Please stop asking when we'll procreate, dammit!

Here’s the thing.

Mr. avabeth and I DO want children. It’s a constant discussion between the two of us when we’re in those fuzzy ‘planning-our-future-together’ modes. We talk about it a LOT between the two of us. We talk about it because I have a condition that may make pregnancy and carrying to term difficult. We’re more than aware of this, so we discuss it a lot. We’ve also decided between the two of us that instead of putting my body through intense infertility treatments, we’ll turn to adoption, more than likely, foreign adoption. So I’ve even asked on these boards about adoption before and gotten some wonderful advice. We know that it’s going to be a long road and we want to be prepared. But again, as much as I love the Dopers on this board, the majority are an unknown quantity - it’s not like discussing adoption with family or friends who will offer a lot of unwanted advice. Here, we get the info that we want and need without the prying. But for the most part, the discussions are between US. We don’t see the need to bring others into our discussions.

What’s bugging me is the fact that my mother and my cousin (who’s more like a sister to me) continually ask when we’re going to have children and TELL, not ask, us that we should have them as soon as we get married. Over and over and over. This bugs me for several reasons.

  1. We’re not even married yet. We will be in a month and a half, and right now, all we’re concentrating on is the wedding. We like being an engaged couple right now, and we can’t wait to be a newlywed couple soon. And I’m quite harried with last minute wedding plans at the moment, so I’m having trouble remembering to feed my cats sometimes (yes, that’s hyperbole…they eat quite well:D) - I don’t need to be badgered on my aspirations of motherhood. Could we get the damn WEDDING RINGS on our fucking hands first?

  2. My mother is constantly calling to tell me “I saw so-and-so’s baby today! He’s so cute! When are you going to have one? When are you going to make me a grandmother?”. And my cousin says “You need to have a baby! I need a baby to play with!” Okay, I realize babies are cute to most people. I like babies, too. I even like two year olds because they’re funny as hell most of the time. I like older kids. But we are NOT ready for kids yet. We’d like to have a house first. We’d like to have some time together to be married. And I want to take our delayed honeymoon to England next year - call me selfish, but I don’t want to give that up to get pregnant because my MOTHER says she’s ready to be a grandmother. Why is that so hard to accept? (Of course, my cousin doesn’t like it much when I remind her that she’s only 37 and she’s more than young enough to have another one - her own two are 18 and 14, so she could just start over…that usually goes over with quite a thud.). We’re not emotionally or financially ready for kids, and while we realize we probably never WILL be, we would still like to be a bit MORE ready than we are right now.

  3. About a year ago, I had a very early miscarriage. It was so early that I wasn’t even aware of the fact that I was pregnant. I went to the doctor with heavy cramps and bleeding, worse than usual, and she told me what was happening. We didn’t feel the need to tell anyone at the time - so my mother doesn’t know, neither does anyone else in my family. We were fairly upset, but we recognized at the time that we weren’t ready. However, had the pregnancy continued, we’d have a four-month-old right now. So every time my mother goes on and on about how cute someone’s kid is and how she wishes I’d have one, it reminds me of how we SHOULD have one right now. That pretty much hurts.

  4. I’ve been told by my doctor that I will have fertility issues, especially after the miscarriage. Even if I can get pregnant again, carrying to term will be a challenge. While we’re fairly prepared for that (well, as prepared as one can be), we don’t think my family is prepared to accept that we’re already considering adoption. We know we’ll get “But why not have one of your own first?”. Well, either way, we’ll be having our own child - we don’t care if the child is biological or adopted - the goal is to be parents, the way we get there makes no difference. We may just not be able to do it in the normal way. If we can, wonderful. We’re still considering adoption for a second child. But we’re really not in the mood to have our plans questioned when we’ve already discussed them at length between ourselves.

  5. And this one’s pretty silly, but my brother and sister-in-law were married last year. Yet when my mother began badgering them, my brother simply said “Oh, we’re not planning to have them for a few years, maybe five or six.”, that was that! When I say the ‘we’re not planning to have them for a few years’ thing, we get ‘oh, you can’t wait that long!’ and continued badgering. Yes, I realize that I am the oldest child in the family, but that doesn’t mean I should be badgered the most. He was married first. He’s earned the right to be badgered first. (And yes, I’m sort of kidding - I don’t think either of us should be badgered!).

Why is it that family seems to think our reproductive choices are any of their business? And when we give an answer, why do they think it’s their right to CHANGE our minds? Or give us a hard time?

