Why I'll never ask when you plan to have a baby......

January 29, 2015

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(photo by Miranda Batchelder Photography...from my pregnancy with Hudson)

So, I'm just going to share something that's been on my heart a lot lately. 

It took us several months of trying to get pregnant. Now, I haven't had problems with infertility, or miscarriages. I've never lost a baby. But I know that several of you have struggled with fertility issues and I cannot even begin to fathom what that must feel like. I know I am incredibly blessed to be pregnant with our second child. I know that trying for months is just a drop in the bucket compared to what many of you have gone through. But when you want a baby, and you have to wait, it's hard. 

Over the past year I've decided I will never ask another woman when she plans to have a baby. Ever.

I have friends who just start to "talk about" having a baby and they get pregnant. I have friends who have struggled for years. I have friends who've lost multiple babies. And, it's just hard, no matter your struggle. For us, it took several months of trying to get pregnant with this baby....and it took almost that long to get pregnant with Hudson too, but the second time around it was much harder for me emotionally. Because I knew what I was missing out on. Each month that passed put me farther and farther away from a baby. And it just plain sucked. 

 photo Julie_24.jpgDuring that time of waiting, we had a lot of people ask us when we were going to have another baby. At first it didn't bug me, but when the questions kept coming I sort of shut down. I know that everyone had the very best of intentions, but it was hard. When someone says to you "just have another baby already!" and you are trying desperately to make that happen, it just knocks you down. 

When you can't even tell someone you were sick without them giving you that "by sick you mean pregnant, right?" look, it stinks. 

I came to really appreciate the people who agreed not to ask...and knew that I would tell them as soon as I could. Namely, my mom and best friend. And that's the approach I'm taking with everyone I know. Unless someone confides in me and wants to talk about it (which bring it on, I'm always willing to talk babies and will support anyone 100%!) I won't ever bring the subject up. I won't ask you when you plan on having a baby. It's really none of my business how many children (and when) you have them. 

So if you are struggling with infertility, I just want you to know that I am here for you. I understand maybe just the tiniest bit how you might be feeling. I know it's not the same, but I know it must be hard. If you are thinking about starting a family, but are scared, I'm here for you too. 





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45 Comments »

45 Responses to “Why I'll never ask when you plan to have a baby......”

  1. What a heartfelt post, lady. I came to the same realization a few years ago, but it's because I'm not ready to have a kid, yet and when everyone asks it's frustrating. So, I can't imagine how hard it must be to suffer in silence when you're trying to have a child.

    I sometimes throw out the vague ask, about future plans, or a new home or something as a segue, but if the talk about a baby doesn't come up, I leave it alone.

    My heart goes out to those that struggle. Thanks for sharing your heart, today. <3

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  2. I am right there with you! I never once thought about how detrimental it could be to a woman asking her "when do you plan on having kids" or "when is the next one" until I began my struggle to get pregnant and losing a baby. Luckily I was able to get pregnant several months later, but the stress to get pregnant again drove me crazy! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  3. Thank you for this post. My husband and I have been married for about a year and a half and the questions from well meaning people are incessant. What if we were trying? What if we were struggling with infertility? Maybe we just plain aren't ready! My new response is that I'm working on abs, a masters degree and buying a house. Once those three things are in order maybe we'll be ready to be parents. ;)

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  4. I completely agree! I came to that realization a couple of years ago, when my husband and I decided to start our family. It took us three months to conceive our daughter, which I know is a short amount of time and might even seem trivial to those with fertility struggles...but especially since it was our first child I had growing insecurities with each month that passed by "unsuccessful". Even when I know my best friends are trying to get pregnant, I don't ask ANY questions--not when will they get pregnant, not how is it going, nothing. It's such a private and emotional topic that I am all ears to discuss if someone wants to, but I've decided to never initiate that conversation.

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  5. Thank you Julie. As a fighter of IF for 5 years and having suffered 4 miscarriages I so appreciate your holding off on the question. The struggle is real and being asked these questions frequently really adds to the stress that I'm not pregnant yet and the time distance keeps getting longer and longer between Ellie (who is adopted btw) and her future sibling. After our first year of struggle, I also vowed to not ask a couple this question.

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  6. So much truth in this. I've always instead asked "if" people plan on having another baby rather than when - I have several friends who are "one and done" and that lets them answer appropriately as well. Then if someone does feel like they want to talk about it, the door's open. If not, they can just say, oh maybe someday, and change the subject. My mom struggled with secondary infertility and I'm afraid I will too, so I try to be aware. Great, heartfelt post momma!

