask, we're not obliged to give answers.
      And I fear if the inquirers keep getting the information they want, they won't be likely to stop asking.
      I think the only way to not play their game is to revolt against the question per se.

      ETA: I like that you admit to having asked questions like these in the past. I did, too, until I got more aware of personal boundaries and especially how women's bodies seem to be public domain.
      Having been the rude person myself, it's even more important to me that we help others to see why it's not okay to ask these things.

  5. I'd answer exactly the same way. Sometimes I also ask for suggestions on the best sex positions and sex schedule for conception. That usually quiets the room.

  6. Depending on how off putting you want to be –

    "Wow, are you seriously asking about my sex life?" Eye roll, change topic.

    "I can't believe you just asked that. Cripes. I mean, how much money do you make and how much does your spouse weigh?" Eye roll, change topic.

    "Whenever it happens." (Some people might say "Whenever we're ready" but having been through years of infertility we were ready way before it happened – and have the medical bills to prove it!)

    And yes, it is definitely their fault for asking!

    • The response I always got to: "whenever we're ready." Was, "oh, you know there's never a good time to have a baby, you just learn how to get through it!"

      UGH!!!

  7. This was a huge problem for me. I have fertility issues and my husband is trans (we joke about his low sperm count). People asking about when we were going to have a baby became a real problem. The question coupled with the influx of pregnant women at our synagogue made it impossible for me to attend without leaving in tears. We are a small community so I think people finally figured it out and stopped asking and now we are foster parents so the sting has lessened. I never really knew what to say.

  8. My hubby & I have never really felt like we wanted children but always said we were both welcome to change our minds & we'd discuss it if we did. More recently we've been wavering on the fence & discussing it. But in the past I've always said "I have a family; me, hubby & our dogs. I don't know if we'll add to the humans but one day we might get a cat!" Most people took the hint. But if they were really persistent, I would say, very sweetly, "look, we do not know if we want children but if we decide we do, I'll send you my ovulation chart & detailed plan for conception." (I think that response actually came from a comment on Offbeat Families at some point!) Most people would be too shocked to make a comeback & I'd be able to escape. I've found having a default party line is useful, then if someone is making me emotional I can resort back to it & get out of the situation quickly. Because most people no longer ask we have decided not to tell anyone about our fence-wavering, just to save the stress of people enquiring again.
    If it's family or friends who know you are trying, they really should be more sensitive. But I might say something along the lines of "I know you are asking because you care but please could you not as it is a very personal subject."

  9. Actually, I think it is a little bit the askers fault. It's a rude question to ask and it really shouldn't be that difficult for them to understand the great many reasons it could be insensitive (at the very least) to ask it. Especially if asked in that way. I got questions like that too, and it hurt. It only took us 4 months to get pregnant too, so WTF? It's not like we just flip a switch and this time sex will get me pregnant! Like 4 months is so unreasonably long. Ugh. If I could go back in time I would tell people just how rude and hurtful those kinds of questions are, and I would have your back if you chose to do the same.

  10. "Well, my husband and I are both very sub-fertile, and we're really hoping for a pregnancy that sticks, as I miscarried before we went on our three month trip to Europe. It's the reason we went away, actually, as nice as it was to learn we could use a less expensive method than IVF, it was also nice to think about something other than the miscarriage for a while".

    Enough detail that I think they're unlikely to ask anyone the same question again, and especially not us!
    That said, I was asked by a reasonably close friend early last year, just as we were going through all the medical tests, and all I could do was blurt "we've been trying for three years!" at her before leaving to cry somewhere more private. Reeeeeeally didn't help that she was pregnant when she asked.

  11. We got married undecided/leaning towards no for kids. But our agreement is that we would decide together.
    My mom started in on the kids questions, and I told her 1. you have a grandkitty and a granddog already. and 2. you will be the first to know about any news on that front as long as you don't keep asking me about it!

    I go back and forth between how to respond to that question, and it definitely varies based on the relationship you have to the asker. Sometimes I think brutal honesty is a great way to go, especially when fertility problems are involved because they are relatively common! They happen and people should be aware! So when a barely acquaintance asked me about when I was going to have kids, I told her "It's not in the plan right now for us. But you know you should be careful about asking that question because you never know if people very private about that or having fertility issues."

  12. I think it really depends on how the question is asked.

    "Where is the baby?", "When are you going to give us a grandkid/nephew/whatever?", "Not pregnant yet??": generally asked by a distant relative you see once in a year or your mom, these questions are unthoughtful bordering on rude, driven by a will either to make unconsequential conversation or pry, so in my book it's totally fine to ignore them, adjourn the topic or make the person feel uncomfortable.

    "Are children in your future?" "Are you considering becoming parents some time?", "What do you think about having children?": these are more sensitive questions, generally asked by friends who know it can be hard to conceive, and they're OK since they're about what we WANT, and not what we do. And they usually garner a sincere answer, a.k.a we're so remaining childfree right now.

    • SO true. Not all ways of asking the question are equally offensive. Nosiness is one thing, solidarity another. I myself am tempted to ask our fellow newlywed friends if they want kids, because I want someone to sympathize with. But I'm too nervous about seeming nosy that I keep my mouth shut.

    • Totally agreed. I have the "do you think you going to become a parent?" conversation with my friends all the time. Those are actually super-interesting talks, sans all the assumptive creepiness of "so when are you getting knocked up?" <– a totally real question a human man once asked me a week after being married.

      • Yes, there are definitely good ways and bad ways to ask the question, and I was flabbergasted every time I got the bad way. (It doesn't stop after you have one, either; I got the first "when are you having another?" question THREE DAYS after I got back from maternity leave. We are one and done for many reasons, but I usually just make a joke about how this one is perfect, so why would we need to try again.)

        I hope you were REALLY RUDE to that guy, Megan. Ugh.

    • Just when we started trying I was talking to a friend who just had a baby after years of infertility, a number of miscarriages and losing a baby. She was so happy to have a baby to hold and she was talking about how hard all those years were. We had just started trying and I didn't mention that but I think she figured we were trying and she said some really supportive things to me that made me feel a lot better. Since we had just started trying I was having a hard time dealing with my excitement and the let down of not being pregnant, plus knowing that this friend and my SIL had struggled for years and that I had nothing to complain about since it was only my second month of trying. Anyways, what my friend said really validated my feelings (e.g., being upset about not being pregnant) even though I hadn't been trying long and it made me feel a lot better. That is definitely not the type of conversation I have with most of my family (other than my SIL) or my husband's family. (When I told my father that I was pregnant and I said my morning sickness was really bad he said "what did you expect? your mother's was bad, your SIL's was bad, your step-sisters' were bad.")

