Stop Asking People About Their 'Reproductive Plans'

About a month ago I was at Macy’s, buying a gift for my friend’s 6-year-old daughter, when the saleswoman waiting on me asked if and when I’m planning to have kids of my own. I wanted to scold her for asking me such a personal question, but I didn’t. She caught me off guard and I simply responded “someday,” hoping she would move on. But she didn’t. She advised me not to wait too long.

As a 28-year-old woman who has been married for almost three years, I’m no stranger to these inquiries. My relatives and friends have asked me the same question – and I’ve answered with “next year” and “we’re focusing on our careers.”

I’m hardly alone. And, over the weekend, one of us did scold these intrusive inquiries. Emily Bingham, 33, of Ann Arbor took to Facebook with a reminder for all those who casually grill women just like me.

“Just a friendly P.S.A. that people’s reproductive and procreative plans and decisions are none of your business. NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS,” Bingham writes on her Facebook page – topped by a “random ultrasound photo” she got from Google Images, designed to draw eyes.

This post that followed has definitely caught a lot of attention over the last couple of days and, according to USA Today, has been shared more than 36,000 times. It was even picked up by two British news sources.

It doesn’t surprise me that this has hit a nerve with so many people. It definitely resonates with me.

The truth is, I want a baby more than anything in the world. I’ve wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember, and it kills a little piece of me every time I see a pregnancy announcement on social media. Why, you ask?

My husband and I decided to start trying for a baby one year ago. One year later, I’m still not pregnant. The diagnosis? Infertility.

We’re not alone, though. Six percent of married women between the ages of 15 and 44 are infertile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes. And, in about 40 percent of infertile couples, the male partner is the sole cause or a contributing factor, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine adds.

While we’ll be able to overcome this and someday have a child, it’s still humiliating for me. I didn’t want to tell people because I didn’t want to deal with the gossip or the extra questions.

So, why am I writing about this for our website? Why am I finally putting it out there for everyone to read? Because I’m one of those people who is constantly being asked these rude questions – and you need to realize that your nosy inquiries cause nothing but frustration and sadness for me and others who are struggling.

And it’s not just upsetting to me. It’s upsetting to the woman who has been married for years and simply doesn’t want children, and the woman who is in her mid-30s and is still single. Or even the newly married couple who hasn’t quite figured out whether they want to have a family. Your questions about something so personal are rude. Incredibly rude – and it’s time to train yourself out of this behavior.

If you’re one of those people who is always asking these questions, take Bingham’s advice: “Before you ask the young married couple that has been together for seemingly forever when they are finally gonna start a family … before you ask the parents of an only-child toddler when a Little Brother or Little Sister will be in the works … before you ask a single 30-something if/when s/he plans on having children because, you know, clock’s ticking … just stop. Please stop.”

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