IT seems that no sooner do you start dating someone than people are asking you when you’re going to move in together. Once you move in people spend an inordinate amount of time staring at your left ring finger waiting on an engagement announcement; and even when you get engaged, the pressure starts straight away to set a date.
It’s unsurprising then that when you do get married – or even when you’ve been with a partner for a number of years – that people will start to ask when you’re going to have kids.
‘You’ll be next,’ they trill excitedly whenever a new baby is born. ‘Getting a bit of practice there are you?’ they grin whenever they see you with a niece or nephew, giving you a nudge that could knock you into next week.
Sometimes even complete strangers ask the most personal questions about your fertility saying things like ‘don’t leave it too late now’ or seeming shocked that you’re not yet knocked up.
It must be heartbreaking for couples who are having difficulty conceiving or who have been told that they will never be able to have children to listen to this and to feel they have to explain themselves, particularly if they’d rather keep their fertility issues to themselves.
Ditto those who simply don’t want children – I know several women who are content not to procreate and are happy and sure in their decision. Yet they have to justify their choices regularly and face intense questioning from family. Nobody ever asks a woman why she’s choosing to have a baby, yet it’s seen as acceptable to ask a woman why she’s choosing the opposite. Why is that?
Thing is though, part of all the questioning is human nature, isn’t it? Human beings are nosey articles, we’re mad for news and information and want to know everything about each other. But when does it cross the line from simple curiosity and human nature to downright rude and intrusive? Is it ever ok to ask someone if they plan to have children? Have you ever asked that question? And for those who don’t want kids, is it ever anyone else’s business?
What do you think?