When you’re married, with or without kids, you’re subjected to some level of scrutiny from society. If you don’t have kids, people wonder if you’re having marital or fertility problems. If you have kids, people question why you had them so soon or so late. And although the questions around this topic stem from good intentions, it still feels like a socially inappropriate topic to engage in, especially in small talk.
Family planning is an extremely personal matter. Whether you choose to have kids or spend your life with your partner alone, it’s a decision that varies from couple to couple, with no right or wrong direction. However, it bothers us that there is an instinctive need to question a married couple on their family planning, just like there is an uncontrollable urge to comment on someone’s weight after having not seen them in awhile. Judgments aside, we find this topic so personal that it should be addressed with the utmost consideration, such as a personal health or finance-related topic.
Marriage is not based on children. Children are one of life’s greatest blessings, and they can really strengthen a marriage, build a new family foundation, and bring endless joy to the lives of their parents. But there are also lots of happily married couples who don’t have children. Marriage is not based on whether or not you have children, it’s based on the relationship between you and your partner, the experiences you share, your future, growth, and love. With or without kids, you still have to work on your marriage, because it’s a lifelong commitment and needs constant care. Having kids doesn’t shift your commitment away from your partner and towards them. You have a stronger commitment now with children in the picture, and it’s also your duty to your kids to keep your commitment to their other parent, to set a good example for them. But with kids around, you and your partner have less time for each other, and probably have to work harder to keep your relationship strong.
“So you’re married… how come you don’t have kids?” Have you considered how harmful this question is, when brought up to couples who have serious issues around this topic? If you don’t know what is happening behind the scenes – whether the couple is unable to conceive, or trying to work out their differences – why stir the pot? Why trigger unnecessary emotions? Just avoid the topic entirely.
Just to clarify here, we’re not referring to the innocent question of whether or not a couple have kids. It’s a simple part of getting to know someone – wanting to know whether or not they have kids. However, we’re referring to the question around why a married couple doesn’t have kids, whether it’s too early or too late to have children, or the assumption that just because a couple is married means they have to have kids. Some people take it a step further and question why you only have one or two kids, why not three or four…
To all married women with or without kids, we stand by you. We believe that society needs to be more accepting towards either choice, and change the perception that being married means having children. From our experience the people closest to you would probably already know your views or issues, or at least wait to hear them from you, knowing there’s no need for the added pressure of addressing it in conversation.
Let us know if you agree or disagree – we’d love to hear your thoughts!
Sisi & Rara