I swear, my poor best friend has been getting the same thing from FRIENDS and she’s been married for several years. We have a close friend whom we adore, but who has become a bit like the Smug Marrieds from the Bridget Jones books - she has an adorable, well-behaved two-year-old and is expecting her second and while we both love him to pieces, neither of us is ready for the same thing. But she did pull the same sort of thing when she first got married, so we should have expected it when she had kids. Luckily, she’s a good person so we can overlook that, but it apparently caused more of a rift between the two of them than I’d initially realized (my best friend told me about it last weekend…the two of them work together and things got VERY rough between them). I just wonder why even FRIENDS seem to think it’s okay.

Thank God for my friend at work who always tells me “Once you have them, you can’t give them back! Wait until you’re ready!”. Gotta love her:).


avabeth, you’re more polite than me. My response to questions like that was, “Mind your own business!,” or a heartfelt, “Fuck off!,” if the busybodies didn’t get the hint. My wife and I didn’t care how closely related someone was, or how “well intentioned” the request for info was. We have boundaries in our relationship, and people outside the relationship cross them at their own risk.

BTW, my wife and I have two healthy and happy children. And any unsolicited opinions on their upbringing are met the same way.


We had a really hard time conceiving, too.
Fortunately our families knew that and would not badger us.

We would hear all the time:

“Oh you’re not getting any younger!”
“when are you going to have a baby already? You’ve talked about it for ages!”


man, those words would hurt so bad. The worst was when my best friend found out she was pregnant and she kept telling me over and pver again how I should hurry up so our children could be friends. “hurry up already” were the words, even though she knew how much trouble I was having. I know she didn’t mean it, but it devasted me and I recall spending a weekend crying.

I am sorry you are going through that, too.

Sounds like they need a clue-by-four. I imagine you’ve tried polite dissuasion; now it’s time to get tough.

“That’s between me and Mr. Ava, and I’m not going to discuss it with you. Ever. We’re sick and tired of you pestering us about something so private. It’s annoying and nosy and hurtful when you do that, and it’s none of your [damn] business. So knock it off. Right now.”

I wouldn’t worry about being polite. They certainly haven’t.

I suspect that his y-chromosome has something to do with this.

CrazyCatLady and I are not planning to have kids, at all. I get surprisingly little crap about this–I think the implication is that I’m not supposed to want kids. I’m supposed to be content focusing on my career, my hobbies, and my relationship with my existing family members, and she’s supposed to be badgering me into knocking her up.

Interestingly enough, she even gets more crap about it than I do from my side of the family. One asshole uncle never lets a visit go by without reminding her that “science can’t always prevent it”. Of course, his unmarried daughter had two kids in the space of 15 months at the age of 18, so I’m sure he’d rather chalk that up to the capriciousness of science than her being a dumbass.

People ask me about it every now and then, in the course of small talk, and I really don’t mind talking about it. But it’s vanishingly rare for someone to suggest that I’m weird or somehow wrong for feeling this way and making this choice, and it’s far more common for her. Go figure.

Oh, hell, I’m so sorry you had to go through that:(. People can be so totally heartless and unthinking at times.

Denis, you don’t know how many times the words ‘fuck off!’ have been on my lips in one of these conversations with my mother.

Scarlett, I think we may have to resort to that. I think that’s one of the problems of being in such a close, open family - nothing is off-limits. I think we’re learning that we need to set limits.

DrJ, mr. avabeth doesn’t get badgered at all - it’s just me. His family is fantastic. Aside from a discussion with his cousins at Christmas about how we have to have the next one because the current pattern is girl-boy-girl-boy and the ones who still want to have another baby want a boy this time, so we have to have the next one to have a girl, there’s been no badgering. (And that conversation wasn’t even about badgering - they were talking about the ‘pattern’, asked us when we planned to have kids, and in response to our ‘about two years or so’, the other couple said “We can wait that long.”.).

I think you’re right - guys get subjected to a lot less badgering than anyone else.

And I know my family doesn’t KNOW about the miscarriage, but they do know about my endometriosis and my medical problems, so you’d think they would have a bit more tact in discussing my future in parenting. Especially since another cousin with the same condition had three miscarriages before eventually conceiving her healthy daughter and son - we’ve been through this before!


I’m with Scarlett67 except I wouldn’t even offer that much of a response. Just “The subject is closed. I don’t wish to discuss it.” No matter what’s said. Repeat ad nauseam.

That, by the way, is for family and friends. Mere acquaintances should get a chill: “I don’t see how that concerns you” and an icy stare.

We haven’t even had comments from acquaintances! That’s the funny part! The most we’ve gotten is from a mom at work who brought her little boy by one day - I was making fish faces at him and making him laugh, which is apparently a rarity with him - he’s very, very shy. So she said I should have one of my own since I was so good with hers, and asked when we planned on having them. When I said about two years, she said “That’s a good time, you can be married and have time together first. Good plan.”