  13. I think you have to find a balance between yes it's SO rude they're even asking, but accepting the fact the society has conditioned people in such a way that this is acceptable. We've made it pretty clear from day one of even dating that we were never going to have kids, but you we still get the comments and questions. We try to take the approach of saying some variation of this: "Although we don't find it very appropriate that you're asking, we'll tell you now that we're not going to have children and would appreciate it if you would respect us enough to not discuss this personal decision further unless we bring it up." This covers all the bases–pointing out the rudeness, squashing their hopes & dreams, and setting the boundary that this conversation is actually over.

  14. Step one. Make direct eye contact
    Step two. In a calm , pleasant voice say 'I didn't realize you were so interested in our sex life.'
    Step three. Laugh as the person freaks out and tries to take back their horribly rude and invasive question.

  15. "Where's the baby?"
    "We can't figure it out either. I don't know if we're doing it right. Can you explain where the penis goes?"

  16. With my MIL, I finally had to produce some tears and go into explicit details about all of the ways my necessary medications can harm a baby, all the ways my diseases would make parenting difficult, and all the unpredictable elements of my health that have to align perfectly for it to be the right time to take a YEAR to get off my medications before starting to try to conceive. And that I won't be able to function without my meds unless I'm basically in med free remission. And that my health is likely to get worse while pregnant. Oh, and then the fact that my diseases or meds might have effected my fertility. So, no, I can't tell you when or if I'll be giving you a grandchild. I never thought I'd get through to her, but oversharing and letting her get a little window into the emotions at play finally shut her up. I really shouldn't have had to do that.

  17. Usually an absurd answer will make the asker realize how absurd they are for asking.
    Our standard answer was: "We left it in the car, but don't worry, we left the windows cracked so it will get some fresh air."

    • I've gone with "Under an up-turned laundry basket at home. But don't worry, we weighted it with an encyclopedia and left an open bag of Skittles."

  18. I had a lot of difficulty in conceiving as well. If people asked about when were planning on kids, I was very open about the issue with our friends and family in a "this is what's happening. I don't want to talk about it. if I change my mind I'll let you know". This mostly made people feel SUPER awful about asking in the first place (especially in those particularly emotional/hormonal moments of treatment when I would burst into tears). I hope that by being honest and making those people feel bad for asking that in the future they will think twice before asking insensitive questions.

  19. I love the comments from people that offer absurd and funny responses. That is exactly what my husband would do. When people asked, his most common response was "I don't know but practice makes perfect and we practice a lot" or " I don't think we can pregnant the way we do it." Then sometimes we would follow it up by making some lewd "make-out" gesture with each other which grosses out our family and friends enough (knowing its all in jest) to move on from the topic. However, we both come from families and have friends that are pretty crude and have no shame about asking inappropriate questions. Thus our responses often reflect that although they may be perceived as rude by other people – its just how we, our family, and our friends communicate.

    I would also consider a response that is perceived as emotional/rude (pretty much calls out the inappropriateness of the asker) because it makes the point that people shouldn't ask those type of questions. You don't even have to give specifics on your situation. You can politely say that many couples might have some obstacles in fertility or lost a pregnancy making that question very invasive. Tell the asker they could be pouring salt on an open wound by asking what they think is a simply question. I know quite a few people who did not ask me if I was pregnant when I clearly was because they knew it was rude and learned the hard way. They asked someone how far along they were and the person responded by clarifying that they were not pregnant. People have to learn somehow.

  20. I don't even try to hide my discomfort with this question–if I look miserable and mutter that I don't know, usually the asker realizes his/her mistake and backs off. People need to realize that their words affect others, so showing the results in real time is often the best way to help them do that. I'm not rude to anyone but why should I pretend I'm not upset when I am?

  21. I do wish people would stop asking this question. It's bad enough that I get asked daily, but I have several friends that get asked and I know they're having serious problems conceiving. I just shrug it off with a "not yet, we're still doing couples stuff", but I have fertility issues and I know it'll take a long time when my husband and I eventually do decide to have a baby ('if' we do – both of us are majorly against it right now!)

  22. We got the "Are you knocked up?" jokes from family for a little while, but when we had to go down the IVF route, they stopped. But we were ready with the "I'm not sure if we're doing it right – can you watch and tell us what we're doing wrong?" comment for some. And I was blunt with one person when he (yes, he) pulled the "Being a father is the most amazing thing in the world! When are you and DH going to have a baby?" thing. My response was "Hey, did you see the article I had published?" — http://offbeatfamilies.com/2012/02/infertile-but-not-defective

    That shut him up quickly.

    Thankfully people seem to be learning more about fertility challenges, and are asking less. Those who don't know our journey may ask if we have plans for a second child (we had a surprise natural pregnancy after the article I wrote), and we just smile and say we'll see what's in the cards.

  23. Whenever someone asks my husband and I when we're going to have kids (which we aren't), I look at them square in the face and say "it's actually really creepy that you're wondering about the unprotected sex (Husband's Name) and I are or aren't having." That usually causes an awkward laugh and the shutting of traps.

  24. With my very conservative grandmother, when asked, I replied, "Are you asking if I'm having unprotected sex with my husband?". That shut her up…

  25. I think what's so hard, is that this question has not caught up with the times. Historically it falls right into a totally socially normal form of small talk, but now it's 2015 and things need to change! But we might need some other question to be created to fill the void. Typically small talk serves to enter into deeper conversations, and asking about children sorta used to serve the purpose of beginning the conversation about family/personal life, where when someone asks 'how's work going," it leads into business related conversations.

    I try to take the approach that people aren't purposely pushing my buttons and go with a softer first approach, like "we have discussed it and we're not ready yet, we'll let you know when we are." If it becomes a chronic problem then I might need to use more strongly worded language. For some family, when we were on the fence about kids, we played it down and just told people we weren't going to have kids and that stopped conversations until we were ready to have them.

  26. Before I was really into the idea of children I used to reply with something along the lines of 'I can't even keep a house plant alive, what makes you think I could be trusted with a child?' Then things changed, we decided to have children and had 4 miscarriages. Those questions stopped being merely annoying and became downright hurtful. In the end I broke and had an angry, tearful rant about exactly what had happened, all the tests I had been subjected to and far too much detail about how we were trying again. I've never seen someone back away more quickly! I'm now 8 months pregnant and I'm already fielding questions about how long we're going to leave it before having another one. It never ends! After our previous experience and a difficult pregnancy we are definitely not going to be trying again, but tell that to anybody and they look horrified or roll out the old 'oh, you'll change your mind.' Argh!