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  7. THis is a pretty eye opening post. I've never really thought about it and though I tend to respect people's privacy and not ask too many of these questions, I've never really stopped to think about the struggles and how much it hurts. I will definitely be more mindful. We have two and now the question is when are we going to try for the boy ;-s

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  8. I never really thought about the question until we were having trouble ourselves. I blogged about it last year and it was so nice to put my feelings about it (http://www.colleenandkeith.com/2014/08/one-year-beyond-another-baby.html) into words.

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  9. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for posting this. I don't think it matters if you have been trying for two months or two years to get pregnant, the waiting is incredibly emotional and often difficult. We have been trying for over a year to get pregnant and just learned we will have a hard time conceiving naturally. Although family, friends, co-workers and the sweet old lady at the grocery store are all well-meaning when they ask when we will have a baby, my heart breaks every time it comes up. Having children is an incredibly personal issue, whether you are just starting to think about it, in the depths of trying, have infertility issues or just don't see yourself as a parent. Thank you for shining a light on why it is probably best not to ask. Congratulations on Baby #2 - I look forward to watching your family grow in His blessings!

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  10. This is something that I am learning to be more sensitive about now as well. I've gotten to know so many sweet women who are struggling with infertility right now, and it just breaks my heart. And after losing 2 babies to miscarriages myself, and having to deal with the awkwardness that comes when people ask "so, are you pregnant yet? " - not knowing that you just lost a pregnancy that was so desperately wanted - I don't ever want to be the cause of those kinds of uncomfortable feelings for anyone else. I still find myself asking the "family" type questions every once in awhile, but have definitely grown more aware of when it's appropriate and when it might not be. Thanks for sharing your heart on this today, Julie. I think we can all afford to be a bit more sensitive on this subject!

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  11. I love this post! I struggled with infertility both times, although only mildly compared to others. However I am such an oversharer and I actually prefer to talk about it. I am very guilty of always asking others about impending pregnancies...something I could work on for sure!

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  12. Love this post & love your honesty!!! Like you, I can't imagine what it must feel like to deal with infertility. Both times we got pregnant within a couple months, but even those were hard so I often think about this!! So happy for you & your growing family, and love the insight on this. XO

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  13. As someone who has had miscarriages and someone who is currently trying desperately to have a second child, this post hit home. I can't say thank you enough. I know that people don't mean any ill will when they ask, but when it's something I want so badly and get comment's like the ones you stated it's just another reminder of your loss(es) or your struggle.

    xo So happy for you and your family, Julie! Can't wait to 'meet' the newest addition!

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  14. Such a beautiful post <3

    My husband and I have gone back and forth for a while now of when to start our family. But friends who already have kids keep asking us/pestering us to start our family. I will never understand this. When we're ready I hope we will be able to, if not we plan on adopting a child who needs a good home.

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  15. Thank you. No one know the struggles we deal with in silence.

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  16. Love this post! I've been married for 18 months and people keep asking. We feel like now isn't the right time but I can't imagine how hard it would be to hear those questions if I were struggling!

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  17. Thank you for writing this. It is SO frustrating to me when people make assumptions. Along similar lines, I find it incredibly hurtful when people try to suss out whether or not you are pregnant when you haven't made any announcements. If I'm not pregnant, but I'm trying, and you're watching every sip I take and every move I make trying to "catch" me, it's so painful because I'm not. And if I am, but I've made the choice not to tell you yet, how RUDE! I'm scared to death of a miscarriage. I have so many friends who have successful first pregnancies, only to really struggle, and often miscarry with #2. And I'm the type of person who would want to be private with that kind of event. But people feel the need to probe and pry and like I said, "catch" me, which is so horrible. It's unfair and disrespectful, and to be perfectly honest, makes me want to withhold the information even longer because they'll just come back with an "I knew it" when the time is right. People need to let couples do this in their own time and their own way.

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  18. Thank you for this post. Love it! My husband and I have been married for a little over two years, and we got pretty lucky early on about people not asking, but now it seems incessant. We've had a lot of "life" in the last couple years and who knows if we're trying or not, struggling or not, or just weren't ready. At the right time, and as we say in God's time, it'll happen. Thanks for shedding a new perspective on this for others as well!

