This Woman Perfectly Explains Why You Shouldn't Ask People Why They Don't Have Kids
“Even if it feels like it’s not a big deal for you, it might be a really big deal to the person you are asking.”
Emily Bingham is a 33-year-old freelance journalist and social media consultant from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Recently, she's gotten a lot of attention for her Facebook post on people inquiring about fertility and reproduction issues.
On Sept. 20, she uploaded this photo of an ultrasound to Facebook and attached a message regarding the many questions women face about reproduction.
It reads, in part:
Hey everyone!!! Now that I got your attention with this RANDOM ULTRASOUND PHOTO I grabbed from a Google image search, this is just a friendly P.S.A. that people's reproductive and procreative plans and decisions are none of your business. NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.
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.
You don't know who is struggling with infertility or grieving a miscarriage or dealing with health issues. You don't know who is having relationship problems or is under a lot of stress or the timing just isn't right. You don't know who is on the fence about having kids or having more kids. You don't know who has decided it's not for them right now, or not for them ever. You don't know how your seemingly innocent question might cause someone grief, pain, stress or frustration.
Sure, for some people those questions may not cause any fraught feelings -- but I can tell you, from my own experiences and hearing about many friends' experiences -- it more than likely does.
The post has since gone viral and has been shared 40,000 times. It has also received a ton of responses, which have been overwhelmingly supportive.
Bingham told BuzzFeed that the issue is personal because she faces a lot of questions regarding her plans for reproducing.
"Since my mid-to-late 20's people have been asking me about whether I wanted to have kids and if so, when I would get going on that."
She also mention how these types of questions have effected people she knows.
"I've also heard from friends who have struggled to conceived or mourned miscarriages, and they've told me how painful it can be to be quietly shouldering that burden while having family pestering them about when a baby would finally happen."
She then went on to say that the point of the now viral Facebook essay was to raise awareness.
"My goal was to kind of make people aware of how many different experiences people might be having and step back and let them decide if they want to share for themselves if they want to have kids."
Toward the end of her Facebook post, Bingham added questions that people should ask instead:
Whether you are a wanna-be grandparent or a well-intentioned friend or family member or a nosy neighbor, it's absolutely none of your business. Ask someone what they're excited about right now. Ask them what the best part of their day was.
If a person wants to let you in on something as personal as their plans to have or not have children, they will tell you. If you're curious, just sit back and wait and let them do so by their own choosing, if and when they are ready.