Why it’s not OK to ask someone if they’re having kids

Editor’s note: The following is a column authored by Dayton.com’s Amelia Robinson for our newspaper partner site the Dayton Daily News. Read the Smart Mouth column every Saturday in the Dayton Daily News.

The next time someone asks me when I am having children or why I don’t have any, I may just whip out a photo of my multiples.

I could easily do it.

Images of the 70 or so non-cancerous fibrous tumors of various sizes and depths crowding and stretching my uterus captured during a recent MRI are stored on my iPhone.  Yep, I am an overachiever.

320998_10152449141490263_1167630383_nIt is not exactly a secret that I’ve had lady business troubles.

I wrote about the batch of fibroid my surgeon removed seven years ago when I was unmarried and not exactly in the market for motherhood.

I entered that crowded market when I married a few years after that surgery.

Since then, I have been poked and prodded for the sake of fertility or rather infertility.

When associates, friends, family members and complete or virtual strangers have asked me that biting question — “When are you having kids?” — my answer has pretty much been the same.

“Whenever God is willing.”

Well, God ain’t ever going to be willing.

In a few weeks, I will be among the millions of American women with a hysterectomy.

Why me?

Bad genes? Bad luck? Bad timing? Who knows?

Pregnancy just isn’t in the cards for me — that is the only thing that is certain.

This of course isn’t anyone’s business. I write this because I earnestly wish people would think twice before asking a lady about issues as personal as this.

The questions — even from those who mean well as most do — often jab and come across as intrusive, even accusatory.

They imply there might just be something unwomanly about a woman who isn’t jumping into motherhood with both feet.

For God’s sake, why isn’t she doing that thing a woman is supposed to do?

The when or if a women will procreate is likely not your business, unless she decides to share.

Maybe she or he or they don’t want kids.

Maybe she or he or they want to or need to wait.

Maybe she or he or they simply can’t.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, roughly 12 percent of women age 15 to 44 years of age in this country have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term.

And it is not just a lady’s business.

Nearly 8 percent of all sexually experienced men younger than age 45 reported seeing a fertility doctor during their lifetime. Eight percent of those who sought help were diagnosed with sperm or semen problems, varicocele or another infertility problem.

Because it is not really your business you likely do not know what a couple has gone through during the hunt for that precious bouncing babe.

I know people who have spent a fortune only to remain losers in the baby lottery with huge medical bills.

The cost for a single in-vitro fertilization cycle costs $12,000, according to the Forbes article “The Cost of IVF: 4 Things I Learned While Battling Infertility” by Jennifer Gerson Uffalussy.

Add another $3,000 to $5,000 to that, and you maybe still don’t have a baby.

And what’s the point of the kid questions that burn in throats and pour out of mouths?

• That couple who is putting it off for whatever reason have a reason to wait: they’d like to get to know each other first, they’d like to travel, they’d like to save money, they’d like to get their careers started, they’d like to graduate college…

• Anyone who says they don’t want to have kids has probably thought that decision out.

Chance are slim your poking and/or prodding is going to change their minds. And do you really want people who don’t want kids to have kids?

Society already has enough of those kids.

• He or she or they woefully without child knows he or she or they are woefully without child.

I for one am well aware.

Contact this blogger at amelia.robinson@coxinc.com or on Twitter @DDNSmartMouth.


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