Stop Asking My Husband & Me When We're Going to Have a Baby​

couple talking in bed

Before my now-husband and I were even engaged, I was popped a big question. A question most women hear shortly after saying "I do" (which is still usually too soon). A question even couples who would answer in the affirmative aren't fans of. "When are you going to start trying?" The oh-so-innocent-seeming string of words that is actually beyond loaded, because it basically translates to, "So, tell me everything about your personal health, relationship, finances, and oh yeah, the state of your uterus!"

Yep, people were asking me that before I even had a ring on it! Maybe that's because I had been dating and living with my husband for more than five years before we got engaged, and with marriage having less and less to do with having a kid, they wondered if we'd become parents before we became spouses. Or hey, maybe they were simply curious about our baby-making plans.

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Either way, after having tied the knot and been hit up for this extremely personal information countless times, what I still can't wrap my head around is: Why oh why does anyone -- yes, even you, potential grandparents! -- think they are entitled to the nitty-gritty of other people's family plans?

Let me just say that I'm rarely one to play my cards close to the vest. I am usually an unapologetic big mouth. My husband seems to be equal parts appreciative and annoyed that I handle 99 percent of the correspondence/social media for us as a couple. I don't mind fielding most personal questions and will answer honestly and probably with more detail than you were expecting.

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But being asked about my husband's and my plans for becoming parents is an entirely different ball game. Given the absolute ease and even crass shamelessness with which casual acquaintances and strangers inquire about something so sensitive, I can't help but be taken aback every time.

I get it: Despite people doing these things in all different orders and time frames these days, baby-making seems like the logical "next step" after marriage. Thus, on the premeditated list of questions to ask people as they hit various adult milestones, "When are you going to have a baby?" comes right after "How's married life?" It's small talk. But that's the thing: It's a topic that's the opposite of small!

How (hopefully naturally, but maybe fertility treatment will have to come into play) and when you might choose to have a baby (yes, it's a choice some may opt out of) are extremely personal decisions. Yes, they're decisions some couples come to more quickly or easily, but they're no less complicated or deserving of thought and weight.

Because for many couples, before "trying" is even on their radar, they need to jump through certain preconceptual hoops like contending with fertility issues or genetic disease counseling, fighting a chronic illness or condition, getting out of debt, caring for sick or aging parents, or coping with unemployment.

Not all hoops need to be scary or stressful. Many are just logical, like wanting to travel more, to bulk up savings for a slightly cushier nest egg, or to buy a house. One partner may want to switch careers; the other may try to get in better shape physically.

Whether it suits our idea of what newlywed life "should" look like or not, these are all unique challenges many couples need to contend with before they can even think about having a child.

We hear all the time that the only two people who know what is going on in a relationship are the people in it, and ultimately, that couldn't be more true than when it comes to going from married to married with kids.

All that said, I'll gladly volunteer the occasional update on where my husband and I stand to close family and friends. With them, because they know the specific hoops we're dealing with, it's a different story. But when it comes to those who don't know our deal, being prodded for answers -- or having to hear the question thrown around in a way that's as blasé as "Did you open a joint checking account?" or "When do you think you'll get a new car?" -- really, the only legitimate response is the evil eye.

How do you feel about asking this of couples? How have you felt when you were asked?

 

Image via Frederic Cirou/PhotoAlto/Corbis

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