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The Dreaded "Baby" Question

As a DINK, you can’t even count the number of times you’ve been asked the dreaded question: “So, when are you two going to have a baby?” And while this inquisition may make you want to run away and hide or feign deafness, there is a better way to handle it.

The Dreaded "Baby" Question
How couples can answer the dreaded question about when we are going to have a baby

At the rehearsal dinner the night before our wedding, my husband’s dad stood up and gave a best man’s speech. “The Bible says,” he began as I hid behind my maid of honor, anticipating what was likely to come next, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!”

Boy did my face turn red! And so began a six-year (and counting) game of “Dodge the Dreaded Question.” You know the one I’m talking about: “So, when are you two going to have a baby?” The asker usually addressing you with a slight lilt and dragging out the “a” in baby. 

As a DINK, you’ve probably encountered “the dreaded question” numerous times. From your grandmother, your mom, your newly-pregnant BFF, dear Aunt Susie, the frazzled mother of five (whom you’ve never met) standing behind you in line at Target, and yes, even your in-laws. And like me, when someone asks you “the question,” your first instinct is likely one of the following:

  • Run away and hide
  • Come back with a witty (and probably rude) retort
  • Feign deafness
  • Create a diversion (Do they make pocket-sized signal flares?)

However, while all of these options may provide an easy way out of the situation, this probably isn’t the best way to handle it. To successfully answer (and sometimes even dodge) the question while keeping your relationships intact and still coming across as the smart, sensitive DINK that you are, you basically have two options:


I've found the most persistently obnoxious about this topic are desperately lonely widows or divorcees who worry about my "future" & can't imagine how I (or themselves) would cope w/o having their kids left behind to give them a reason to keep going. This is esp. true for very traditional conservatives who feel backed by religion that this is how things MUST BE for all & who've sacrificed their own careers & hobbies to mothering.

I had four girl friends of mine corner me at our recent housewarming party. They asked, 'So, when are you guys going to fill that extra bedroom upstairs with a little one?' Starting with the one nearest I said, 'you don't call me to babysit' and the next, 'you don't call me to babysit,' and the next, 'you don't call me to babysit,' and finally, 'you don't have a kid yet, but I can guess that you won't call me to babysit either.'
There was a moment when we thought we might have children, and then I realized that I have no interest in being pregnant. It looks terribly uncomfortable and sounds awful. Plus, children are noisy and messy. People don't understand- but we just love our freedom. We want to travel and buy 2 seater cars. We have no intention of messing up a good thing!

We get this only once in a while and I am blunt . So I usually say, " we look fwd to being aunt and uncle, but we spent a lot of money to make sure that childbearing isn't happening between us." it mixes a positive in. I don't mind when people ask innocently as long as they let it go. I'd never ask personal!

I get asked this question from my pushy mother in law who after nine years of being with her son still doesn't know me well enough to know that I chose a career over mother hood. I never had the guts to say the truth to the woman so when she started telling me exactly when I needed to start giving her grandbabies cos it would be the best time for her , I would ignore her and change the subject. SOooo, a couple months ago I found out I was indeed infertile and I actually was at peace with it, I felt like for me it just made sense. I never had the desire to procreate, and people would always shut me down and say " you'll change your mind, bla bla bla" and I used to get enraged at this cos I always knew what I wanted and I wanted my life to be. Well, when I found I couldn't have kids, I was upset with the hormonal changes in my body and was scared of entering menopause too early. It was a rough time for me, I am way too young to be experiencing "the change" but anyways, I thought my husband would tell his family this news for me so I would never be asked the question again. Alas, on Mother's Day, at a very crowded counry style famiy resteraunt, the Mother in law said and I quote " I will be retired in a year and a half and when that time comes you two better get busy and give me grandbabies". I was mortified! The husband just laughed and said we would get right on that for her. Well, I wised up and said, " We can't have kids," She then laughed at me said " why ever not?" I said, " I physically cannot have them" and then she said" Oh." and I thought the subject was dropped. Until a few moments of silence passed and she said " well, why???" This angered me and I dropped the subject by calling for the waitress and asking for another drink. Am I wrong to think it is none of people's business why I can't have kids?? And am I wrong to have never wanted them in the first place??

I also like the "Iceland" comment, but my BF and I ARE going to Iceland for a few weeks this coming Spring!

I usually respond with, "when we feel like we have too much love between the two of us that it becomes necessary to add a third."

