Monday, August 19, 2013

The big question

I have debated writing this post for quite some time, because I try to keep this blog very positive. However, I've been thinking about it for several weeks now, and reading this post and several others inspired me to go forward with it.

Andrew and I just celebrated our third wedding anniversary on August 6, which is why we went on our giant road trip to the Pacific Northwest (pictures are still coming, I promise). With every passing year, we are inevitably asked the big question: When are you having kids?

I remember the first time someone asked that question. Andrew and I had been married for less than a year, and I was at a family gathering without him (he had to work Saturdays at the time, and it was the first big event we'd spent apart). It caught me off guard, and I think I mumbled something about how Andrew was still in school and hated his job and was hoping to find something more stable before we had children — all of which was true. But what I was really thinking was that I wasn't ready to have a baby yet, and I knew Andrew wasn't either.

Please don't misunderstand. Sometimes asking a couple about having kids is appropriate, especially if you know them really well and are talking to them alone. However, you might want to think about the following before asking that question:

  • Some couples are not ready to have a baby right after getting married. Our church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) puts a big focus on families, which is a great thing. Unfortunately, some people misinterpret this focus to mean that all couples should immediately have children after getting married — and if they don't, the questions start coming. Putting pressure on someone to have a child is insensitive and short-sighted. The decision to have children is deeply personal and depends on a lot of different factors, and asking the question can make a couple feel upset or even guilty.
  • Some couples struggle with infertility, something they may not be willing to talk about. I am often surprised to hear women talk about their miscarriages or stillborn children, simply because it is so common. I have several friends who have struggled to have children, and one of them overcompensates by pretending children are irritating and a burden she doesn't want to carry — though I watch the way she interacts with them and know how much she longs to have one of her own. When you ask a couple when they plan to have children, you may be reminding them that they're unable to and bringing up a touchy subject.
  • Some couples have health problems or other issues that make having children a challenge. When I was diagnosed with cancer at age 16 and then treated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy, I resigned myself to the fact that I might never be able to have children. Ten years later, I am still dealing with other problems like depression and anxiety. While I am still hopeful that I can have kids, I continue to pursue my career, to sing and to do the things I feel I'm meant to do until Heavenly Father blesses me with a child — if He decides to. So many people struggle with other health issues that can contribute to infertility, and asking about children can be hurtful.
Andrew and I have been married three years, and they've been absolutely wonderful years. I know that having a baby will bring us even more joy, and I look forward to that day. But I also know that the Lord has His own timing — and that every couple is different and knows when the right time for them is. 

Thanks for wading through that. Please share your thoughts! I'd love to hear what you think.


  1. best of luck with everything! you are brave and inspirational - God's timing is the perfect timing :)

  2. I agree a thousand percent. For us, the questions dropped off after about the 5 year mark, thank goodness. Not sure if that's because everyone assumes we're hopelessly infertile, or if it's because I've learned to put off a "DO NOT ASK ME THAT QUESTION" vibe. I read that post a few days ago and really loved it, especially his suggestion that asking when a couple is going to have kids is more personal than asking about their finances.

    I taught modesty to my Laurels yesterday (I might blog my notes, still deciding) and I wanted to let you know that I used your "modest amount of mustard" story. The girls LOVED it, and it was the perfect, funny demonstration of how far we've come from the real definition of modesty, so thanks for sharing it!

  3. my cousins are Mormons, and i have plenty of friends who are too, and they said they felt such pressure to have kids right away and to have a lot. i've noticed that too, but again, i'm only basing this on what i've observed and am not saying all feel that way.
    as an unmarried, childless 36 year old, i am constantly pressured by everyone to have kids. it makes me feel like all of my other life accomplishments are null and void because i'm not popping out the kids. i can't stand that!! i love kids (i'm a nanny) and if it's meant to happen, it will.

  4. It doesn't matter what religion you are, that question is inappropriate.

    "You can't have an only child!" and "Are you done having kids?" Also none of anyone's business.

    I had my one and only son at age 34.

  5. I think you handled this topic in a very positive way. I would only add that many times people are asking out of genuine love and personal interest and not just a desire to pry. We tried for a year before we got pregnant with our first child, and sometimes I really wanted to talk about all the hurt and anger and sadness I was feeling, but I didn't want to bring up the subject myself. So I actually welcomed it when someone I loved would ask me what our plans were for our family.

  6. This is such a great post. You are amazing! Everyone has a different life to live - different challenges, timing and decisions. I think that people need reminding that every family is different and made up of different amounts of people, but all are considered a family and loved by our Heavenly Father.

  7. Sadly, most people don't learn to be tactful until the lesson hits close to home. Lucky for you, you get to educate them.

    Good luck however you decide to bring children into your home. My niece was lucky enough to adopt after 7 years of marriage. They are loving every minute of it.

    1. Thanks, Connie. We are hopeful that things will work out -- but I think adoption is a wonderful thing, too.

  8. great post! following you now! I hope to see you in my blog sometimes. thanks!
    Kisses from VV!!

  9. Thanks for this post. I completely agree! We never subscribed to the "things will all work out" mentality when it came to having children before we were ready--emotionally, financially, etc. Too many couples think it "works out" because they use other family members for money and baby care. We wanted to wait until we were able to care for a child on our own. Throw some fertility problems into the mix, and five years later we finally have our little guy. I think our ward thought we were infertile, so it must have seemed like a miracle when we were expecting. :) Everyone has their own timing for what works best for them. We were expecting our timing to start a little earlier, but we are happy with where we are and where our journey has taken us.

  10. I love the way you shared your thoughts, Lindsay. I have been having similar thoughts lately as you know and as with any big question/decision in life patience, hope and belief are the factors we all hold on to.

    The time will come and surprise you awesomely. I wish you all the best, for who you are and how beautiful soul you have. xxxx

  11. Jared and I waited almost 4 years...luckily we didn't get asked to much about it because we both have LOTS of grandkids on both sides of the family - so there was no pressure (and that's part of the reason we waited so long - as I'm sure you can imagine) So I hope people don't pressure you too much, adding a child is definitely one of the best joys you can have, but there is no reason to be pressured by it! can borrow Mya and Preston anytime. :) Mya is so excited for you guys to visit!

  12. this is such a personal topic/question, i'm glad you wrote about it! i'm sure people don't mean anything by asking/don't realize it's none of their business and as you've listed above, the question can be really stressful for so many reasons. my least favourite of all the comments/questions about having kids was the reminder that I was getting old! that really bothered me for some reason.

    i hope everything works out for you guys, no matter what you decide :)


Thanks for sharing your beautiful thoughts! I love reading them.