  27. Himself and I started trying to conceive before our wedding too. It ended up taking us 3 1/2 years (plus a bunch of fertility biz and a gnarly surgery involving his bits) to pull it off. Whenever people asked about there whereabouts of the baby, we usually went with a shrug and an even-toned "We're workin' on it" coupled with a casual subject change. I found that usually served to convey a lot: Yes, we're trying. No, it hasn't worked yet. Yes, it actually feels like work sometimes. No, I don't really want to get into it any farther. In a couple instances the same person asked more than once on separate occasions, and got the same answer, and figured out for themselves that maybe it wasn't all Cupcakes and Perfect Sperm in Babyland and then they'd let it lie. The people closest to us (BFFs and family) that we shared our situation with knew enough that they never needed to ask – we volunteered the info. Reproductive choices and struggles can be intensely personal, but it can help you feel less mad if you try to remember that usually people ask because they like you, and would be excited to hear that you're creating more people like yourself. It won't always work, but it helps.

  28. "Where's the baby? "
    At home, probably sleeping on our laundry and chewing a rawhide.
    My baby's right here *smooch*
    Shhh! It'sa surprise! Jason's just not showing yet. (Only really works for cis-male types)
    "When are y'all having kids? "
    Probably Thursday, as long as John picks up the ingredients for the marinade.
    When are you got to charm school?
    Well, our friend's getting a Billy goat in a few weeks, so probably a few months after that.
    *snorts and flaps wings, runs around the room making zooming noises*
    Ten years ago, if Joanna ever gets that time machine running. We want our offspring to have tiny cell phones with no data.
    Not 'till Niagara Falls.

    "How come y'all don't have kids yet?"
    To busy answering stupid questions.
    That's what she's saiD!
    We're trying unconventional methods, but budding isn't working out.
    How come you never clean your kitchen?

    When in doubt, conspire with your partner (s) to use absurdist humor or random facts and laugh uproariously at whatever you say.
    Ten bucks, same as downtown! BahHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
    Okay, your turn in the barrel Bahaha etc.
    Did you know that nail polish remover melts Legos?
    A kayak, because ice cream doesn't have bones.
    Does you ever tonk about the fact that birds are reality missing out in the nipple department?
    Hard to say. At the moment, you can tune a piano, but you can't tuna fish.

  29. It somewhat depends on the people/situation for me. I've been lucky in that casual acquaintances usually respond well to my husband's "our dog eats his own shit, I don't think we should be trusted with a kid" joke. We do still get told we'll change our minds, where we generally acknowledge (this is for us only), "we might, that's why we've held off on any sterility surgeries until we're sure."

    With family, it has been more difficult. When my sister announced her first pregnancy, my Mom started in on the baby needing cousins. It caused a pretty big to-do that ended with me sitting in the back room of my house in Turkey sobbing while friends were over for dinner. They all got told more forcefully that we weren't sure we wanted kids and that we sure as hell wouldn't be bringing them into the world until we could view it as a positive and not a disaster. As we've transitioned careers and locations (we've lived in three different cities in two different states, plus an additional two countries all in the last 4.5 years) they've gotten on board with us taking all the time we need.

    My BIL probably got the harshest comment from me. He was really pushing my husband via Skype that we should have kids already, it was past time, we were old enough, etc. And it angered me. And I had just had multiple dear friends miscarry. So I asked him, "What if I told you that we've been trying for the last year and a half with know luck? What if I told you that we had finally succeeded only to miscarry right before we were going to tell everyone? What if I told you that we've been told our chances of conceiving on our own are non-existent?" He spluttered. I then said, "Now, we haven't been through any of that. But you had know way of knowing. If you don't know, and let's face it, unless you're really close with someone you probably won't know. It's not something to ask because what seems like a funny and harmless question could be causing someone immense pain."

    I'm not sure that method would work if you are in the throes of infertility – but as someone who isn't, I'm all about teaching people not to ask questions that could be ridiculously hurtful. And learning that talking about the weather is preferable to rudely intrusive questions.

    • Hubby and I were married for 5 years before we felt financially and emotionally secure enough to abandon birth control.

      It took us another year and a half of determined, crazy-making "trying," complete with invasive diagnostic procedures for BOTH of us and a couple rounds of medications that made me go NUTS before we were lucky enough to spontaneously succeed.
      We had acquaintances who insisted on shoving their nose in our business the ENTIRE FREAKING TIME this was going on, no matter how many times I told them that I really didn't want to talk about it.

      I love you for jumping down your Brother-in-Law's throat for doing that. I hope he really did learn, and I just want to tell you OMFG THANK YOU for making an effort to teach people that questions like that just aren't appropriate.

  30. I'm a big believer in not even touching these questions. My patented Southern Belle approach when asked probing, wildly inappropriate things is to look shocked, clutch my pearls a little, and reply, "My goodness, I can't believe you just asked me such a personal and incredibly inappropriate question! You must be so embarrassed right now! It's all right, dear, I forgive you, everyone has a slip of common decency now and again."

    That usually makes people realise they've wandered into forbidden territory pretty damn quick, and it is as polite as they come. For really persistent folks who have no sense of boundaries or shame, it doesn't always work. But casual inquiries? It shuts that whole thing down and usually, folks apologise. When the persistent ones continue, I confess to asking if they want to help or analyse our technique to give pointers, since they're so invested in the outcome. But I try to avoid sinking to that level if it can be avoided, especially in situations where doing so would have repercussions for me — work, school, etc.

  31. if it makes anyone feel any better, the stupid questions haven't stopped and my oldest son is 16.

    aren't you young to have a 16 year old son?
    that's what happens when you get knocked up in high school.

    your son is how old?
    let me save you the math: i was 17.

    i was taught years ago that even if you see a baby physically emerging from the batcave there is never an appropriate time to ask about babies or pregnancies or anything. but some people are clueless at best, flat rude and intrusive at worst. i wouldn't worry about a polite answer to any of them. you have several excellent options for answers provided above.

  32. After giving the "when we're ready" answer repeatedly to a certain relative (we had decided we would adopt, but I didn't feel ready enough to uproot that much of life), I finally snapped and said "are you going to give us the 10 grand to go through an adoption agency? Because it's a little more complicated for us."

    She never asked again.

    Other people who ask, I tend to respond "it's on our radar." Because it definitely is, but there's no set timeline on it when I was being asked.

    Ironically, now that we've started through the classes, etc. for it, no one asks anymore as if we're giving off the "potential parent" vibe.

  33. This question always cracks me up, people do expect you to get down to baby making after you get married. I've been unable to have children for quite some time, going from being "fixed" to not having any baby making parts at all. My favorite response is "We try all the time, but it would take an act of God to make it happen." I'm not religious, but I get a good snicker out of watching them puzzle it out. I also like to use "Ewww, kids, who wants those."

    So maybe a "We try all the time, but I'd have to stop using birth control first."

