Thursday, November 11, 2010

Baby Boomless

I'm in my mid-thirties, I'm married, and I don't have children.  This apparently makes me some kind of circus freak.  Don't get me wrong, I like kids. I was a teacher for several years just out of college.  My friends kids are some of my most favorite little people in the world.  But apparently if you make it to my age and have managed to find a Wonderful Husband, you are expected to have children before the ink is dry on your marriage certificate.

I thought that once we got engaged, I'd be free and clear of annoying questions for at least the year we were planning the wedding.  Oh how wrong I was.  In fact, I can remember a conversation I had during my work bridal shower with a senior male coworker who asked, "So, I guess we'll be hearing the patter of little feet soon enough."  I almost looked around to make sure he was talking to me.  I hadn't even gotten married yet and already I was chasing little feet?  When did this kind of comment become okay?  I realize that I was supposed to get married a long time ago (read, before I turned 30) and that by now we are supposed to have children, but we don't.  We're on our own timeline, not the rest of the world's. 

Every time I am nauseated it's not morning sickness, but thanks for asking.  If I'm looking a little thicker around the middle, it's probably because I've been indulging in a few more French fries than usual and forgoing the gym (as has been my habit for many years).  If I turn down a glass of wine, you can keep your sideways glance to yourself -- I'm probably just hungover from the night before. 

As more and more of my friends get married and move to the suburbs and have children, I am more acutely aware of the fact that we don't.  It might also be because at least once a week someone will ask me, "So, when are you going to start a family?"  I hate that question and what it implies: that WH and I are not a family because we don't have children.  That the family that we've built for ourselves that consists of our parents and siblings and an army of friends doesn't really count. 

We're approaching the holiday season . . . a time of parties and gatherings and family events.  It's inevitable that I'll be asked at least once about our family planning.  The same way we were asked for four years about our marriage plans.  And the same way I was asked for years before that if I was ever going to get a boyfriend.  (I was even told once, "Aren't you getting a little old to be coming to Thanksgiving by yourself?")  What if we were to have a baby . . . what would the next question be?  When are you going to start teaching him to read?  Where is she going to college?  When is he going to get married?  When are you going to die?  I mean, where is the line? 

I read a joke once where a woman said, "Every time I'm at a wedding and my elderly aunt says to me, 'You're next,' I just wait for the next funeral when I can say the same to her." Maybe I should figure out a way to take this approach the next time someone pries into my personal business.  In some cases, I know it's because they care about us, but in most cases it's simply because they're nosy. 

So consider this is my pre-holiday public service announcement.  Think before you ask some of these questions.  Not everyone can have children.  Not everyone wants to get married.  And believe me, if it's a woman who lives in the D.C. area, it's not exactly easy to find a boyfriend.   Besides, the person you are asking already thinks about it a lot more than you do.  Your question just calls attention to something that is out of all of our hands.  Or maybe, just maybe, some of us are happy just the way we are. Instead, stick to gossip about crazy Aunt Jane's reindeer sweater or how drunk the office douchebag is getting at the Christmas party.  Either that or be the drunk douchebag -- at least then nobody will ask you if you're pregnant.


  1. The only time it's ok for someone to ask me if I'm pregnant is if that someone is under the age of 10. And it's usually something like, "When are you going to get a baby?" or "are you a mama?" Those little buggers say the darnedest things. Hang in there!

  2. Haha! I love it! That reminds me of one time when WH and I were visiting his aunt and uncle in Cali and his four-year-old cousin said, "Where's your mommy?" in reference to me. Yeah. The darnedest things! LOL!

  3. nope! once you have a kid, they'll ask when you're having the next one! it's like those of us who have them want to spread the misery around! :)

  4. I agree--enough with the questions. One of the reasons I got married was so people would stop asking me when I was going to get married. Not a good reason! By the way, I'm divorced and loving it.

  5. I read a joke once where a woman said, "Every time I'm at a wedding and my elderly aunt says to me, 'You're next,' I just wait for the next funeral when I can say the same to her."

    I'm going to remember that one!!

  6. I'm 47 and single and people somehow think it's OK to ask "When are you getting married?" My responses have varied between raised eyebrow "Excuse me???" looks and "When I find Prince Charming and the shoe fits". Yesterday when I was asked the question (again), I answered "Some day!" a la Meg Ryan responding to when she would turn 40. That did not deter the questioner, who then asked me why I wasn't married to Joe - a very nice man who is a friend but with whom I am not in love (nor is he with me).

    Why do people think it is OK to ask things like this?

    (And I so want to use the funeral joke! ;-))

  7. The Boy & I've only been together a year and I'm already hearing "So, when are you guys getting married?" EXCUSE ME? Since when did it become the norm for 20-somethings to get married immediately? Also, hi, it costs money to get married! How about you shut your pie hole?

    I get the kids question too and I just look at people dumb-founded. It's almost 2011. How about you focus on your OWN life and leave others' be?

    - Berrak

  8. "I read a joke once where a woman said, "Every time I'm at a wedding and my elderly aunt says to me, 'You're next,' I just wait for the next funeral when I can say the same to her."


  9. Thanks everyone for your comments...and please, do steal the funeral joke (after all, I stole it from somewhere--just wish I could remember where!).

    And have a fun and question-free holiday!!! Or just drink more. Either way.

  10. This is lovely!

    I have a good friend who has been married five years and is three months pregnant after trying for more than a year. She's overjoyed, of course, but she said the exact same thing, that she was bothered when people asked when she and her WH would begin a family.

    Also, the funeral line is brilliant!

  11. I get this constantly even though I thought I'd be married by now too. The amazing this is people are now bypassing the marriage part (I guess they figured I'm into common-law marriage?) and just jumping directly into the kids question and they love doing this in a room full of people so there are crickets as the room sits silently awaiting my response. I nicely told three generations of people a couple of weekends ago that I can not get knocked up because I love derby THAT much. They did not have any response then =)