That’s a question many of us have heard a lot. Even if we answer “We’re not having children,” no one believes us and we keep meeting other people who can’t resist asking the question, especially if you’re married and under 40 years old.
When I found this book, titled So When are You Having Kids? by Jordan Davidson on the new-books shelf at my local library, I had to bring it home. I thought people might giggle if they saw an old lady like me reading this book. That ship has sailed, hasn’t it? Yes. I’m not contemplating getting pregnant, but the book is still full of information that everybody should have, whether or not they ever plan to procreate.
With the subtitle “The Definitive Guide for Those Who Aren’t Sure If, When, or How They Want to Become Parents,” it provides answers to every question a person could have about the making of babies. It’s the only book I have read on the subject that includes LGBTQ readers every step of the way. Davidson offers the reasons why people decide to have children or not, details on how sperm meets egg and what happens then, the straight facts on fertility treatments and odds of success, the inside story on surrogacy and adoption, details on contraception and sterilization, and so much more. All this, and it is not boring. Davidson intersperses personal stories of people with and without children throughout. Even though I’m well past menopause way past menopause, I found it fascinating. Here is everything you did not get in The Talk with your parents or in sex education classes.
“When are you going to have kids?” God, I hated that question. When I was with my first husband, everyone assumed as I attended my cousins’ baby showers, that “Susie” would be next. I would mumble something like, “maybe,” even though I knew my husband wasn’t up for it, not then, maybe never. When I married Fred, I was a little older, but they still assumed babies were coming, and if they didn’t, well, at least I had Fred’s kids and could be a stepmom. I tried to avoid the question as much as possible because another question always followed: Why not?
Well, we’ve got the other three, there are health problems (his vasectomy), I’m prone to diabetes, etc. I never just said, “Fred doesn’t want to have any more kids.” I didn’t quite believe myself that it would never happen, plus I didn’t want to make my husband look bad. So, I just mumbled something and changed the subject.
The author shares an interesting quote from Ethicist Christine Overall, author of Why Have Children: The Ethical Debate: “In contemporary Western culture, it ironically appears that one needs to have reasons not to have children, but no reasons are required to have them.”
She is so right.
I will be returning to this book in future posts because it’s so packed with relevant topics, but this week, I’d like to hear your comments. What do you say when someone asks, “Hey, when are you going to have kids?”
Happy Easter, dear readers. Don’t let all the child-oriented Easter Bunny stuff get you down.
2 thoughts on “The Question: So When are You Going to Have Kids?”
You just told my story as well. I hated that question too. And my family was the worst I’ve ever seen about it. It’s a very rude, insensitive question. And it’s nobody’s business but the couples.
Once again, you put it out of the park.
I was first asked it on my wedding day by (extended) family members. Multiple times. I was just flabbergasted that people thought that way. I’d just graduated with my BA, was about to start my MA, and kids were the last thing I was thinking about. Immediately I said, “Not even thinking about it for ten years at least!” That managed to shut everyone down. By the time I was ten years older, the family had given up! Thank goodness. And professionally, and in my social life, I was rarely asked that because it just wasn’t acceptable. At one time I read some funny comebacks that included “the cat’s allergic” and “we have light carpet” but didn’t really get to use them.
I guess the key is that I never felt that people asking me (or similar questions – “why haven’t you got kids?” etc) ever deserved an answer if I didn’t want to give it. If they had to ask, I wasn’t going to tell them. But yes, that comment “one needs to have reasons not to have children, but no reasons are required to have them” is disturbing, when you think about the consequences for society, for the children, etc. Yet WE are the ones who have to justify our situations. Grrr.