Imgur user "marlboroprincess" was tired of everyone asking when she was going to have kids. She's been married for three years and has felt a lot of pressure to take the next step. She said, "It's a lot of aunties and grandmas and mothers pushing it, from their perspective it is inconceivable to not have children."
Finally, she decided to respond to the questions and criticism in a fun way.
Marlboroprincess didn't post these photos to make a statement against having kids. In response to a comment, she said, "I love kids! I work with them every day, they are my little angels." However, she is against people who involve themselves in others' life decisions that aren't their business.
Many people have a similar concern.
For instance, model Chrissy Teigan opened up about her and husband John Legend's struggles with infertility and how people's questions about babies can cause pain:
"Anytime somebody asks me if I'm going to have kids, I'm like, 'one day, you're going to ask that to the wrong girl who's really struggling, and it's going to be really hurtful to them.' And I hate that. So, I hate it. Stop asking me."
Likewise, Facebook user Emily Bigham created quite a stir when she posted a "RANDOM ULTRASOUND PHOTO [she] grabbed from a Google image search" to get people's attention and began a discussion about the inappropriateness of asking people when they're going to have kids.
She said: "You don't know who is struggling with infertility or grieving a miscarriage or dealing with health issues. You don't know who is having relationship problems or is under a lot of stress or the timing just isn't right. You don't know who is on the fence about having kids or having more kids. You don't know who has decided it's not for them right now, or not for them ever. You don't know how your seemingly innocent question might cause someone grief, pain, stress or frustration. Sure, for some people those questions may not cause any fraught feelings - but I can tell you, from my own experiences and hearing about many friends' experiences - it more than likely does."
How to respond
While ideally people should stop asking when you're going to have kids, inevitably you will be faced with this question. Here are four ways you can respond when someone asks:
"We're not sure. Right now, we're training for a triathlon."
Most people who are asking about your baby plans are really just looking to start a conversation and engage with your life. However, if kids aren't something that you want to discuss with them, give the inquirer something about your life that you are willing to talk about.
"How long did you wait to have kids?"
Instead of putting you and your choices under the spotlight, use this as an opportunity to learn what worked for other people. Even if you are already confident in the choices you've made, the person you are talking with will appreciate your openness and the opportunity to share their opinion inoffensively.
"Thanks for asking, but I'd rather not discuss it."
You are entitled to keep pieces of your life private. As long as you do so graciously, it's entirely acceptable to let the inquirer know that this isn't a subject you want to discuss.
"I don't know yet, but we're making a list of babysitters. Can I put you down?"
This response will be unexpected and hopefully get a laugh out of the inquirer. When in doubt, go for a humorous response which is a lighthearted way of meandering around the topic.
At the end of the day, if you are someone who repeatedly has to deal with this question, it is important to remember that the pain it causes you is unintentional. The people who are asking you are people who love you and wouldn't be asking it if they realized it was harmful.