Ask any couple who doesn’t have children if family, friends and even strangers have asked them what their plans for starting a family are, and the answer is likely to be a resounding yes. Although these questions are generally innocently asked and with only the best of intentions, for many couples, they can be very painful.
The decision to have children is life changing for any couple and unfortunately, the road to parenthood is not always easy. In between not being ready to become a parent, to one partner wanting children and the other not, to infertility, it’s certainly a sensitive area. It took my husband and I five years and 11 IVF cycles to bring our two precious boys into the world, and right from the time we got married we BOTH received comments from family members, friends and work colleagues about why we weren’t yet pregnant and having kids. It always put us in an awkward situation and was particularly hard during our IVF years, so today I’m sharing the top 8 things NOT to say to a couple without children.
“Are you trying?”
I don’t know where to start trying to explain how inappropriate this question is to ask ANYONE! Aside from my sister and best friends (and even then it’s very rare!), discussing my contraception use and sex life is a big no-go area.
“You had better start a family soon, you are not getting any younger!”
People started saying this to me not long after we got married – I was 25. This kind of comment is neither helpful nor wanted, no matter what age the couple happens to be.
“You must have so much extra money since you don’t have kids”
While this kind of comment is generally coming from a good place and trying to put a positive spin on things, from our own experience, we were paying out thousands of dollars a month in fertility treatments and would have given up everything just to have a baby.
“A career isn’t as important as starting a family.”
The interesting thing about this comment (and other similar ones) is that it was me who received this the most after we got married and my career starting to take off. My husband on the other hand never received this type of comment.
“You are so lucky to be able to relax/sleep in/go on holidays whenever you want!”
Well yes, all of these things are great, but making these comments to a couple who are experiencing problems falling pregnant, not ready to start a family or have chosen not to have children, can make them feel incredibly guilty.
“A pet is no substitute for having a child.”
Yes, yes we know there is a big difference between having a pet versus a child, thanks for pointing that out! And PS, more than one person has actually said this to us.
“Your life is not complete without children.”
Having children certainly adds something special to the lives of a couple, however both my husband and I still lived fulfilling and happy lives prior to the arrival of our boys. Aside from being offensive to people without children everywhere, a comment like this is also a total slap-in-the-face when you’re doing everything you can to fall pregnant and it’s just not happening.
“You really don’t know what true love is until you have children.”
Although there is no denying the love we feel for our kids is overpowering, I also feel this way about my husband, after all I have chosen to spend the rest of my life with him! “True love” is different for everyone and is not just found in the parent-child relationship.
Over the years I think we’ve heard it all, and my advice to anyone who feels the urge to ask questions about pregnancy and babies to ANY couple without children already, is to instead talk to them about something, anything else. Unless you know what’s happening behind the scenes, chances are that your comments may deeply hurt someone.
More about infertility:
- 11 Celebrities Who Struggled with Infertility
- What IVF Feels Like According to Women Who Have Done It
- 7 Best Sex Positions for Conception