3 brides explain why you shouldn’t ask newlyweds when they’re going to have a baby
For starters, it's none of your business
4,650,000. That’s the number of results that pop up on Google when you type in the words ‘Meghan Markle baby’ ahead of the royal wedding on 19 May. For a woman who is yet to step foot down the aisle, such a high volume of speculation about her fertility is pretty alarming. Since news of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement came to light in November 2017, the public has long since questioned every minute detail of their forthcoming nuptials; from what dress the bride will wear, who she’s chosen as bridesmaids, to the ingredients of their wedding cake (lemon and elderflower, FYI).
However, one question that should irk even the most nosy of royal fans is when we should expect to hear the pitter patter of tiny feet. Betting website Coral already has the latest odds of the pair announcing a child this year as 5/4. Talk about presumptive.
Even on the day of their engagement announcement, Prince Harry was forced to address the question of parenthood. In their official interview, BBC journalist Mishal Husain bluntly asked ‘Children?’, with the prince stammering the reply: “One step at a time, and hopefully we’ll start a family in the near future.”
No sooner had the prince got up from one knee, he was appeasing the public with details on such a personal subject.
The seemingly innocent question, “So, when do you plan to have kids?”, exposes the ignorance to possible emotional, physical and psychological issues newlyweds may face in trying to conceive, let a lone the fact that your fertility is no one else’s business.
Financial constraints, fertility issues, health problems and the understanding that you don’t have to children to enjoy a happy marriage are reasons enough to explain why it’s wrong to ask such a probing and insensitive question.
As a result, ELLE sat down with three newlywed women to find out why it’s wrong to question when they’re going to have a baby:
My husband and I had been together for 10 years when we married in 2016 — I was one month away from turning 28 and he had just turned 30. Our wedding day was one of the best days of our lives. We loved it so much, in fact, we renewed our vows two weeks later in Las Vegas with ‘Elvis’ as an ordained minister and our parents as witnesses.
With a two-year lead up to the big day, we were constantly asked about the wedding. When you return from honeymoon, however, there’s bated breath as to when you’ll get pregnant. Most of the time, it’s a harmless question from people who usually don’t know us very well used to fill a silence or make polite conversation. However, it never fails to send a little shiver down my spine.
A location shoot owner once asked after spotting my wedding ring: “Will you have babies soon?”. I could’ve asked him “how’s life as a bald man?” but he may have lost his hair hereditary or simply just chosen to be bald. You don’t know what people have been through — we could be unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant or have miscarried several times. Infertility, sexual health and miscarriages are such taboo subjects that people shouldn’t pry, however harmless it is to initially ask.
My response is usually an awkward shrug or “not yet”, not because we’re not ready but simply focusing on other things right now.
The constant questioning hasn’t affected our relationship or view of parenthood, but it does make you more aware of your age and that fertility isn’t an everlasting thing.
I know people who have struggled to conceive who tell us “you love each other, don’t waste time and just do it”. We probably do take the fact we can have a baby for granted, but there will never be a ‘right’ time. We’ll have a baby when we have a baby and it’s nobody else’s business –- especially not for the sake of small talk.
My husband and I had been together for five years when we married in Umbria, Italy last year. I was aged 29 and he was 28. Dealing with family expectations was a challenge at times, but we had an amazing day — I wouldn’t change a thing. We first started noticing people asking about our plans for children when we got back from the honeymoon. My sister-in-law has a child who would have been 18 months at that point so I think the novelty of her arrival was starting to wear off.
One thing that was confusing were the comments about how I ‘had’ to have a baby to ‘carry on’ my husband’s name. I haven’t changed my name, and I don’t think he’s particularly bothered about it, so I’m not sure why anyone else would be?
What’s most surprising is that it’s mainly women who ask — surely a lot of them have been through this line of interrogation themselves? It seems like part of it that other mothers want you to come join the club and validate their life decision by doing the same. There’s definitely some resentment towards your freedom.
My standard response is: “God, no. I hate children” which although isn’t technically true, at least gets an awkward laugh. I find if you reply with something non-committal then you give them the opening to try and ‘convert’ you. Bizarrely, they seem to think that one conversation with them will sway your major life decision.
There’s enough pressure on women without adding the question of when they’re going to have kids to the list. People need to think before they speak, as well. How do you think it feels to continually be asked if you’re going to have children if it’s the thing you want most in the world but you’re infertile? I imagine pretty sh*tty.
Here’s an idea, why not ask how her career’s going instead? Wouldn’t that be novel.
A year after meeting at work, my husband Graham and I had not one but two weddings; the first at a registry office in Marylebone, London (after which we went to a hotel with friends and family and got rip-roaring drunk) and the second involved a three-day event in Austria.
People started asking about babies pretty much from the day we got engaged. Comments are divided between polite “babies next?” and more pointed “do you think you’ll want to have kids soon?”. I’ve been asked by friends’ parents, people my age, even ex-boyfriends. What’s more apparent, however, is the nature of the questions we both receive — I’ve been asked as if it’s all down to me and when I’ll make time for it.
I tend to offset the question by asking why they ask; pointing out I have a busy/social life, a panic disorder, and a dog who takes up any free time. (Invariably, bringing up my dog leads to remarks how it’s a good way to ‘test the waters’ before having a baby, which had so little to do with my motivation in adopting him that it’s laughable).
When I drink or don’t drink alcohol, or say my period is early/ late (I suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome) it’s always met with an assumption about pregnancy, without any context about my life. I find it extraordinary that the contents of my womb is suddenly so interesting to people.
The pressure of having children has made me recalcitrant — I don’t want to please anyone by having a baby. Marriage is a leap of faith and something you do because you love someone; bringing a baby into that environment is lovely, but not a prerequisite. The attitude that it is makes me so angry.
There are scores of reasons not to have a family; financial limitations, infertility, a poor sex life, impotence, the dawning realisation that perhaps the marriage is a mistake, a fear of having one’s body taken over by a baby, the fear of birth, the fear of pregnancy. The many explanations alone should provide more than enough reason to think twice before asking.
From: ELLE UK