I mean, heck, she barely knows me and thought that was fine! LOL! My mom KNOWS us very well, yet she’s pushing the hell out of us to have a kid. Hello, she’s seen my damn credit card debt!


avabeth, a word of advice from one who’s been there…

Please consider making it perfectly clear to your family that you want no comments about your future children at your wedding. I can’t tell you the number of weddings I’ve been to where family members come up to the mike and start talking about the future kids, etc. It seems that jokes about this topic are the height of wedding hilarity. If I was the bride at any of those weddings, I would have been near tears about it.

Also, I hate to tell you, but it won’t ever stop. It took us four long years to have our beautiful 6-month-old ValleyGirl…and everyone now asks me when we’re “having the next” and advises me on how exactly I should space my children. And god forbid I avoid the topic by saying we’re not sure we’ll be having another – I get chewed out for being selfish, that every child needs a sibling.

Fuck you reproductive busy-bodies and the gossip train you rode in on.

Oh, yes. I went through that for the first 9 years of my marriage. From my MIL and her biddy friends. I was never, ever able to come up with the right comeback, even when I no longer cared about being polite to the old hens.

Things I wanted to say:

*Is there anything else in particular that you’d like to know about my sex life?

Oh, let me tell you, I’d love to, but you see, your son is impotent. What? That means he can’t…

Well, we’d like to but since his bout with STDs we figured it would be a bad idea.

Children? I HATE children. Ugh! Don’t get me started. We’ve actually had two pregnancies already but I had them aborted before the 7th month.

bursting into tears Oh! Oh! I want them, but I just can’t! It’s been horrible! Sometimes I think I’m going to kill myself. I think I’ll do that right now! Where’s the carving knife?

Well, you see, once we get into bed, I find that he really can’t perform unless he has a condom. And then we have to get it juuuusst right. First I have to take the condom and… What, you don’t want to hear any more?

You old bat, that’s none of your #%*&()ing business. *

Miss Manners suggests saying nothing, but merely looking shocked at such a personal question.

For family, another possibility is speaking to the offender alone and laying it on the line. “Look, I don’t want to say this in front of anyone else, but your asking that question is very upsetting and embarrassing to me. Please don’t do it again.”

Aw jeez, avabeth. I just reread my post, and I feel like a schmuck for mentioning that my daughter is 6 months, in the context of your loss. Please know I only mentioned it to emphasize how young she is and how odd that people would not celebrate the miracle of her birth, but instead push us to have another already. I should have proofed more before posting. :frowning:

Oh, please don’t feel bad! Seriously - a few friends have newborns and I am SO happy for them! There’s no rule that says I can’t be happy for others simply because of the miscarriage! Believe me - I am thrilled beyond belief for new parents:). Don’t apologize - I knew what you meant, and believe me, the thought didn’t even cross my mind to feel upset! A good friend is due with her little boy in November, and we’ve discussed it - while I’m envious of what she has and will have, I’m not jealous. Does that make sense? Being parents isn’t right for us right now - I know that. But life goes on and babies are born:). And I’m sure that ValleyGirl is just about the cutest kid in the world! Especially with an awesome name like ValleyGirl!:slight_smile:

MLS, you crack me up! That’s great - I’m writing those down for future use on my mom:).


The only one who was ever really bad was my mom.

We just reminded her that we were Catholic, so the timing really wasn’t up to any of us.

This didn’t satisfy her, but she didn’t have any good retort to it either. :smiley:

Ooh, I think I can relate. I am single. No man on the horizon, none planned. No babies planned, either.

At my grandmother’s funeral, a cousin whom I believed to be modern and intelligent asked me straight-out when I was going to marry and have babies. I wanted to strangle her. I instead said something bland and walked away.

I have a family wedding to attend next weekend, and my brother’s wedding in October, and I am (not) looking forward to the nosy “so when are you …” questions.

It irritates the hell out of me that people feel it is their obligation to have opinions on how an independent thinking adult should live her life, and to share those opinions as orders. It is nobody’s business but mine whether I am married, or to whom. Let alone what goes on in my bedroom.

So the plan for the weekend is that anyone who asks about my marital status will be told I have not yet found the right woman. (I am a very straight woman in a very conservative family.) :smiley: :smiley:

A little over a year and a half ago I got engaged. Almost everybody, except for family, asked when we were having kids when they heard this bit of news. And when I’d say, “Not for a couple of years at least, I want to finish school first” without getting into the fact that we’d almost certainly have to adopt, I’d get anything from a knowing look to laughter. As if only married=sex (which is ridiculous in itself) and sex must=babies. No exception. Hello, people, it’s called the Pill. Duh-hey.