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  19. Beautiful post and so heartfelt. H and I aren't even engaged yet and all we get is people asking "when are you two getting married" "when's are you going start having babies" etc.... And recently I've just felt like snapping to them "none of your business" and that's hard as you don't want to snap at people you love. But I just think people don't realise what they are saying - H will ask me to marry him in his time, not when other people want him too and fertility is something we have been told we will struggle with so we are yet to decide what road we want to go round.
    So I totally feel what you are saying and I too am going to make the same vow as you today. I will no longer ask. I will just wait and see if someone wants to tell me.
    Great post x

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  20. Love this post, Julie! People also should be careful because not everyone wants to be parents. Yes, a majority of people want children, but an increasing number people (my husband and I included) choose the child-free life, and that should be respected. I feel like I have to defend or explain myself all of the time--it's frustrating and makes me feel like this part of our lives is not being accepted. It's a good thing we're strong people and absolutely love our life! :)

    I can count on 2 hands how many of my closest friends struggle with infertility (several have been trying for 5+ years). I have learned that they will share what they want, when they want to. It's not our place to pry, even if it's our best friend. Being a listening ear is all they want sometimes. Not a friend who repeatedly says, "Why don't you try XYZ?...Have you thought about XYZ?...etc." but rather a friend who says, "This sucks! I hate that you're going through this. I'm here for you." :)

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  21. I wish this was just common knowledge for everyone! My husband and I suffered with infertility for almost 5 years and trust me the last question you want to hear is that one, especially when you are taking Ivf meds or finding out the cycle you just spent thousands on failed! We chose to keep our struggle private while dealing with it because I didn't want judgement, I didn't want people's comments like just adopt or just relax... Etc. it doesn't work that way or cure our issues! After getting pregnant, we announced our pregnancy with infertility awareness attached. We worked hard for our baby and overcame many obstacles - obstacles I don't wish upon anyone! People now know my story and they are still oblivious to their harsh words and ask when the next one is coming. The smart ass in me says well this one took us 5 years... But I usually answer with well IF we are so blessed to have another one, then it will happen when the time is right!

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  22. I absolutely love this! The trying, the wanting, all of it can be really hard. I remember not telling anyone we were "trying" because I didn't want to go through the questions each month. Now we get when will we be having a second :( Sad since I want a second and my husband isn't on the same page :(

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  23. It's so true and I know exactly what you mean I wrote a similar post about those who always ask if we are having another. I don't think people realize everyone has their own struggle with this. Great post!

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  24. Although I too, have never lost a baby, I understand what you are saying. Our daughter just turned 2 and people have been asking for what seems like the day she was born, when #2 is coming. We are happy with where we are right now When #2 comes, it will be amazing. I'm not sure what people don't understand about respecting what other people want in their life, or thinking about WHY someone isn't pregnant/doesnt want to be pregnant again, etc.

    Great post. Thanks for sharing!

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  25. i know people mean well. but man they can suck sometimes. . . i feel like ive learned alot this time around (or maybe now that i'm 30 i'm just a lot wiser). i will never say "almost there!" to a pregnant girl ever again either. even if shes 3 minutes away from giving birth.

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  26. I love this post. My husband recently wrote about this very topic (kind of interesting from a man's perspective, too) here: http://rebelstorytellers.com/stop-asking/. You just don't know what is going on in someone's world-and the commentary can be hurtful, or at the very least, inappropriate.

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  27. I love this and I feel the exact same way! When we started trying for Lawter, I became so aware of all the inappropriate and potentially hurtful things that I just thought were normal girlfriend banter that I'd probably been guilty of saying to friends myself. You just never know what someone else may be going through and like you, it's no one else's business. Thanks for posting this, it's a mindset that needs to catch on and become more globally shared.

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  28. Thank you for writing this, Julie.

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  29. A great post Julie - I haven't had any infertility issues but my best friend has and this has opened my eyes to all these loaded questions and unnecessary insensitivity. Thank you for sharing x

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  30. Thank you for posting this! My husband and I have been through a lot since our son was born. I had an early miscarriage and then we lost our next pregnancy at 22 weeks. I went from being thrilled about being pregnant with friends in real life and along with a number of blogger friends to being constantly reminded of what I just lost. Even worse were the seemingly harmless "when are you due?" questions. It hurt and I can understand the hurt and frustration that comes with other struggles.
    I am so happy for you and your family! I can't wait to see the little one and Hudson as a big brother!

