If I were to take a wild guess, I bet most, if not all women would be thrilled never to answer this question again:
“So, when are you having kids and starting a family?”
Boom. Bomb dropped and let the scrambling for an answer begin.
It seems in the world of conversation there are a few ‘societal norms’ that go a little something like this:
It starts when you’ve been with a partner for a while and it’s clear you’re really in love. When you find yourself out and about with your lover, the inevitable question arises: “When are you getting married?”
Now, you can’t help but think about your position on marriage, “Are we going to get married, is he/she the one? What if I’m not sure?”
Let the future tripping begin.
As time passes, you get married to that dreamy lover of yours. Then approximately one WHOLE day after the wedding, as you're relishing your marital bliss, you’re asked, “So, when are you having kids?” BAM, pressure bomb dropped, just begging you to come down from the deeply-in-love high you’re floating on.
The only thing is that this question doesn’t actually stop if you’re married or partnered up, until … well, people see a little one running around with you.
Before I go any further I want to make a few things clear. Yes, I'm speaking from experience, and yes, I'm excited to have children with my amazing husband one day. I have a big desire to be a mama, and I know my husband will be an incredible father.
With that said, I know the weight of that question. And no matter how much awareness I have, it still inevitably feels like pressure.
I can’t help but wonder if the people who ask, “When are you starting a family?” have ever considered the following:
“Oh wait, they just did. The two of them made a decision to live a lifetime together. In that decision, they promised to cheer each other on as they take big leaps in business or personal pursuits. In their hearts they know they'll weather every storm, together. They promised to be there and comfort each other when one or both of them are grieving. They made a promise to be best friends, to laugh and cry as they create epic memories together. They made a vow to always remind each other what a special gift they are not only to each other, but to the world. They've promised each other to go through LIFE together. That IS a family.”
I also wonder if people ever use the "you just never know filter" before they ask the question about kids and family. As in, you just never know if that woman is having trouble getting pregnant. Or she may have just learned she can’t get pregnant.
She might even be devastated right now because she just had a miscarriage; and the thought of having to answer that question one more time makes her run to the bathroom and ball her eyes out.
Perhaps that woman is grieving a major personal loss of a family member and just isn’t ready for another major life event right now. It takes all she has to remember her own strength in any given moment.
Maybe that woman is really digging the fact that life seems to finally be flowing pretty easily for the first time in her life. So she would really like to ride that wave for a while before having children.
Or maybe she honestly doesn’t want to have kids, despite societal norms, and she fears saying that out loud because of the potential reactions to her own truth.
You just never know if she has decided to wait awhile simply because she can.
My point is, PLEASE allow women to bring up their desire to start a family when they’re ready. It is a very private and intimate matter, along with being one of THE major life decisions one can ever make.
So, please think twice before you bring it up in casual conversation, even if it's with the sweetest of intentions. I promise women will appreciate it.