As a 38 year-old woman who has been in a monogamous relationship for more than a decade the question I’m most often asked by friends, acquaintances and yes, even total strangers is, “Why haven’t you had kids?”
After being asked this I stare at them with a bewildered, slightly pissy-diarrhea-stomach expression followed by a quick pivot to one of my three canned responses:
Sincere: “Gee, blah. It just hasn’t happened. Maybe someday. We’ll see.”
Evasive: “Ew. Gross. Why would I want those?”
Truculent: “I had some. They died.”
It’s perfectly normal to wonder why a loving couple hasn’t reproduced, but vocalizing your humdrum curiosity is almost always unwanted and here’s why:
It’s none of your business. Other people’s wombs, their junk… they ain’t your bidness. Whether a couple is child-free by choice or by circumstance, they probably don’t want to discuss it with you. If they do, be assured that THEY will bring it up.
Couples who choose not to have children often feel judged by breeders and are probably very sick of having to justify their choices. Maybe they never want kids… maybe they want them later…maybe they’ll change their minds and maybe they won’t. Again – it’s not your business. Really.
For couples who struggle with infertility or miscarriages being asked something as innocent as, “so, why haven’t you guys had kids?” can be devastating.
Your curiosity should not outweigh your sensitivity and intuition.
Use your Sherlock Holmes-like power of perception to deduce – oh, look it’s a longterm couple and they’re getting older. They don’t have children. I’ll bet they either don’t want them are can’t have them.
But, use your John Watson heart-parts to keep you from cramming your foot in your mouth. Goodness, I bet if they can’t have them they’ll be delighted to talk to me about it. I’m sure they love it when people pry into their most personal busine… oh, no. Wait. I bet they don’t like that. Oh well, maybe I’ll just listen and if they want to talk about it or bring it up, they will.