Dealing With the Pressure to Have Kids

We love babies.

We’ll snuggle them; make them smile; wipe drool; sniff their yummy, sweet baby scent; bounce them in our arms for hours when nothing else will calm them; buy them funny hats; change stinky diapers; and let them teethe on our clean fingers if Sophie the Giraffe isn’t around.

That doesn’t mean we’re ready to have one of our own. Yet.

But, that doesn’t stop moms, dads, friends, aunties, grandmas, neighbors, and other assorted folk from asking when we’re gonna have one. They’ll do it when we have a great significant other who’d make a good parent. They ask when they think we’re getting too old. (Just say no to the baby panic.) They’ll give us “the look” when we’re holding our cousin’s kid. And our friend, who is already ready, asks because she wants us to have kids at the same time.

The truth is, all of that is fine. Let them ask. Questions you can handle. The financial, social, and physical impact of a baby is much harder to deal with. That’s why it’s smart to wait until you know you can handle having one.

So yeah. Babies rule. So does having one on your own terms, on your own timeline. When you’re ready you’ll know it. And if you’re never ready, you’ll know that too. Until then, staying on birth control is a great plan of action while you’re getting action. But if you get asked the “When are you going to have children?” question a lot, here are a few funny answers we like:

  • “Every time someone asks me that, I put it off another year.”
  • “It’s not in my nature to be mysterious, but I can’t talk about it and I can’t tell you why.” (Say it in a whisper and drive them crazy.)
  • And the old standby, “When I’m ready. Why do you want to know?”

How do you handle baby pressure? Does it make you avoid the little ones so you don’t have to deal with the baby questions? Got any good comebacks when somebody asks you “when?”

Remember, always do what’s right for you.

Misconceptions about Childless Adults
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Getting Pregnant (Or Avoiding It)
37 Percent of U.S. Babies Are “a Surprise”
Parenting: Is it Selfish to Want to Have Children?

Originally published on


Pronatalist Pronatalist

Each and every human life is of immense value and sacred. More and more people would be glad to live.

If you claim to love children, welcome them to be born. Get married, and welcome "all the children God gives." Do not damage or pollute the human body directly with nasty contraceptives. Let babies push out freely. Encourage large families worldwide, so that more people can experience life.

Rosemary H.
Rosemary H5 years ago

I knew a woman who did not want children (her husband agreed) but found herself pregnant. When she had the baby, she told the critical types how happy they both were, as though they had been 'mistaken' before. I thought she probably dare not say what she really thought for fear of unleashing criticism.

I used to try: 'There are enough people in the world already and I'm concerned about over population...' That didn't work. It was only the Third World that was overpopulated, not the UK...'

Or 'I can't have children.' 'Oh they can do wonderful things these days, so don't let that stop you wanting them...' (What a recipe for potential misery!)

'What if my husband (hypothetical future partner) doesn't want them...' Oh, you'll have to change your minds, or you'll be sorry later...'

Basically, if you don't live breathe and eat conformity, you can't win... Now since when has 'following the herd' to eradicate all individuality from your life, been a recipe to live by...?

These days' it's easy. If anyone asks me if I have any regrets, I tell them that I believe every child deserves a happy stable family life, but I had a straight choice between marrying a bully who was likely to become a wife-beater, or being thrown out by my parents for having an illegitimate child. No-one ever has an answer to that.

Rosemary H.
Rosemary H5 years ago

I recollect two extremes. My brother had one child. A workmate who had never met them was banging on to me about how spoiled she must be. No Way, but you couldn't tell *him* that! 'Only children are *always* spoiled so you have to have two...!' Why was he plaguing my eardrums with his rubbish? He actually said that when I discussed it with them, I should be telling them to have another child!!!! Me - rudely poke my nose into someone elses' private business!!!! I told him that I'm not so interfering but it didn't register.... :(

The other was in a newspaper. This writer knew a couple in their 20s who had a much-loved dog that was also good enough to win championships at shows. (I know that's not as popular here as adopting from a rescue, but that's not really the point. I had a much-loved horse unwanted by the racing industry but good enough to show, and I would really have enjoyed riding her to victory if I'd had the money!)

The couple wanted to enjoy showing their dog while they could, and have children later. And there was this impertinent nosey-parker of a reporter criticising their 'amazing selfish' decision, as though it was any business of his? For goodness' sake, how long is the *show* career of a dog?

Rosemary H.
Rosemary H5 years ago

What a lot of great responses! Barbara L, some way down, has one of the very best!

I find it was part of a cycle of questions asked by those who want to pressure everyone around them into 'being identical.' 'When are you going to find a boyfriend? When are you getting engaged? When are you getting married? When are you going to have a baby? When are you going to have another baby?' and then I believe the nosey creatures stop... (but probably start up about something else instead...)

It took me many years to understand why this particular 'carbon copy' lifestyle never began to work out for me. Meanwhile I didn't let it interfere with the enjoyment of life - I did a lot of other things that I enjoyed much more instead... I tried various answers that stopped short of the truth, because that was my private business, and not something I was going to open up for them to criticise, as they surely would.

The problem was they always thought they would have the last word: 'You'll be sorry later..!' Well, it is 'later', and I'm not sorry at all!

MacKenzie H.
MacKenzie H5 years ago

I find calling someone selfish who chooses to delay having children or to not have children at all disgusting. It's THEIR life, and they should live it as THEY see fit!

That said, this article kind of squicked me out. I know you can't write for every point of view, but having children is not an inevitability for every person or relationship. And some people don't like babies or kids at all! (And wouldn't you rather the people who didn't like children to not have them than cave to silly societal pressures?)

Jess No Fwd Plz K.
Jessica K5 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Connie O.
Connie O5 years ago

My mother-in-law at the time didn't accept me at all until I finally got pregnant. Then her mother sat on the other side of the bathroom when I was in the recovery room after I had my first child, and was asking when I would have the next one. (I stopped at one)! Before I was a mother, I was condsidered a non-entity.

Anti Idol
Anti Idol5 years ago


Patricia H.
Patricia H.6 years ago

thanks for posting

Deborah W.
Deborah W6 years ago

None of your damn business. If and when WE decide, we'll let you know. Back off!