Faith

The Question That You Should Stop Asking

Today I’m speaking up for those who don’t speak up for themselves. I’m speaking for the ones who politely smile and give a pained answer when asked this question. I know the ones doing the asking don’t intend to be hurtful or rude, but it often causes overwhelming grief and discomfort when asked. What is the question that you should stop asking?

“Are you ever going to have kids?”

I have been married for over six years and do not have children. I can’t even tell you how many times someone has asked me this question. Before we get into the meat of today’s post – I’ll tell you my completely honest and transparent answer: we are not planning to have children at this time. We are not anti-procreation, but at this point neither of us have a desire to start a family. For today’s post, I’ll even add that we’ve never tried to have children. We’ve never lost or miscarried a child. With that said, please know that I’m never hurt or offended by this question. I’m speaking up for those who are.

Why do I think everyone should stop asking this question?

I just scrolled through the contacts on my phone. Half of the married women who are on that list have experienced some kind of difficulty related to pregnancy, whether it was infertility, miscarriage or something else. And those are just the ones that have shared their struggle with me. I’m sure there are more of my good friends that have suffered in silence.

If you’re asking the question, “Are you ever going to have kids?” there’s a good chance you’re asking it to a woman who has suffered heartache or loss in her motherhood journey.

I won’t even get into the fact that it’s really not anyone’s business when a couple decides to have children. Making babies is the most intimate thing a couple can do…and I don’t imagine you really believe someone’s sex life is your business. That’s awkward, isn’t it?

Just the other day someone said this to me – “This might be a personal question, but have you and Paul ever thought about having kids?” Every time someone asks me that question, I just take a moment and pray for my sweet friends who have to fight back tears when they find themselves being asked. I want to say, “You’re right, that is a very personal question and it’s none of your business!” But I don’t – I always give the answer I mentioned above.  I know that people usually have very good intentions when they ask me. They aren’t looking to be rude or to cause pain.

Please remember this – for so many sweet women, that question causes incredible pain. What should you do instead of asking, “When are you going to have kids?” Here are two options:

  1. Don’t ask anything at all. That’s always a safe solution.
  2. Ask this instead, “How can I pray for you?” This question will certainly convey the care and love you intended, and may also give you an opportunity to encourage them in their struggle should they desire to open up about it.

{There are other versions of this question that I believe should also be avoided – “You look so natural holding that baby! Doesn’t it make you want one?” or “When are you going to have another baby?” I wish women would also be careful when bitterly retorting, “Just be glad you don’t have any kids!” You may have no idea how much that sweet woman who has struggled for years to become pregnant would gladly change places with you.}


This post has been on my heart for a long time, and I think it’s appropriate that I’m writing it just before Mother’s Day. I am not writing this as a rant aimed at people who annoy me. I’m writing this to an audience of well meaning people who may never have considered the pain that can be caused by the question, “Are you going to have kids?” Stop asking. ❤

With love,

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39 thoughts on “The Question That You Should Stop Asking

  1. Love, love, love! We didn’t seem to wait long enough to have this question proposed (I was preggers 2 months later), lolololol! But what you said is so true. It just really is none of peoples business. I LOVE you 2 questions to ask, or not ask instead.

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  2. Thank you for this post, Whitney! I think of this often and you expressed my thoughts so perfectly! God’s timing is perfect and that includes giving us children or not! 🙂

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  3. I think I have mentioned before how this question just broke my sister’s heart as she struggled with infertility. People just need to keep those questions to themselves. Along with the ones who ask if you are pregnant when you were wearing a roomy 80s dress back in the day…yes this happened to me once and I almost died.:) Personal questions are just never appropriate.

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    1. I’m so sorry that your sister suffered with this! I can’t imagine how much worse it was a few years ago when there was even less awareness about infertility. Oh my – I’ve never had anyone ask me if I was pregnant, but I don’t think I’d be able to answer that one very graciously!!

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  4. Whitney, I could write a novel on this subject but I’ll try to keep it short 😉 I am 40 and the questions have finally stopped. In my late 20’s and all of my 30’s, it was all that anyone asked, even though I was single! I am getting married next week and my husband-to-be is 51 and has two, adult children whom I adore. People have asked though recently if we plan to have children and one person even asked me why I had never had any prior to now. Really? I was single and didn’t meet the right man until 39! I have never asked someone if they plan on having children. It’s a private matter and your’e so right, it can be very hurtful. The fact that I will be a mostly, full-time homemaker without children shocks them even more 😉 That’s another subject for another day! Great post!