  34. Since before we were married my in-laws having been pressuring us to have babies (mostly just my MIL, my BIL and my husband’s grandmother). We got married and it got worse. We bought a house and it got even worse. We had our plan – my husband wanted to wait until we were married a year and I wanted to wait until after my sister’s wedding as I wanted to celebrate with her (conveniently her wedding was about 10 months after ours). At Mothers’ Day last year my BIL would say things like “Do you guys have something you want to announce?” (“ummmm Nope!”) At family suppers he would make a big deal about if I wasn’t drinking (“I am driving”). My husband’s grandmother wrote in our housewarming card that now that we had a house it was time to make babies. Other relatives on that said ask me if I am “practicing” when I am holding my nieces or nephews (lol). At Thanksgiving one year my BIL and MIL were talking about us and making comments about babies (we walked in on the conversation and my husband looked at me and said “unless there is something I don’t know?” and I just said “then I don’t know it either”). And I don’t know if this is better or worse but my FIL likes to deflect and make it seem like he doesn’t care if we have children, so after other people would bring it up he would make comments like “It’s ok if you don’t’ have children. I hear that a lot of couples aren’t having children these days.” If he was sincere about it that would be different but he wants more grandchildren (for him it’s a societal norm) and he wanted my MIL to be happy and he will only be happy with we have children (specially a boy since she has three granddaughters already).

    So my husband and I started trying and the comments started to really get on my nerves. We only told a couple of very close people (two being my husband’s cousin and his wife who I am close friends with). We did not need the pressure of my in-laws knowing, especially since I have had friends and family who struggled with infertility for years. (If we had told them that we were trying then every time we talked to them they would ask us if we were pregnant yet.) Even though we hadn’t been trying long (the first comment came our first cycle) I would get really upset when people would bring it up. We only tried for two cycles and we were very lucky to get pregnant. Then we avoided my in-laws a little so I didn’t have to deal with the comments but there were a few events before Christmas that I couldn’t avoid. I was really happy because no one made any comments (I was so hormonal and so sick with morning sickness that I would have probably flipped if anyone asked me). While we were trying and early in our pregnancy I had prepared a line to remind my in-laws that it is a very sensitive issue (luckily I never had to use it) – the gest being that it would be really horrible for them to asked us that question if we had been trying for the last year and were struggling with infertility or if we had a miscarriage we hadn’t told them about so we would prefer that they back off. My BIL and his wife got pregnant without trying; however my BIL did accidently ask a friend about her pregnancy right after she had a miscarriage (it was an honest mistake but it made him feel horrible). My MIL also took a long time to get pregnant with her first baby and it was really hard for her so I figure appealing to that would remind her that she might be excited for us to have children but that other things might be going on. Then on Christmas we announced that we were pregnant and everyone was very excited (now they are waiting to find out the sex).

  35. I have been married for about a year and a half but I have had caregiving responsibilities for about three. People who know me, know this. Caregiving had murdered my social life and put added stress on my work life, so there is absolutely no way to throw a pregnancy let alone a baby into the mix. I'm already getting up in the middle of the night to clean grandma up from an accident on a regular basis, I had hoped after the wedding I could start to back away from caregiving to spend some time with my husband to enjoy being newlyweds before I dove back into getting up during the night to change diapers again, but my family has "had a hard time" finding my replacement. (Hell, I didn't even get a day off after we got home from the wedding… Landed at the airport, kissed my husband good bye, and went and took care of grandma)

    When people bring up the fact that we haven't had kids yet (it's usually coupled with a comment about my age, and I'm only 31!!) it just makes me feel like 1. I'm not doing enough already, 2. They truly don't understand or are insensitive to what I have to deal with while caregiving (Alzheimer's sucks btw. And my mom also has it so it's not like I can talk to her about this stuff), or 3. They don't realize how freaking frustrating it is to really want to start a family but be met with all sorts of horrendous obstacles that shouldn't be a factor to begin with. It's never "I know you have a lot on your plate, you're doing a great job", it's "so when's the baby coming?"

    I want to cry right now thinking about it.

    Thankfully we have decided to move to get out of this town (it's isolated with not a lot of job opportunities, and buying a home here is a pipe dream), be closer to his family, and for better job opportunities, so we will be out of here shortly and can begin to focus on starting a family.

    • Martha, I feel for you. Really. I've been there and am still there too. My 80 year old mother was diagnosed with senile dementia 4 years ago when I noticed she'd dropped about 40lbs and got her to a Dr. I then had to step in to make sure she ate every day since my father just took her word for it because when asked, she said yes and would describe something she may have eaten two days ago. Difficult with 3 pre-teen kids and a farm of my own to take care of, but doable. Then last Feb. My B-I-L passed from cancer and my 50yr old diabetic sister had a mild stroke a week later. I am their only other child and therefore, the only one they have to take care of things.
      My sister moved in with my parents while she recovered, but then subsequently went blind from diabetic complications. I became responsible for helping her handle her business affairs and settling my B-I-L's estate, selling her properties and home, as well as seeing that she had meals and medications.
      Last summer I noticed my father declining and he wound up with a diagnosis of dementia as well. To top it all off, he had to have emergency surgery right before Christmas and we discovered his stage 4 colon cancer. A week later my sister had another stroke and a couple of TIAs. My mother continues her decline to the point that she must have supervision. NONE of them will even consider assisted living.
      One thing I have learned is that you _have_ to set boundaries. I damn near had a nervous breakdown before I had to make a hard stand for myself. I no longer blindly sacrifice my life, marriage, or my kids' life for their convenience. I am available for emergencies and four days a week for about 30ish hours total.
      At least I got them to hire a sitter for nights by forcing the issue. Before then it was "too expensive". I simply told them that I was strung out and if they needed more, they were going to have to go into assisted living or a rest home.
      At some point you are going to have to put yourself first or you won't have anything left over for them.

  36. My husband & I are undecided on the subject of children. Since getting married (and before) I've had plenty of people ask "how many kids do you think you want?" I answer honestly "we are thinking 0-2". It never fails to elicit an awkward chuckle & complete shutting up on the subject. My coworker who doesn't really want children but is open to it if his future spouse really wants them told me "good answer"

  37. My polite answers are usually either that we're waiting until my husband is done with his degree (for mostly strangers) or until we get a better handle on his health situation (for distant relatives). If they get me on the wrong day or if they're irritating/persistent, a comment about modern medical miracles usually cools things off.

    Though over Christmas my husband's best friend was pushing the topic, so I told him that my boss said that I should just drag one Mr.Me's friends off into a corner and there you go! Instant baby! I then assured him that I didn't plan on taking the advice and that he was safe. He had the best look on his face!

  38. During the process of my wedding and the short time after, there was a lot of those questions, though most were thankfully the more respectful "is this something you guys want?" type. My answer usually ended up the same though; "I can't". I never felt the need to be ashamed about something that boils down to a simple fact. And while my fertility is a bit more complicated than that, I wanted to be sure that I didn't just let it be the default that now that I'm married I am both capable of and want to have children. Saying it in such a blunt way as if it's just as normal to say as anything else does tend to both temporarily confuse the more rude and at the same time doesn't break the flow of conversation so you can easily move to other topics.