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  31. Thank you for posting this! My husband and I have been through a lot since our son was born. I had an early miscarriage and then we lost our next pregnancy at 22 weeks. I went from being thrilled about being pregnant with friends in real life and along with a number of blogger friends to being constantly reminded of what I just lost. Even worse were the seemingly harmless "when are you due?" questions. It hurt and I can understand the hurt and frustration that comes with other struggles.
    I am so happy for you and your family! I can't wait to see the little one and Hudson as a big brother!

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  32. As someone who has to do a lot to get pregnant (Ivf) I hate that question. Even when people ask me if I plan or want another. Sure, but our wants don't always come true. I now look at older women who never had kids and never just assume it's because they didn't want them. It's heartbreaking and for most the worst thing to have to talk about.

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  33. What a wonderful post. Even though we are not currently trying to have another child right now, the questions are still hard. I swear they started the minute Mason was born (well the minute we got married and then for #2 the minute Mason was born) and it's just so overwhelming. There is so much that goes into even thinking about having another child and when people ask, not only do they not know what you're going through but do you even want another one? Are they making you feel bad about your decision? Having children is such a personal decision that should be between a husband and wife and if and when they want to share should be up to them too. You never know what's going on in someone's life and if they want to share about it.

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  34. I believe in this so much. I've seen so many people struggle, but man at the same time I admire their strength. Us women have to stick together so this was really encouraging to read! Can't wait to meet your new babe!!

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  35. HI Julie...I think I have been a follower of your blog for awhile, but I haven't been on it (reading) much. When the blog post, and the title came through my blog feed, I had to read it. My husband and I are infertile. You can check out my blog for more info, but basically, he is infertile, and i have health issues (along with PCOS). People have stopped asking us when/if we are going to have a baby (unless they don't know me/us), b/c they know we can't have one. Adoption isn't an option, either. Thank you for writing about this too little talked about subject.

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  36. Love this post! We certainly we're asked plenty of times "when are you having a baby!?" & after time, it gets hard hearing it - & I had to be careful not to snap at people with a snide remark.

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  37. Julie, this is such a wonderful post - and one I for sure needed to read. I'm for sure a chronic over-sharer and I know that I'm one of the only ones... I hate it when I open my mouth and just KNOW that I should have kept my mouth shut. SO DUMB.

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  38. Thanks for this post :) We're going through infertility (as in not going to happen unless God does an absolute miracle, like straight up).. it stinks A LOT. There are many good days but just as many difficult days, it's like a roller coaster really. And it seems like always on the more difficult days, someone asks the dreaded question. Breaks my heart all over. I would love if you prayed for us whenever God brings someone with infertility to mind.

    So... thank you, for caring and being considerate. It really does mean a lot to me and all of us walking this journey.

    XO

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  39. So perfectly said, Julie! I've had a post like this sitting in my drafts pile for a while, but I haven't been able to form the thoughts quite like you have. Just beautiful. :) I'm so very excited for you and baby #2! You are an amazing mom and woman!

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  40. Julie--This post could not have come at a better time. We are currently trying for #2, after suffering with a miscarriage on Christmas Eve (after just telling our families our good news a few days before) it's been so devastating for me to endure those questions about #2. I have also vowed to stop asking people about when they are going to start trying etc...because you never know what they are going through behind that brave face. xo

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  41. THANK YOU for this post. We conceived our 3 1/2 year old on the first try. When he was 2, we decided to try for another baby. We were also pregnant on the first try. However, our daughter was born still after losing her life to a severe congenital heart defect. I never got to see her awake.

    Life has been impossibly hard. Everywhere I go, people see me with just my son and say "only the one?" or "don't you want to have another one to give him a sibling?" and my heart crumbles. For a while, I couldn't leave the house. I'm getting better at saying "he has a sister, but she died." Usually, this shuts them up. Sometimes you get the "what happened?" and that just makes it all more maddening.

    I'm now on my third month of trying to be pregnant and not being pregnant. It's not a long time in the least and, heck, I just had a baby seven months ago which everyone is quick to forget because she passed away. But, man, each day is like salt on the wound. I wish people would stop asking. I wish everyone would just stop asking.

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  42. I needed to read this! Thank you--it's hard to be trying and everyone asks "when?" and "if?" and "well, what's wrong?"

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  43. Just wanted to let you know, I've been a long-time fan of your blog and I keep coming back to this post. I love it. We've been trying to conceive our second child for 6 months now and have suffered one miscarriage. It is so terribly hard and you summed it up perfectly. Thank you!

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