Well, the most important thing to remember is that it’s actually none of your business. The issue is that plenty of very decent and well-meaning people have this absolutely dreadful habit of assuming or asking young couples when they intend on having children.
“When are you going to have some little ones running around?”
“I can’t wait for y’all to have sweet little babies!”
“Your baby is going to be the CUTEST.”
None of those sounded profoundly rude, right? It’s the idea behind it, and the feelings that it invokes in people. Having children is one of the most personal pieces of someone’s life, and unless someone explicitly requests your input, then don’t. Not your sister; not your best friend.
They may not want to have children
This is my favorite reason for someone not having children, simply because it is a choice. We are not an under-populated body of people, and unwanted pregnancy can have such a devastating outcome. If someone can determine that it is simply not a part of their hopes and dreams to become pregnant and bear children, then I think that’s wonderful and I support that person. No one should ever feel compelled to deliberately try to bring life into the world unless they feel passionately about it. This type of person is likely very responsible to ensure they have taken every precaution to prevent pregnancy, and I salute you for that.
They may not be physically able to
There are over 200,000 people in the United States every year that discover that they have fertility issues. That is 200,000 humans with emotions and plans who are not given the empowering choice of having a tiny baby that genetically embodies their relationship with their counterpart. Praise the Lord, there are actually options now that dramatically increase the chances of conception. But not for everyone. PCOS, Endometriosis, low sperm count, low sperm motility, heart-shaped uterus, etc. You don’t know who is suffering.
They may not be financially able to
Having children is not inexpensive, and finances are another very touchy and personal subject. It felt like we were trying to conceive for forever, but we did not realize how unprepared that we were. We have since found part-time work to bring in extra money, and we have sold things to make some change to buy things. Not everyone is willing or able to do so. Some people have a certain plan for their life or simply need a better paying job before they begin to grow their family. Not only do you have to budget to purchase somewhat pricey and necessary things, you also have to plan to be able to afford formula, diapers, additional insurances, and childcare once the baby arrives. A lot of people discover their pregnancy before they’re ready, but if someone is planning their growth, that’s their business.
They may want to keep their honeymoon years
Some people live together before they are married, and some people don’t. For myself and my husband, we lived together for a year before we were married (which is another story in itself), and I’ve also got friends who dated years before marriage, and never lived together until after the wedding. That being said, some people have spent honeymoon years together already, but it’s completely fine if people want to spend time alone for a while. Once you’ve multiplied, your life changes and you won’t get that time back.
It’s no one else’s business, not the potential grandparents, not the older siblings; no one. We have already discussed people who don’t wish to have children, but I think it is worth repeating. If this is you, practice responsibility and do you.
They may be going through something non-baby related
As you may have read in one of my more personal posts, I don’t believe that you ever truly know what’s going on in another couple’s relationship and private life. No one wants to bring anyone else into their storm, especially a baby. Maybe they truly do want to be parents someday, but they need to be secure and work things out before they do.
Maybe they need to become a better person themselves.
Or maybe they’re trying to determine if the person that they are with is who they want to share a new life with.
I think that’s admirable, and I support those people.
They may be living a nightmare
Maybe they had a miscarriage. Maybe they are regretting a past abortion. If someone told you their whole story, you would be speechless at all that you did not know. We need to stop assuming that our friends and family are open books. Everyone has secrets, and some of those secrets hurt.
We have a selfish tendency to believe that we are so easy to talk to and everyone feels comfortable talking to us, therefore, we must know it all. Even further, we believe that we understand things that we don’t. With clients, we are reminded not to use the phrase, “I understand how you feel,” because we don’t truly. Even if we did, it doesn’t make anyone feel better when they are upset.
Just remember: someone else’s decision to have children or not have children is really none of your business, unless you are in a relationship with that person. Have compassion, love people, and let it go.