  39. I wish I heard comments like that…because of my constant health issues I get the 'you poor baby you want to be normal and have kids' stare whenever I mention it. My MIL even asked if 'people like me' have a right to have kids…we've been trying for a while over 3yrs. I'm two surgeries for thyroid later and everything is working but my body temp is still so low….drives me crazy to try and fail over and over

  40. I have been wondering about this question too, but from the opposite perspective. I have read offbeat for years, and seen the topic come up several times in different ways.

    What I want to know is, is there a way to ask without being a bugger about it? For instance I would never say "where is the baby" because I think that is being presumptuous on a number of levels, but I might ask "so are kids a yes or no", or "are you considering having kids" or something along those lines, as I have friends who are adamantly in the no column, and honestly I am just curious.

    To me it is akin to "when are you getting married?" Which I won't ask either but might ask if that the party thought it was just a piece of paper, or if it was something they wanted to do. Maybe I am an insensitive jerk, but I would like to know, especially if someone I care about is dealing with a difficult period because of an issue like this.

    So is there a way I can make a light inquiry without being a jerk?

    • I can't speak to whether this sounds too jerky, but I like to say "do you see getting married/having kids in your life plan?" It seems to let people communicate their preferences without being too explicit.

      Of course, I also ask if they see travelling/living overseas/having a pet/buying a house/working at a cool job etc. in their life plan as well, because life plans are about more things than just marriage and babies.

    • You might try talking about your own situation or mention your child-free friends and see if they comment on that. Only if the topic of the conversation is about life plans, kids or similar, of course.
      I think when people are comfortable to share personal information with you, they will do so on their own once the topic comes up. If they don't, let it go.
      *let it gooo, let it goooooo…!*
      …damn.

  41. I think I suffer from vaginismus (too paralysed with fear, too weak to do anything about it) and sometimes I wonder what the reaction would be if I said to those intrusive people "actually, I'm too scared to even do the thing that gets you pregnant."

    • I've been diagnosed with this and this site has been amazing:
      http://www.vaginismus.com
      Vaginismus is totally something that is resolvable and my husband (of less than a month) and I are working on it at the moment.
      We got lots of questions about when we were planning kids before the wedding and mostly told people "we're not going to muck around" but then in the week before the wedding we decided to wait a year.
      I'm worried how I'll react if asked the baby question at this point… I think I would probably say "after we start having sex" and then I might be embarassed.

    • Hey Octavia,

      there was a wonderful article on vaginismus on here, where the gal couldn't have sex with her husband because of the pain. The comment section was full of commiserating and some advice.
      There was also a follow-up article recently where she talked about how she got pregnant and gave birth.
      Both articles were really interesting, but I couldn't find them. Can someone help me?

    • Hi Octavia! I wasn't ever diagnosed with vaginismus (um, too scared to go to the gyno), but I definitely had that problem for years. It /is/ a lonely problem, but it is sooo fixable. To get into TMI territory…I purchased a set of dilators for about $50; they turned out to be a life-saver. It takes some time to get used to it (I used a combination of porn to get myself off and then soothing Zen music to practice with the dilator), but you'll feel so great about every step of progress you make. My husband and I were finally able to achieve penetration about four months ago, which was another adjustment, but after a while it's started to feel good! If I can do it, you can too. <3

  42. I had conversation that went like this today:

    "So have you guys talked about having kids yet?"
    "We're not having any."
    "Really? Why not?"
    "We don't want any."
    "…Oh."

    Sometimes being short, blunt, and to the point is the best way to handle these situations, at least if the person is fairly polite about asking. The "have you talked about it" question is a lot more acceptable in my book than "when are you going to" because the former doesn't make any stupid assumptions.

    I also have a very special response for people who ask questions that run along the lines of, "Aren't your parents going to be disappointed about not having grandkids?" which is, "That would be pretty selfish of them, considering they aren't ones who have to bear nine months of pregnancy and raise the kid for 18+ years." I actually called out a relative for being selfish when he expressed his desire for my fiance and I to have kids. It's not your decision or your life, buddy, so butt out. He was actually very surprised by the point and also apologetic. I don't think most people realize how selfish they are being when they're like "I want you to have kids for MEEEEE." But they are. It is probably the most self-centered, selfish thing you could say to a person, considering both the short and long-term implications of having a kid. My occasional follow-up if I'm feeling really grumpy is, "If you want kids so much, get your own."

  43. Annoying person: "Where's the baby?"
    You: "What an awkward personal question."
    ….Hopeful end of discussion. If not….
    Annoying person: "Haha, but really?"
    You, perhaps leaning in to whisper confidentially: "That was me trying to tactfully tell you to mind your own business, but it doesn't work if you don't stop."

    • Wow, you wouldn't believe these things happen, but they do!

      I was at a family function with my husband of two years, and we were trying but had decided to tell noone. So I was talking to some in-laws when from the other side of the room someone I had just met 20 minutes ago – the partner of the sister of the uncle of my husband's cousin or something – yelled across the room:

      "So, when are you two having kids?"
      And the room fell silent.

      I slowly turned around and said:
      "Uh… that … is a … pretty indiscreet question."
      And was flabbergasted when she replied cheerfully:
      "Yeah I know, but I'm just the person to ask things like this anyway! … So, how about it?"

      I had that line prepared just in case someone would ask about kids. But I never thought I would need a follow-up. So I just stammered some lies about "not yet". And I hate lying. But I also don't feel I should have to give personal details just because someone is so rude to ask.
      Afterwards I thought I should have said
      "The activity or inactivity of my uterus is none of your business!", because people get scared if you're blunt, and also, they are weirdly scared by the word 'uterus'.
      Sadly, or luckily?, I didn't get the chance to use that line. So feel free to do so, if you need to! The Power of the uterus be with you! 🙂

  44. There is only one way to ask- "Are you planning on having kids?"

    Why do I think it is okay? Well, the question is posing that you may or may not want kids, and isn't judgmental about it. I think it gives you can chance to answer for many situations without it being awkward. Megan can answer her "hell no!" or a "we are trying, but not having much luck right now." I think it is honestly acceptable to ask if you plan on having kids, but only if the person is going to honestly listen. It's not cool if every year if your Aunt asks, expecting a different response. I think family does have the right to have a yes or no answer. For example my sister had children and now has old cribs, clothes and toys. By asking and remembering my answer, she knows to ask if I would like to take any of them, or to just take them to donate.