The disgusting amount of sappy sentiment usually leaves the inquirer happy enough to move on.

Like other readers, I believe in being straight up. I'm not ashamed of my choice. It's one of the things that I believe in as truly as I believe in needing air to breathe. I was born not wanting children, I've never doubted it in 30 years, and I've never made excuses for it. If someone asks, I tell them I don't want children. That's all. This straightforward approach usually shuts up the other, but when I get the rare "you'll change your mind", I shrug and tell them I haven't so far, and if I did, I would rather adopt.

I AM fortunate that mine and my husband's families don't pester us. They knew from the onset that we were not going to have children. My aunt, who is also my godmother, never had kids and leads a great life that I seek to emulate. My own mother doesn't care to have a grandchild. My in-laws would like it, but, because we told it like it is, don't expect it. It really helps when you tell people exactly where you stand, right from the start. It doesn't give them license or reason to keep inquiring. And, regardless of who's asking, when it comes to my life and my choices, I don't feel the need to pacify or humor anyone.

I'm completely at peace with it, and it's not my problem if others aren't.

I don't understand why DINKS are considered rude when we respond back with certain comments...the people that are continually asking me when I am going to have a baby are the rude ones! If you don't know me well then you have no idea what my fertility situation is and you should never assume that I can or want to have children.

At a recent wedding reception with assigned seats, we were making general small talk when the man next to me said,
"You have kids, RIGHT?" The assumption was so abrupt I simply said, "No." His wife followed with,
"Well, when you do have kids you'll find....(blah blah)" Appalled at the second assumption, I was firm and said,
"Actually, we're 36 already and we won't be having children."
I was likely testy in my reply (I DIDN'T smile!) but I hate feeling like I'm from another planet in the DINK lifestyle. I can't understand why people fail to wrap their brain around someone who's different. I agree it's best to be graceful (despite the anger and resentment) when responding to these questions, but it needs to be effective to stop their follow-up comments. I'm reading up on assertive communication now, to learn ways to better handle these situations.

I have two types of answers for this question: One for people who know my offensive personality already, and one for those who don't.

Q: When are you guys gonna have a baby?!

A1 (for those who are not faint of heart): Oh nooo, we don't want one of THOSE things. Yuck! We've decided that if my internal clock begins to bioterrorize me, it's time for my partner to buy me a dog.

A2 (for the easily offended): We are enjoying our freedom right now and have no desire to have children, indefinitely. If the time comes, MUCH farther in the future, that we feel differently, we'll discuss it then.

Now, I don't mind being asked the question, no matter how personal or uncomfortable it is, but there is a line that gets crossed almost every time, and when it invariably happens, I have a hard time keeping my composure. There are two statements that will insight blind rage whenever directed at me.

Statement 1, made after saying you don't ever want kids: 'Oh, weeell, you're still young. We ALL say that when we're YOU'RE age. Someday you'll change your mind, you'll see!'

What this statement is actually saying is this: 'Because you're under 30 you are incapable of having formed a real identity with valid opinions about the way you'd like your life to go, and furthermore, because I have children, it is wrong for you to not want them. I can't relate to you, therefore I'll invalidate you, because you saying you don't want children makes me feel judged by you. Oh, by the way, because society says all women must want babies someday, it also make you inhuman.'

Statement 2, made after saying you want to wait a very long time to have children, if you ever do: 'Hmm, well you'd better not wait TOO long, you're closer to your 30's everyday, you know. You're no spring chicken anymore! Tick tock *entitled chuckle* '

People feel (especially those with kids) that when it comes to the baby question they have the right to say whatever they want to you and are entitled to forego any social graces at your expense, at least when you're a young woman, as I am. Their gauche smugness makes me want to grab the nearest large stick and beat enlightenment into their narrow skulls.

Sorry for the monologue, just needed to vent about the liberties people take with you when you're a young DINK.

My problem is there's always someone that will ask why we didn't adopt. . .ugh!

Everyone's comments are so funny. Y'all are hilarious!

Q: "When are you two going to have a baaaaby?"

A1: "We were going to, but after listening to you complain about yours we've decided not to have kids." (Questioner will protest that they love their kids but will not ask you again.)

A2: (smacking forehead) "I *knew* there was something I forgot to do!" (Some laughter, but you will get the question again.)