It still irritates me, and probably will again if I end up in a similar situation. You see, I’m not really eager to have kids at all, and the fact that adoption would be my best option makes it less likely (what with expenses and all). Right now, I definitely do not want kids. Neither does my boyfriend. And even if we did, I’d want to be married first. It’s not even been three months, I’m not contemplating marrying him (yet, anyway!).

An only semi-related story. My brother and his wife have been married for five years. They have an eighteen-month old and SIL just quit her (part-time, low-paying, highly stressful) job. My bet is that this means that she will be pregnant within the next six months (barring science taking longer than it did the first time). I have not and will not ask her when baby number two is planned.

Sooner or later she or bro will call and tell me that baby number two is expected. Why do I figure quitting the job means she wants to get pregnant? Because pregnancy number one was sorta difficult. (Relative to miscarriage or months of bedrest or needing treatment to stop labor, it wasn’t difficult. But she did have enough bleeding and severe enough morning sickness to make me think she’d be an idiot to try to get pregnant while working and with a toddler).

Wow. I used to get this all the time from family. My family not so much, but my MIL is geared toward “mothering” and “grandmothering”. Without little kids around to fuss over, she’s lost. So…she started bugging us.
“When are you going to give me grandchildren?”
Well, geez, ma, you already got two, how many do you need?

We finally told her in no uncertain terms that we were NOT going to have children. (Never did tell her about that little visit to the Doc that DogDad took to make that a pretty-close certainty…) She did stop bugging us, but now it’s friends our age who have kids that think we need them!

Even when we explain that we decided a long time ago that we didn’t want them, weren’t emotionally really “geared” toward nurturing at all and we didn’t think it was a good thing to have a child if we weren’t going to be able / willing to nurture it…then we get the
Yeah, but what if it’s not?
“But it IS. You’ll understand WHEN YOU HAVE ONE.”
But we’re not GOING to have one. We said that already.
“But it is SO different with one of your own.”
*Again, what if it’s not? It’s not like you can take it back or something. Kids aren’t like a shirt you got at WalMart. You can’t go to the hospital and say, “Hey, I don’t like this one, I can’t handle it, take it back.” *

That’s pretty much a conversation-ender, there, because nobody has an answer for us on “what if it’s NOT different?” Yep, I realize that my reaction may be immaturity - but at least I’m mature enough to realize that I’m too immature / not emotionally geared /whatever to handle being a mom. And I admit it.

I just hate it that so many people have decided it’s THEIR business how YOU (generic you, not anyone specific) conduct YOUR life.

avabeth, I think the time has come for you to be brutally honest. Lose your temper a bit, slam your fist down on the table, and snarl, “How many goddamn times are you going to ask me that? Back off!”

Then, every time they bring up the subject, hang up/leave the room/change the subject while giving them The Stare/Stone Cold Silence.

Honestly, sometimes you just have to slap rude people upside the head before they realize they’re being rude.

Maybe its time to level with those close to you about your anticipated fertility issues. For a few reasons - it might (it might not, but it might) get them off your back if you say “we will start trying immediately, but we don’t expect a lot of luck. My Gyn doesn’t expect me to be very fertile.” Hey, they don’t need to know that “trying” means practicing while being on the pill (which may not mean quite “leveling” with them). The bigger reason (as a former infertile person and adoptive mom) is that it will give your relatives a chance to digest the adoption situation. By the time you are ready to adopt, they are more likely to have come around to the idea. “Poor avabeth, she tried for so many years before resorting to adoption.” They don’t need to know that you made the decision to “probably” adopt before you even exchanged vows. Pity isn’t the reaction you hope for when you are adopting, but its better than “but that kid ain’t your blood!”

I always answered the question by saying we were currently “practicing.” When pressed, I said I expected a baby “about nine months after I get pregnant.” When asked when I was going to get pregnant, I’d answer “don’t know, been trying for years.” Sometimes this would lead into nosier questions about the details of my infertility (unknown, so the conversation never went to far, and I really didn’t have to lie (much)). But you get to choose how to side step these questions. You get to be forthcoming about your situation or tell people its none of their business. But if you don’t answer directly, one way or the other, the question is going to keep getting asked.

BTW, I still have relations (distant ones) that haven’t come to terms with our adoption - my son is six. It doesn’t help that my sister went through five years of infertility before finally getting pregnant (she is expecting this fall) via IVF, or that I have a bio daughter born within months after my son’s arrival. They think we “didn’t try hard enough.” Oh, well. Not their family (well, it is, but distantly), they can fuck themselves.

I will never understand this attitude. Whether it’s bio or adopted, it’s your family. It boggles my mind.