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“Why aren’t you pregnant yet?” Is a question married couples are asked. What if they just don’t want children? Read the author’s hilarious take on the same.
“Oops! I forgot to have kids,” isn’t exactly the thought that comes to my mind when people (out of nowhere) ask me about my reproductive plans.
I hear it from everyone these days, ‘Isn’t your biological clock ticking already? When are you gonna have kids?’ And various forms of the same question.
Well, I am not against having kids. But I don’t need to be reminded of it by random people who have no idea about me and my life! I don’t need people telling me about the ‘correct time to procreate.’
Having been married for three years, I am an average career-oriented millennial. I have at least 10 women friends who claim to have gone through the same thoughtless and rude questions very frequently in their lives.
Most women brush these questions off with a smile.
Because, one, we are taught to be calm and maintain balance, no matter how bad the situation is.
And two, the question has already made us uncomfortable enough that we just don’t want to talk about it anymore.
Three, that’s what society expects of married women and they just can’t do anything about it.
Though my mom advises me not to pay attention to these questions (because the people who ask these questions don’t even care about the answer) my brain just can’t stop wondering how casual this question has become.
Like, how is it so easy for women to ask other women, such a private question about their bodies? Do men do the same with other men? I don’t know! Nope. I’ve never heard a man talk to another man about the functioning of their reproductive organs(or I really don’t know).
Coming from an Indian family, I don’t really see women casually talking about things like losing their virginity, vaginal infections, being concerned about stuff like PCODs etc.
But they are really comfortable discussing when the other women around them plan to have kids. So, here’s what the question actually means:
Would you directly ask these things to anyone in your right senses? Then why the question about next ‘obvious’ step? I mean, what is the possible answer are you expecting?
Many newly-wed couples go through various issues trying to adjust with their new partners and getting used to their new lifestyles. Marriages sometimes need a lot effort to work. It becomes important to focus on the relationship rather than thinking of the next “obvious” step. Asking these questions to couples, figuring their lives together makes them blame each other.
“I was surprised and disgusted when everyone in my ‘new’ house started asking weird questions about why I still wasn’t pregnant after a month of my marriage,” says Swapna, a techie from Milwaukee.
Asking these types of questions could create unnecessary tension in the whole family and worsen the situation for the couple. And a marriage cannot be defined successful just because someone has children. There are many couples who, because of external forces, decide on having kids to save their marriage. But studies show that marriages tend to suffer even after the birth of a child.
According to WeVorce, researchers say that the rate of decline in relationship satisfaction is almost twice as steep for couples with children than childless couples.
Therefore, having kids due to societal pressure, just to “save your marriage” is not a feasible option. That’s a deeper issue altogether.
The decision to whether have kids or not should be mutually decided by the couple themselves and not anyone else. So, no! It is never acceptable to ask this question, no matter how close you think you are to the newly-weds.
It is important to respect people’s privacy and let them be. No couple is obligated to have children. It isn’t a criminal offence choosing not to have kids.
In fact, many couples these days choose to be child-free and it is their own choice and no one has a say in it. They face a challenge when it comes to finding acceptance in our society if they choose to be child-less.
There are various reasons that couples don’t want to have kids, starting from financial constraints, lack of family support to not being able to ensure child safety, to not viewing having children as the next progression in their lives.
Moreover, childcare services aren’t ideal in every country. The responsibility for childcare and support ends up falling completely on the couple, who have to take care of their careers, as well as, support their children. This makes the whole experience exhausting and gruelling.
So, a few couples take their time to adjust the situations in their lives so that they can experience parenthood comfortably and embrace it with happiness.
Whatever the reason, it is outright rude for people to ask couples why they are not having kids yet. Or try to change their views on being pregnant with magical unicorn stories!
I mean, if the couple were actually trying various other ways to get pregnant already, or had undergone a miscarriage, won’t this question make them feel even more bad about the fact that they are having medical issues?
Or even if they are actually pregnant, why do people think that they are entitled to know it? There are many couples who do not want to announce they are pregnant in the first trimester for various reasons and it is up to them to inform you about it.
According to a national survey on perceptions of miscarriage conducted in 2015, 15% participants reported that they or their partner suffered at least one miscarriage. Of those who had a miscarriage, 37% felt that they had lost a child and 47% felt guilty, 41% reported feeling that they had done something wrong, 41% reported that they felt alone and 28% felt ashamed.
It is understandable how hard it is to experience something this traumatic.
“I feel isolated and left out when I am not invited to hang out with my other friends who have children. All because I had a miscarriage and couldn’t conceive, they feel that I could bring bad luck to them or it would be uncomfortable to have me around!” says Nina (name changed), who recently underwent a very tragic miscarriage and is trying to move on.
Isolating people because of the fact that they don’t have kids is highly inappropriate. As is asking unwanted questions about pregnancy to people who are already going through their trauma the most insensitive thing to do.
Pregnancy is a very beautiful experience and a lot of mothers say amazing things about bringing their bundles of joy into the world.
But there are also mothers who have stories of being forever exhausted, and not returning to work after getting kids and losing their identity. That sure scares the hell out of me. Maybe I don’t feel ready to be pregnant yet. So don’t ask me the question because I can’t explain to you how I feel because you ain’t me.
I once heard a stand-up comedian say “The technology is advancing, and it is 2018 but I still have to push a melon out of my vagina!”
It hadn’t occurred to me till then, but pushing a melon out?
Umm… no thank you! That scared the shit out of me. I realised that I was not ready for it. One day, I might get pregnant.
Maybe one day I will be ready to push a melon out, or I may never be ready.
But you know what? That’s none of your business! So, just stay out of my (and everyone else’s) vagina!
© Shaik Rohia Munavar
Picture credits: Pexels
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A twenty-something feminist, who has worked in the digital marketing industry for over 6
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