    Granted, I've been asked way too often in appropriate questions like "When do you think you'll have kids?" or "When will you give your parents a grandkid?" That is annoying. I think adults asking these questions annoy me more than when my peers ask, since I am young, so I think when friends or co-workers ask, it is honestly curiosity since I am fairly young for my generation to get married. Especially since I have friends and co-workers that are younger than me. To me it makes sense that they would ask since some of their friends had gotten pregnant but didn't get married and we live in a bad economy where I know lots of longterm couples that don't get married because of a lack of money. I am sure they think "well surely they got married to have kids right?"

  45. We can't have children so I've always been annoyed with this question. I've said "I like cocktails better.", "Our bits are broken, thanks for asking." and, on one memorable day, I burst into tears on purpose just to deliver my point. This was only after a few years of questions, though. I've usually said "Why do you need to know?" Most people think about it at that point.

    Because of this, I always try to direct conversations with newlyweds away from this topic. One day a friend pulled me aside to thank me and ask me how I knew to change the topic. They'd just had a miscarriage and were still in shock. This is such a fraught question that I feel like everyone should really be made aware by people who aren't hurting that it isn't cool to act like you have a right to know.

  46. So am I the only one who has gotten married and not gotten this question? We've been married for over a year and I've heard it twice- once from a person I just met, and one from a crazy old neighbor. My family has kept decidedly mum about it, even though we've talked about having kids before.

    • I got the stupid baby comments from not-so-close friends when we got engaged. I responded with a Facebook post: "Please stop the pregnancy jokes. It's not as funny as you think."

      I'd like to think that my family know better than to bring it up, and his mother and sisters are more polite than most people — a BIL, not so much, but he knows I don't appreciate it. The stony look-slow-blink-away combo has that effect…

  47. I'm in the "They should know better than to ask" camp. I got to the point where I was just honest with people, in an unemotional way: "Well, actually, I have PCOS. Since I don't ovulate regularly, it's hard to say when we will be able to conceive." I think that you have to be blunt. This will either make people change the subject, or if it is someone who actually cares, they might get the clue and ask about how you are and try to be there for you.

    Oddly enough, the questions actually became more frequent after we had our son. It was like, now that fertility is proven possible, when will you have more??? Um, having one kid is a major lifestyle change, we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

  48. Honestly, no one owes anyone a baby. Babies as status symbols is a ~disgusting~ part of our culture. I've been dating my bf for three years (and I'm only 23) and my mom has started harping on the marriage/baby questions lately.

    She does not seem to understand my anger. She's "just wondering" like someone could just wonder about when you're going to paint your bedroom like you've been talking about.

    The thing is, marriage does not equal babies. Love does not equal babies. Sex doesn't even equal babies. BABIES DOESN'T even equal babies because babies are actually children who need care and who grow up and is a big decision to make and should be respected as such by others.

    I tell people as much. This is one of my hot button topics atm.

  49. My husband and I are still in the "I don't know if we do – and we may just adopt if we do anyway" camp, and I just want to thank everyone for these awesome answers! I've always thought it was a weird and stupid question to ask someone. My poor friend was at her best friend's baby shower a few weeks ago, and was told "Oh, you guys have always done everything together! You should be having babies together!" not knowing that, yes, they should have been, had my friend not gone through a very traumatic miscarriage a few months earlier.

  50. Been with partner for 10 years so we get lots of this. I agree there are two different types of questions and one type is okay. Do you guys want kids? Etc are fine by me, they don't just assume, they don't demand and I generally find they come from more respectful people in general.

    Then there are the rude ones. My Mil only stopped asking when I said we will have them when partner can give birth to them. Before that she was starting to make me really angry, we went to her house and I got sick, throwing up etc, instantly the "Omg you must be pregnant" garbage started, now I know lots of people will say that as an annoying joke when you are sick as a twenty something female, at my work if you are throwing up you must be pregnant (male, female, sexual orientation and age mean nothing, which is why everyone at work is cool with it) and that doesn't bother me but she was serious, replying that unless pregnancy gives you explosive diareaha along with vomiting tends to stop that though. It depends how I feel when asked, generally my answer to the question no matter how it is framed is a disgusted/ annoyed/ are you a complete idiot look along with an"Yeah, no" the combination of unfriendly facial expression with a very straightforward unquestionable answer tends to shut people up. It's just a total refusal to engage in the topic. If I am having a hostile day or been asked to many times recently I reply with "what makes you think that's an acceptable question to ask, have I ever asked about your sex life?" that tends to shut most people up. If the same person is asking over and over I will start to get rude, or go on a full on rant about how women are more than the product of their uterus, how questions like that are rude, how thy must make couples who are trying but suffering fertility issues feel etc etc. That really gets the point across. And lo and behold any person who comes out with some absolute whale shit about any woman who does not have a child is not being true to herself and is not a real woman. Then I tell them they are wrong and they are an arsehole, straight to their face.

  51. For what it’s worth I think that while there are lots of insensitive askers out there this problem it’s not automatically the askers fault and it’s certainly not the asked person’s fault either. Looking at it quite abstractly I admit, it’s can’t really be someone’s fault that the thing they have asked about something that they didn’t know you are struggling with and don’t want to talk about. That said I would very much hope that anyone with any kind of exposure to human beings would have noticed that this is a good reason to be careful with questions but we have all made faux pas in areas where we don’t have personal experience about something (although yes, there are some people that seem to make way more than their share…). The degree of hurt felt when this happens is not an automatic measure of the degree of badness of the asker, which is of course doubly unfair on the asked person and they are stuck with a double dose of hurt and anger.

    I asked my sister the where’s the baby question (though not those words) a year after her marriage. Because we are close and because she told me she’d be trying straight away. It was just the two of us and it led to a very teary conversation (both of us) about the upsetting year of trying. After that she did begin telling more members of the family about the problems she and her partner had been having and I could see that there was a certain amount of relief gained from stopping secret keeping (not that I am saying keeping this secret is bad, not at all). Ultimately they were lucky, they had just begun being tested and examining options when they fell pregnant.

    I wouldn’t dream of asking the question out of the blue to someone I didn’t know well just because they had got married but I don’t think that the topic of children is an automatically a no go area in part of the getting to know someone conversation. Not an opener for sure and not an obligatory piece of info to be obtained. As someone who will now never have a child (hysterectomy last year) it is something I have to deal with every time I meet anyone new, sooner or later in getting to know someone we will reach a point where my history will become known, it is a part of me. It’s not always a straightforward thing to talk about but my discomfort it doesn’t mean the asker is wrong to have brought it up. I think women get asked this stuff more than men (which I don’t like) and I do think it would be great to be less focused on it, but children and not having children are a huge part of human experience, so it does comes up.

