“So when are you going to have children?” A simple ‘small talk’ question that people
commonly ask. Usually followed by, “Oh, you are still young, you have time to change your
When I was 25, I married the wrong person. He was a good person, but the wrong one for
me. This was my own fault and was largely due to my own insecurities; however, I believe
people asking these kind of questions were a big part of my decision to marry him.
There is an expectation, especially of women in their 20’s and 30’s, that they should have a
partner, then a husband and a house, and finally a baby and a career. It’s a conveyor belt
that makes some people happy, but is not for everyone.
Sometimes, these things are not an option for everyone, especially having children. I have
friends who have struggled and are still struggling to conceive, who have shared with me
how hurtful these kinds of questions can be. A good friend expressed her frustration that the questions don’t stop when you have children. Then people ask, “So, when are you having another one?”
Another friend was asked if she was breastfeeding. She found doing so very difficult and didn’t feel comfortable answering the question for fear of being judged. And she was.
Be kind; accept differences
I have known that I wanted to forgo having biological children of my own, and foster or adopt since my early 20’s. I was lucky that when I met my current partner, he felt the same
way. I know that this choice is not conventional and when we do it, it will be very difficult.
However, we feel strongly that there are already so many children in the world who need a
good home, and we want to provide one for them.
When I have told people this, many have been accepting and supportive. Others are
dismissive and feel the need to point out that it is not the same as having your own children.
I am fully aware of this. I know women who don’t want to have children at all, who are made to feel like social misfits for their personal choices. They are labeled as selfish, and I have even heard people say that you cannot understand love until you have your own children.
When people make life choices that are different to others', people feel justified in not only
demanding explanations, but wanting to know when these “misfits” will return to abiding by
the social norms. They are often cruel and dismissive of what is most often a considered
and thoughtful decision.
I say, accept differences, be happy, and enjoy your own choices. Also, be considerate of
people around you, as you do not know what their situation is, or what they are going through.
"Holly-Ann Golightly is a thirty-something year old woman, based in Manchester. She is passionate about telling women’s stories and setting up dialogues to tackle the issues women across the world face on a daily basis."