Advice about questioning plans to have kids, from someone who has been there

Disclaimer: This post is not meant to accuse or call out any of my specific friends or family members in any way, but rather to provide general advice to anyone interested in hearing it from my unique perspective.

Thanksgiving is a few short days away, and before we know it Christmas will be here! This season is truly my favorite time of year. I love all the celebrations, decorations, traditions, good food, and, most importantly, quality time with friends and family, some of whom I often don’t see the rest of the year. However, the holidays can also be hard for a number of different reasons.

If you are married without kids, you are probably asked on a somewhat regular basis by friends, family members, co-workers, creepy dudes in the grocery store and other complete strangers when you are planning on starting your family. I know I probably got asked that question from one person or another at least once a month. The holiday season, with all its extended family time, is often filled with these kinds of proverbial land mines.

This time last year, David and I had been trying to conceive for about two months and even though we were still early in the process we already had an inkling something was wrong. Very few people knew we were trying, and I had told hardly anyone that my body just wasn’t working right after stopping birth control.

In years past, handling questions about our family plans wasn’t hard. However, there is something about trying to conceive, even if you have only been trying a short time, that makes those questions incredibly painful and intrusive.

The purpose of this post is not to speak to the women who may be struggling to get pregnant this holiday season. You are brave and strong, and I know you have your own ways of dealing with this very personal issue. Every woman copes in her own way.

Instead, I would like to take a moment to address well-meaning family members who plan on asking their niece/sister/cousin/aunt/daughter/relation of any sort when they plan on having a baby: With all due love and respect, please don’t.

“You guys have been married for what, three years now? Are kids in your future anytime soon?”

“I heard about your husband’s new job, so excited for you! I guess now you guys can get started on popping out some kids! Just kidding. Sort of. When can we expect some babies?”

“I was surprised to hear your cousin was expecting, I thought for sure you would be the next one in the family making a pregnancy announcement.”

“You look great holding that baby, I think it’s time for some kids of your own!”

I know these statements and questions are well meaning and said with the best of intentions. But, the truth is, they are practically impossible to answer if you are trying to conceive and only serve as a reminder of what you want more than anything, but for some reason aren’t capable of at the moment.

While David and I were trying, I voluntarily reached out to those I was comfortable telling. When those individuals asked me how things were going in that department, I felt loved and was happy to answer their questions honestly. When individuals who were not in the know made statements like the above in front of a large Thanksgiving crowd, I laughed nervously at the time and cried to David later.

So, a word of unsolicited advice this holiday season from my humble point of view: if you don’t already know the status of someone’s family plans, it is best to not ask or comment, especially in a public setting. You never know what kind of battles someone else is fighting.

2 thoughts on “Advice about questioning plans to have kids, from someone who has been there

  1. Michaele says:

    Kendra,
    Thank you for your openness and honesty. I try to be careful not to ask in public, but didn’t realize until now how much it can hurt just saying how great someone is with kids … I should though, I remember pain I felt the Christmas I miscarried. It is good to be reminded to tread gently in this area.

    Like

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