    I love some of the suggested snarky replies here and I wouldn’t want to say anyone would be wrong to use them and to be angry but I do wonder if there may be bigger battles to use energy on here. I have never been pressured to give anyone a grandchild so I suppose I am dealing with a different situation but when getting to know new people and I try and see their questions as interest in me and a good thing. I just think that if no one ever asked anyone anything for fear of offending we’d lose some great opportunities for understand each other better and to sometimes to beneficially talk about stuff we would otherwise not have. This is of course coloured by my own experience so I don’t wish to any invalidate the pain anyone struggling with infertile may be feeling.

  52. After 14 years I still get asked. I had a cousin (with four children) that would relentlessly hound me at every family event. After years of harassment I finally told her, "I thought she had enough children for the both of us." After that it stopped. Years later I knew that what I had said resonated because another cousin of ours had her fifth and shortly after that baby was born she said, "Now (insert name here) had more children than her so now (the other cousin) was why I didn't "need" to have kids." Generally when people ask I simply say that we feel satisfied with our lives and don't have the desire to be parents. Even though it is none of their business I do respond with my real reason because I feel like the more people hear about people choosing to be child-free the more socially acceptable becomes.

  53. I don't get this question that much, but I think it's because I have a history of taking my sweet-ass time about everything, and I don't talk about it along the way. My husband and I were 30 when we got married, and were together for 4 years before getting engaged. I didn't tell my family I was dating him until we'd been together for 6 months, our wedding was low-key, we've basically just gone about our lives without much discussion of our decisions etc. Compare and contrast with my sisters, who got married at 21, 24, and 25, and met their respective husbands 2 or fewer years prior to getting engaged. One of my sisters started trying to get pregnant right after her wedding, and told everyone about it, while another actually consults my parents for help with charting. Both of them are pregnant right now (they're actually due the same week, lol), and while my sister did ask me if I happened to also be pregnant, because it would be funny, that's the first time she's mentioned it in about 3 or 4 years.

    So, I might be a bit of an anomaly in that I have a big family, so the spotlight is shifting way too often for me to be the center of scrutiny for too long, but it also helps that I generally hold my cards close to my chest anyway. I've just never felt the need to discuss my life all that much, so I guess they figure I'll tell them if/when I feel like it.

    My in-laws, though, haven't asked us either, and I think it's probably because my husband DOES tell them almost everything, so I guess they figure he'd tell them if there was anything to tell?

  54. I would be oh-so-tempted to be horribly sarcastic and say something like "Oh no! Where IS the baby?! Did I forget it again?" But that's me. And would totally depend on the context and the relationship with the person I was saying it to. (It's probably good that my friends and relations have had the sense not to poke into my reproductive business too much…)

  55. As an introverted, infertile, GenX woman, I love this website, but I find conversations like this one completely baffling. To me our culture has become marked by a total lack of boundaries, and a need to over share – Facebook, blogs, reality shows. So it is a complete surprise that in face-to-face communication, the boundaries seem to be pushing further outward. In a time where people are struggling to explain transgender & poly issues, I am baffled that so many seem to take offense at what for most people is a simple question about your life. I've also found it surprising that for many it seems to matter how the question is phrased.

    Granted, pressure from relatives is not OK, and there are whole books about these types of boundary issues. However, the questions I got right after marriage were meant to be a good-humored joke. They knew most newlyweds don't want kids right away. In effect, they were saying, "So, you think life has changed now, wait till you have kids!" These folks and acquaintances who ask about kids don't know that the subject is painful for you. For people with kids, they are such a huge part of their lives, that getting to know others means learning about their kids, too. They don't mean to be rude, and really, I don't think they are. In my experience if they knew how painful it was for me, they wouldn't ask. I found that those who do know, ask because they care.

    As for how to respond, when I was younger, how much I said depended on how well I knew the person. Yes, it was a painful process, but now it is easy to say, "We aren't able to have kids, but we have nieces/nephews/godchildren and we are blessed to be involved in their lives. Tell me about your children." This relieves the other person of feeling bad for making an innocent blunder and steers the conversation away from TMI. Now, I am able to casually drop it into conversation. It is who I am and if I want to get to know another person, I am willing to share these things. However I mention it and move on and don't make a big deal out of it.

    I think the conversations might actually be harder for those who choose not to have kids, because it is easy to feel defensive about the choices we make, fearing judgment from others. I think the key here is that eventually you will become comfortable enough not to worry about other people's opinions on the matter. Again, I think a simple response, such as "we aren't having children any time soon" and a change of subject would suffice. If not, a more direct, "lets talk about something else" should do. I think this would also work for those who are trying but don't want to talk about it. "Soon" is a relative term and if you aren't pregnant yet, I think it is justified.

    Finally, I am finding it strange to be crossing the generation gap. As a very private person, I am so in awe of the women who write on this website, who are willing to put themselves out there in this way. It has given me a window into this generation and the courage to speak up once in a while. Thank you.

    • *STANDS UP AND APPLAUDS!*

      I especially love this:

      I think the key here is that eventually you will become comfortable enough not to worry about other people's opinions on the matter.

  56. We had trouble conceiving as well, and it didn't happen for us for ten years. My DH's grandmother was relentless about asking us when we were going to have kids (as if her other 6 grand and 6 great grandchildren weren't enough) especially at extended family get-togethers. I finally put a stop to it (nicely) at a family gathering by telling her that if we tried any harder, my husband would have to quit his job. She laughed and blushed and let it go.

  57. Wow, thanks everyone for the awesome comebacks! I'll definently be stealing the " why are you so interested in our sex life? ". The only problem Ihave now is that my sister recently had a baby and now every cconversation with her is "look how perfect my child is, when are you going to have one?? ". Ugghh Just shoot me now

  58. If you can bring yourself to be honest, I recommend it; it shushes 90% of the askers. They become shocked because they didn't expect honesty, or that answer, they were genuinely just asking because they are too ignorant to know it's not okay to just go around asking.
    Of course, it's easy for me to say that because at 18 weeks pregnant after IVF I'm *starting* to believe I'm going to come out the other side with a baby. I did have someone tell me that a comment I made about "moment of conception" was TMI (as in knowing the exact time, etc!) and I said "yeah, it was in a petrie dish, I forgot people make babies that other way."
    And my husband had the comment the other day about how we should get ready to buy a house in the suburbs with a bajillion bedrooms and my husband didn't know what to say. I told him he should have said "we have one embryo on ice, so we're not exactly counting on a brood", and scare him off that way.
    People are rude. Except for when I'm a sniveling emotional mess, I prefer to turn it around on them, I'm not interested in making people comfortable if they're not approaching me gently in the first place.

