Stop Telling Every Woman She Needs To Have Kids

by Jerriann Sullivan

It isn’t our right to know if or when women are going to have kids

Any woman of a certain age will tell you she’s sick of the question, “so when are you going to have kids?” And most women will have at least a few stories about strangers not just asking, but rudely telling them that they better have kids – and soon. Since we all hate this conversation, can we just agree to stop having it? Like, forever?

We don’t know what other women are facing. Not every fertility issue is the same, and it’s uncomfortable to explain complicated medical jargon. That’s why many times, women don’t share those incredibly intimate details. A close friend of mine was constantly asked about when she was going to have kids. She’s amazing with any kid, and it’s natural to wonder when she might want to get pregnant.

But she’s also a private person and didn’t want to tell every acquaintance that she’s struggled to conceive for years. Having just been diagnosed with an aggressive cancer, she made the brave decision to complete a hysterectomy. The last thing she wants to hear from anyone is “you should really have kids.”

Another great reason to retire this conversation is that not all women even want kids. My best friend has a career that involves a lot of customer service with women, and weekly, we talk about all the different clients that tell her, “You’ll change your mind! One day you’ll want kids,” or the more insulting ones who feel it is okay to say, “Yes, but when you’re older and can’t have them you’ll regret this decision and then it’ll be too late.”

Do you know how many glasses of wine it takes to unwind after having this conversation with people she has to be nice to? Hint: several bottles.

Actress ​Joy Bryant also has no desire to be a mom. She shares the terrible things people say to her when they find out she isn’t having kids in an essay for Lenny. “Just give him a baby already,” is something no human should say to another. It isn’t our duty as women to give a man a baby. It doesn’t matter what I feel, want, or need, I should just give him a baby, like it’s a blow job,” Bryant wrote in response to this offensive comment she hears often.

I’ve been with my partner for six years, and we move very slow in the life-changing decisions department. We only recently got engaged and plan to elope, but I get asked about kids every week. I don’t have any fertility issues that I know of, and thankfully, don’t have a lot of clients asking me daily. I’m just not in a rush to have kids. Regardless of the situation, no woman should be forced to explain her thoughts about child planning on demand. Just talk about the weather if you can’t think of something to say that doesn’t involve the other person’s uterus.

“I know people don’t mean any harm, but this really shouldn’t be an issue at all, because what I choose to do or not do with my womb should be of no concern to anyone but my husband,” Bryant wrote.

Exactly! Let’s just all mind our own business and stop with the unsolicited advice.