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    1. Cari, you certainly face a lot of tough conversations with your situation – but don’t let that keep you from graciously reminding people that God’s plan for your life is perfect. I’m THRILLED for you, being able to marry someone who God designed to be your mate and then also being able to care for your home full time is such a tremendous blessing! ❤ I think people assume that because we don't have something means we never wanted it – and that's a very dangerous assumption! Congratulations on your wedding!! Hugs!

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  5. Having watched a family member struggle with infertility for years, the pain of this question is not lost. I understand people’s curiosity, but still. It’s really none of anyone’s business. As a mom of three boys, I’d like to add another question not to be asked. “Are you going to try again for a girl?” As if having children is like a scratch off lottery card and my boys are less than because they are not female. People will even ask that in front of my boys. Brings tears to my eyes.

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    1. Oh my, that’s a hurtful one too! People have asked my Dad if he was sorry they never had a son, and he always graciously responded that he was completely grateful for my sister and me. God makes no mistakes, and we have to be careful to use our words with that truth in mind!

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  6. Well said, Whitney! As a mom who suffered stillbirth and then secondary infertility, I know the pain that question can bring. Thanks for sharing this good post! I hope it will make a multitude of people stop before they ask that question!

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  7. I’ve tried to stop asking questions about people having kids, unless they bring it up & talk to me about it. I don’t like the unwanted comments, either, so I try not to make them.

    I think, too, saying to someone that only has boys… don’t you want a girl? Are you going to try for a girl? They need a sister! The next one will be a girl (which also assumes I want/can easily have more kids). And vice versa. As if what God gave us isn’t good enough unless we have one of each.

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  8. For sure, it’s definitely none of anyone’s business! People asked about us having a girl… blah blah blah, the list goes on. Procreation isn’t any of anyone’s business!

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  9. Thank You! Thank You! I cannot tell you how many times I was asked this question and then offered very unsolicited “advice” during our infertility journey. It is such a personal question. I appreciate you sharing this for all of your friends who just want people to STOP asking!

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  10. Excellent, excellent post! I have never asked anyone this question and I never plan to. It’s none of my business. Your answer is short, honest, and to the point, but I agree with you completely — people need to stop asking this question!

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  11. Thank you for bringing awareness to this sensitive issue. My husband and I have been dealing with infertility for the past several years. When people ask me about having children, I tell them honestly that we’ve been trying but that we are living through infertility. I think that answer isn’t on most people’s radar, so I think it’s good to be able to let them know our struggle.

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  12. Excellent post. The question of pregnancy plans/children should just not be asked. It’s no one’s business except God and the couple in question. When I first got married, I had health issues and medication that would have most likely been extremely harmful or fatal to a baby had I become pregnant then. But, people don’t wait long to start the questions after marriage, and as someone who did want children sooner than later they stung. Then I had my first son, and then two miscarriages. Even though he was only 1 at the time, I had many questions about “trying for another.” Because at the time I had no idea whether I’d ever be able to carry a baby to term again, I cried a lot after such flip questions. It was no one’s business at all, and the miscarriages were traumatic experiences I didn’t feel like sharing with casual acquaintances or strangers.
    I have a friend who lost a baby over the Summer and is currently pregnant with her third boy. She is BEYOND thrilled and I am thrilled for her, but people even have to comment on that. On how “sorry” they are that it’s another boy. It’s a healthy, thriving child!!!! Sorry???? What a terrible thing to say.
    At this place in my life, I am unable to have more children (nor did we plan on more), but I still don’t like to be asked about it because the reasons I can’t have more are many and are a bit of a touchy subject, even though I don’t desire more pregnancies or children. Basically, it’s just no one’s business unless I want it to be.
    I love the alternate questions you suggested. Hope you are doing very well.

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    1. Hey Stef, I’m so sorry you’ve suffered with this issue throughout your adult life! I like your statement that it’s no one’s business unless you want it to be. That’s really how I look at it too, when it comes to my friends. I assume that if they want to share, they will. If not, I keep my mouth shut! You know I love seeing pics of your sweet kiddos…especially your mini-me!! ❤

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  13. After my sister had her son (after a miscarriage) I received this question all of the time. We are married to twin brothers, so we must want to do everything the same! My husband and I tried for a year and had a month of testing done (a small amount compared to some) before getting pregnant with our daughter. We had started off not sure that we wanted to have kids. Then I had a change of heart. And then we didn’t get pregnant for a year. I lied to many people in that year telling them we weren’t sure we wanted kids because I didn’t want to snap and say, “Well, it isn’t for lack of trying..if you really want to know that personal of information about us.” My sister miscarried two more times before having her second son and is now pregnant with twins! She’s going to soon have the 4 boys she prayed for (and no, they weren’t trying for a girl, they love their boys and WANTED healthy boys)!! However, we are now getting the “When are you going to have another one?” question. I’ve decided to be honest this time around and flat out tell them, “Well, we take our time reviewing that option. To be honest, I had post partum depression after our daughter was born that didn’t get diagnosed until she was 10 months old. So it really isn’t an easy decision for us.” People aren’t sure what to say after that, but that’s the truth and that’s what I’m sticking to. Thank you for your post!!

