How do you answer those nosy questions about babies?

A Facebook rant by Emily Bingham  about people who ask her when she’s going to have a baby went viral last month. She wants all those who keep asking to know, “It’s none of your business.” Read all about it here.

We’ve all heard the questions. The second you get married, people want to know when you’re going to have a baby. If you’re pushing 30, they start warning that you’re running out of time. Your parents rag on you about giving them grandchildren. Well-meaning friends who have children urge you to get busy and start making babies so you can raise them together. These days, even if you’re single, people may encourage you to adopt or get pregnant with a donor.

But Bingham is right. It’s none of their freaking business.

The questions don’t stop after you reach menopause. People assume that you, like most folks, have children. They want to know how many, how old, where do they live, are you a grandparent yet, etc. Yes, I’m sorry, but it never stops.

The worst time for these questions is when you’re still trying to figure it all out. As Bingham writes, you may be struggling with infertility, having marital problems, or aren’t sure whether you both want children. Just asking the question may trigger a wave of grief or anger.

And how do you answer? Have you ever said, “That’s none of your business?” Or do you dodge around the question. “Well, we aren’t quite ready yet.” Do you blame your partner? “I want kids, but Joe says he doesn’t.” Do you make a joke, maybe saying, “We’ve decided dogs are easier.”

In my fertile days, I used the “not ready” answer for a long time. Sometimes I implied that I had health problems. Sometimes I blamed my lousy husband for not wanting kids. Now that it’s a done deal, I have better answers. With my churchy friends, I can say, “God had other plans for me.” With others, I answer honestly, then change the subject. “Nope. No kids. So, you have four, huh?”

Some people claim their pets as children. Some say they’re too busy to have kids. Some say they don’t have room in their lives for both their work and children. And of course there’s the “childfree” crowd who proudly state that they never wanted children.

But how many of us say, “You know, that’s kind of private. Let’s talk about something else.” Or, “That’s none of your damned business.”

What do you say when people start getting nosy? One of the people I interviewed for my book, when asked why she didn’t have children, answered, “Because I’ve seen yours.” Let’s build a list of good comebacks in the comments.

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6 thoughts on “How do you answer those nosy questions about babies?

  1. I like to tell people that now is not the time or the place to discuss my reproductive organs… That usually shuts them up…. 😂😂😂

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  2. Yes that question. I say I was never lucky enough to have any. It hurts when they ask and I wish people would not assume.
    Like you Sue I am 47, my friends are becoming grandmothers or there are their children’s weddings it is so heartbreaking some days. Recently we were invited to my husbands friend’s daughter’s 21st. I was very uneasy as they married 3 wks before my husband and I, they came to our wedding. I am not close to the mother but she was lovely and inclusive. I got through it okay but I thought all night what might have been.
    Thank you Sue for this wonderful blog I love it and it saves my sanity and grief 💜

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    • Thank you for your kind words, Cheryl. The blog means a lot to me, too. It’s the only place I can talk about this stuff to people who understand. All we can do is try to be happy for our friends whose kids are getting married and having babies.

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  3. Even simple comments are hurtful. Someone recently told us how cute our kids would be (I think because we are in an interracial relationship). He’s already had his kids but has had a vasectomy. I wanted to cry.

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  4. I usually end up excusing myself to the restroom to cry after a quick ” nope, none yet…” brush off. I don’t even think my husband realizes I cry. It really hurts when people probe such a sensitive area for me. I know they dont mean any harm by it, but it still hurts just the same.

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  5. Sometimes I paste a grin on my face and say, ‘God no – I work with kids all day. Wouldn’t want to have any of the little horrors myself.’

    Of course, this sometimes results in people muttering that someone who ‘doesn’t like children’ shouldn’t be working with them, but it helps stop me from bursting into tears.

    Amber – I’m so sorry. It does hurt.

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