One of the things many newly married couples are often asked is when they’re planning to start a family. It’s never easy to tell nosy people to mind their own business, even if that’s what you feel like doing. After all, it's one form of that person invading your personal space.
An important factor to consider in answering this question is your relationship with the person asking. If it’s a family member or close friend, they’re probably eager to see a new baby. However, if it’s someone you barely know, a coworker, or a stranger, it is really not anything they need to know.
When a Family Member Asks
Your parents might ask if or when you’re having children because they’re eager to be grandparents—especially if you’re the first of their children to get married or have a significant other. You don’t want to be rude or upset anyone in your family, but you may have to say something to get them to stop asking.
There is no response that is appropriate for every situation, so choose one of these and tweak it to make it work for you.
- We haven’t decided if or when we’ll expand our family, but if we get pregnant, you’ll be one of the first to know.
- We’re hoping to enjoy being a couple for a while before we start having children.
- We’re still discussing whether or not to have children. Our lives are good now, and we’re not sure we want to make any changes any time soon.
Remember that no matter what you say, you might get some flak from people who think they know what is best for you. If this happens, smile and change the subject. Arguing won’t change anything, and they should get the message that the topic isn’t open for discussion.
When a Friend Asks
Sometimes it’s easier to respond to your friends when they ask if you’re planning to have children. They care about you, but they don’t have as much of a vested interest in your family planning, so you probably don’t feel as much pressure as you would from a family member.
Select your response based on the personality of your friend. Some may enjoy funny, quippy responses, while others prefer a straightforward answer. Then if you turn things around and ask about them, they should get the message that your family planning isn’t open for discussion.
Try one of these responses:
- We don’t know yet, but tell me about your family. I hear your older daughter made the honor roll.
- When we feel like we’re ready. How’s your new job coming along?
- We already have two children—both four-legged and furry.
When a Coworker, Acquaintance, or Stranger Asks
There are some people who have absolutely no business asking you if or when you’re planning to have children. However, that doesn’t stop some folks who can’t help but meddle and ask nosy questions. Most of the time, it’s best to put a stop to this question the first time it’s asked.
Here are some responses:
- My family planning isn’t open for discussion. But thank you for asking.
- This isn’t the place to discuss something so personal. Did you see the report we’re supposed to be working on?
- Every time someone asks, we put it off for another year. I think we’re going on twelve years now. Maybe we should discuss something less personal.
When You and Your Partner Have Decided Not to Have Children
Not everyone wants to have children. If this is you and your partner, don’t let other people pressure you into it. But remember that some of your friends or family members will question your decision, no matter what you tell them.
Here are some things you might want to say:
- We’re very happy as a couple, and at the present time, we don’t want to change anything.
- We’ve decided to put all of our energy into having fun with our nieces and nephews and then send them home when we’re tired.
- Our family of two is perfect for us.
When You’re Single
Being single doesn’t prevent people from asking if you’re planning to ever have children. Some parents, siblings, friends, and coworkers might make comments with the intention of making you think about your biological clock but actually annoying you instead.
Here are some things to say if you’re single:
- That’s a question I can’t answer. Now ask me about something I know.
- There are a lot of steps in that process I haven’t yet mastered.
- I’m not sure yet. Ask me again in, say, thirty years or so. I should have an answer for you then.
It’s always frustrating when people ask you a question and expect an answer to something that is none of their business. If you handle the situation with grace and a sense of humor, they should get the point, and you can move on to another topic.