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    1. Hi Julie – it’s so good to hear from you! Thank you for sharing your heart with me! So many people have commented with similar scenarios where someone asked why they didn’t want a girl instead of all boys. It’s not a short order kitchen, it’s God’s divine plan for our lives. He has a perfect plan for all of us, and if that means you having a family of three, that’s tremendous!

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  14. So very true!! I’ve been guilty of asking this in the past (to my dear old coworker, who didn’t seem enthusiastic about kids for years, although I thought he wife was), and I regret it ever since. To be honest, I didn’t realize until recently that infertility struggles were so widespread (relatively), and this question can be so painful! Who knows what goes on behind someone else’s doors – it’s their business! You make so many good points in this point; thank you for writing this!
    PS We have 2 girls and have been fielding the “Are you going to try for a boy?” ever since #2 was born. I dread this question now, especially from my in-laws….

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    1. Oh my, Katherine…I think I should have added that “Are you going to try for a boy/girl” question as #2 on my list! Just like you, I think a lot of people who ask about our family plans are innocent and mean no harm. Hopefully our gracious answers to those questions (and the boy/girl question) can help them learn that God’s divine plan for our families is perfect…and personal. ❤

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  15. Thank you, Whitney! Such a good post about a very difficult subject for so many women. I haven’t experienced questions or comments about not having children but I have experienced them about the three children we lost and some were extremely hurtful.

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    1. My mom miscarried my younger sister, so I have always been aware of the pain involved with losing a baby. I’m sorry you’ve experienced those comments, Amber! People don’t realize how hurtful their words can be.

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  16. Thank you so much for writing this, Whitney. I went through my 20s and early 30s not wanting to have children, but then wanted a baby when I was 37 (I’m 41 now). Little did I know it was too late by then, as I had unexplained infertility and on top of that early menopause. A few times, I believed I was pregnant, but test after test confirmed it was false. During that time, I was in an incredibly emotional state and people would ask why I didn’t have kids and when I’d tell them, I was met with unsolicited advice and comments … I “wasn’t trying hard enough”, or “why did you wait so long?”, or “you’ll never know what love is until you have a child”… So awful. I’ve learnt better coping skills in dealing with insensitive comments and I’ve also learned to be content with my life. I must say your videos and blog have played a huge part in my journey to be accepting of what I have and your words are indeed a comfort. Thank you again.

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    1. Elizabeth, thank you for sharing your heart with me. That is not an easy road you’ve walked – but I will be praying for you as you continue to face those insensitive comments. There’s so much unsolicited advice these days…people think they need to be everyone’s problem solver.

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  17. Thank you for this post. You are correct. Infertility is way more widespread than we realize. I myself have lost one child and chose to seek infertility treatments for the one I am privileged to have and the one on the way. Thank you for being that person to help others understand that this is a highly inappropriate question unless you truly already know the answer… and then it’s unnecessary. Infertility hurts! Your additional phrases that are just as hurtful that you listed are also true. I’ve actually even stayed home on a Mother’s Day Sunday to avoid this question, the “baby parade”, and the “mother awards (I.e. Mother of most children, oldest mother, newest mother etc.)”… I love that you have lovingly and graciously said what our hearts hold. Thank you!

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    1. Thank you, sweet friend. Your testimony throughout your motherhood journey has always been such a blessing to me. I’m sorry you’ve had to walk this hard road of loss and infertility. Your response even in the blessing of answered prayer has always been so gracious! ❤

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  18. I really enjoyed this post. I think each family is perfectly capable of making their own decisions and people need to respect that. We struggled with infertility twice and people were constantly asking us about having kids, giving Olive a sibling, baby timing, etc. I never went into details with most of the people and just said not yet. I think that people mostly mean well, but don’t stop to think that’s God’s plan for your family might look different than their plan for your family.

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    1. When I get asked about kids (which is often) I tried to remember that people typically mean well. That keeps me from replying with something not-so-nice. 🙂 I’m so glad you have been blessed with Olive and Fletcher!

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  19. I try to follow this rule of thumb–if it crosses my mind to preface any question with “This may be a personal question but,” then I just don’t ask anyone that question (about children or any other topic). People will tell you stuff when/if they’re ready. Thank you for this post.

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