  59. I've been married for 1 year and my in-laws would not stop asking about when my husband and I were going to have a baby. And this is after I told them, point-blank, that I was never having children. They told me I would change my mind. They told me life has no meaning until you birth a human. They told me they were going to throw me a Disney Princess-themed baby shower, because wouldn't that be cute! To be clear, I asked for power tools and Home Depot gift cards for Christmas. I got so fed up with telling them that I wasn't having kids, and listening to the condescend to tell me what I WILL FEEL in some unspecified amount of time. So I told both my mother-in-law and sister-in-law that every time they opened their mouths about my hypothetical pregnancy, they were disrespecting me; disrespecting my choices, disrespecting my agency, disrespecting my adulthood, and disrespecting my personal boundaries. To define my life by my reproductive choices is insulting. To continue to flout my stated boundaries is an affront. To say that life doesn't have meaning without children is to devalue the lives of every person who is childless, especially those who can't conceive. They were shocked, and told me they were just having some fun. I told them the next time they choose to insult someone's life choices, and pry into their sex life, maybe they should offer up some information about their own sex lives first.

    I haven't heard a word about it since.

  60. Whenever i get asked, it's either shrugging and saying, 'ehh, not an option at this point. Unless you want to finance it? 😀 " to which they chuckle nervously and back away; or i lean in close and hiss 'I ATE IT. IT WAS DELICIOUS'.
    But it's mostly a blunt answer. 'No. Not interested in kids. Loving the sex though.'
    All of my friends are cool about it, and the parentals know that they're not getting any grandkids, period.
    If one of my friends was hanging for a baby i'd have heard about it already – thanks FB! lol

  61. We have tried everything. I've said "I promise to let you know", "not today", "we're not quite ready", "maybe in a few years" and "Back the f*ck off". I hate to tell you, but some people will not let up, no matter what the response. They ask me every single time I see them, without fail. I have had to pull away from them out of necessity. After 5 years of marriage, we are finally ready to ditch the birth control. Those specific pushy, nosy people (who are close family members) have earned themselves 'last to know' status once the time comes. I'm so jaded about it now that I want to tell them only when it becomes too obvious to deny. I now care much less about their opinions. Childbearing, as with all of my lifestyle decisions, are simply none of their business.

  62. Due to health reasons on both sides it's highly unlikely DH & I will conceive, we've accepted that IF/when we want kids we'll adopt. But his mom is So Less Than Thrilled by that answer [bitch please, you have grand babies already!] So at this point when I'm asked 'are you even trying?' I respond with 'nope, not ready to ruin my life yet! As you well know your son's sperm count is like Zero. So even if I were to become pregnant, well it probably wouldn't be his, would it?' *eyeroll*

  63. I got all the stupid comments when we got engaged. I ended them with a Facebook post:

    "Please stop the pregnancy jokes. It's not as funny as you think."

    We got married this past May. Nobody has said a word, except for when I was sitting in what I thought would be a quiet stairwell trying to get my 2-month-old nephew to sleep that night — and I gave them a quiet bollocking for keeping him awake with their idiotic guffawing..

    I'd like to think that our families and most of our friends know better than to ask at this stage — we've been together five years now and I still refer to my cat as my kid. My parents finally have a human grandchild who lives four doors down, MIL has six grandkids between two of her daughters and doesn't seem to be in any rush for another (probably helps that Himself is the only son…).

    And we won't be telling anyone our news unless medically necessary until after my scan in September.

  64. My spouse and I had been on a "Deciding Not To Decide" Train for most of our relationship– leaning heavily toward being Childfree or adopting an older child. Our families have always been extremely respectful of our choices, which has been awesome, but it's inescapable as we near our thirties and have been together almost a decade. People ask, what can you do? I always told them my "Decided Not To Decide," line, about how we don't want kids right now but don't know what we'll want in five years, how we think about adopting, blah blah blah. That worked really well and I was comfortable with it.

    Then my husband got diagnosed with testicular cancer, and during that magical time we found out we'll never be able to have biological kids of our own. It was kind of like getting fired from a job you hate? Like, you didn't really want that job, you had long term plans to definitely quit someday, but man, it still sucked really hard getting fired. That's what infertility feels like for me.

    After that the question took on a whole new set of awfulness– just a reminder of that awful time in our lives. I have never had that strong maternal drive, we were never those people who couldn't wait to have kids, but even so, knowing we Couldn't, instead of Weren't was really shitty.

    For awhile after we found out I would get so upset when people would ask me about kids I would snap back at them about testicular cancer. Which only had the effect of startling people who are well meaning and encouraging Nosy Nellies to say things like "Oh, honey, lots of men go on to have babies after they have testicular cancer! Even so, YOU don't have anything wrong with you, you could get a sperm donor!" A) yes, lots of men are able to have kids after testicular cancer, but my spouse is not. B) Sperm donors are awesome options for other people, but the idea has always been off-putting for me.

    As I've come to a better peace with my situation, I just tell them the truth, which is, "We talk about adopting a teenager when we have more room. We love the idea of being empty nesters before we're thirty!" 🙂

  65. My husband and I have been "lightly trying" for about a year and a half. I had a miscarriage early in that time, and then due to PCOS, apparently haven't ovulated since. We knew we might not have an easy time, but it has still been traumatic. I get asked this question all the time, and my usual answer has been a vague, "Actually, we're going to have a hard time." Then quick subject change. Usually people get the hint, and from the look on their faces, I do feel like that level of honesty might possibly make them realize what a personal question they're asking.
    However, the last time I was asked, when I gave my usual "Actually, we're gonna have a hard time", the response floored me. My co-worker interrupted me, saying "No you're not. Because it's in God's hands." I was so angry and hurt I didn't even know what to do. I realize that she was trying to reassure me, but instead she was downplaying all of the hurt I have gone through, and all the hurt that may be still to come.
    I think my response in the future will have to let people know what an incredibly rude thing it is to ask something so personal. I hate to be mean when people are really just trying to be nice and interested in your life, but I'd rather help change peoples' actions than give a fake smile and fake answer, or open myself up to be vulnerable to people I barely know.

  66. This is one of the things that I actually find really annoying and rude: asking about other people's sex lives. I mean, that's essentially what it is, right?
    I kind of see it in the same way as how people judge homosexuality and other non-binary sexual preferences/orientation: why the hell do people feel so self-important to pass judgement about how any other person prefers to (or not to) have sex? It's really super freaking rude, in my opinion.

  67. I am in the same situation sadly. One of the worst things is when you tell people you are trying and they say "Oh just stop trying and stop stressing about it and it'll happen" 1) you were just egging me on to hurry up and have a baby 2) if you are blessed with a happy healthy baby at home you do not get to ever say "oh just stop trying" to someone who wants so badly what you have! One person I even asked kindly "please don't say that we are struggling with some medical issues at the moment and it isn't really helpful" to which she persisted to push the issue! 3) when you have been trying for that long chances are you went through the "maybe it'll be a happy accident" phase so "just stop trying" is a slap in the face

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