A3: "Having kids would violate the conditions of my parole." (Useful for when you don't ever want to speak to the questioner again.)

Q. "When are you two going to have a baaaaby?"

A. "We're not."

Tell people you are trying to be more Christ-like (guess who didn't have kids!). It has the benefit of both confusing them and shutting them up.

We tend to nip that question in the bud by stating how happy we were to find another person who didn't want kids. We've both worked with kids for years (and actually like them), but don't want any of our own. We've dealt with the best and the worst behaviors of kids for years, and it's in our (never to be born) children's best interest that they not have us as parents...they'd never get away with anything!

I love Robert's "Iceland" response, though. I may have to try that out on someone.

My wife and I are DINKs in the South. I would never tell my relatives "we're just waiting for the right time", as this just gives them the authorization to continue to perpetually pester my wife and I about the subject. I lay out the reasons why we do not want kids in terms that they will hopefully understand. The overwhelming majority of the time, I get the old "You know, I love my kids, but if I had it to do over...." speech. Some, however, just cannot seem to grasp the concept. One aunt got downright angry that we decided to remain childfree. We simply avoid her now, as she sees fit to continually bring up the subject and disrupt our harmony, in the very vain hope that we will change our mind.

When asked the "Baby" question we normally say "When we get back from Iceland" they then ask "When are you going to Iceland" and we respond "No idea"

Not a chance that I could do the white lie AND keep a straight face! Nor should I, the pestering is just too annoying. We have no intention of having children. I usually respond by saying that we can't wait to have dogs- if they don't stomach it well, it's not my problem.

At every function where we socialize with my husbands work mates, it happens every time. Usually by the same person. And they are so damn adamant about it. It's one thing to ask me once and I tell you "we're child free" (not originally by choice, we cannot have children), but we've embraced it as a positive, but when the same person starts getting pushy about it, I start to lose my cool. Sometimes I just want to shout at them "WE CAN'T have KIDS OK? ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?" but yeah, then I'd be the asshole. And all these people have several kids and are usually nonplussed about it, so I think it's the whole "misery loves company" attitude. Far be it for me to analyze these people, but I think our lives without children is a direct affront to their lives, and it scares them. So I decided the next time this question pops up, I'm just going to calmly ask "Why do you have kids?" I usually just say that I'm selfish and don't want to have to share my video games... jokes are a good distraction :D

The nice thing about getting married for the first time at 38, is the question doesn't come as often. Now at 40, people just assume we're too old. But when they do ask, I have no problem saying, "We like our life as is. We have no interest in having a child."

I don't agree with the white lie listed in the article - it's OK if you ARE planning to have kids but just don't know when - but if you are not planning to have kids ever, the "white lie" is really a full lie that just encourages people to keep pestering you about it because they think you do want kids. If you are not comfortable enough to flat out say "actually, we're not planning to have kids," at least don't lie about it. Neutral options include "I'd rather not discuss it," "I don't like to discuss my sex life," or a diversion like "actually, we're thinking about getting a dog - tell me about your bulldog, is that a good breed?"

Most of our relatives don't understand that we have no wish to adopt a child into our relationship and a few don't understand that we can't have children of our own bodies (we're both infertile) thus they keep asking time and time again when we're going to start our family.

To his side of the family who do not understand what having a hysterectomy means we just say "I medically can't have children" and leave it at that and to those who ask why we haven't started the adoption process we answer "we are not able to adopt and by time we might be able to do so we'd be to old to meet the requirements to be able to do so" that one tends to turn them on their heads and stop them asking.

If nun of that works and there are a few who are dense enough that it doesn't I just say "I rather be an Aunt or Big Sister that way I cant give them as much candy as possible and send them back to their parents on a sugar high" which tends to get ppl laughing and agreeing or if not agreeing at least seeing my point in the matter on that side of things so they don't ask more Qs/

You know, I get asked "when are you two going to have a baaaaby"? at every function at my in laws by 80% of them. They all have oodles of kids, and I gotta say, none of them look happy about it.

Having a kid just doesn't appeal to me or my husband really. We tell close family members we're not sure if we even want one, but that is never a good enough answer for them. They just keep pushing it.

Honestly, the next time someone asks (which may be this weekend, next inlaw function) I might just turn around and say "I don't know, we're having so much fun traveling the world, exploring new cultures, enjoying the time between just the two of us...maybe if we get bored we'll have a kid".


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