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Things You Should Never Say To A Childless Woman

Updated on May 5, 2013
Things You Should Never Say To A Childless Woman
Things You Should Never Say To A Childless Woman

Childless Women - Not Always A Choice

Making assumptions about a woman’s plans or ability to have children is not only none of anyone’s business, but can be extremely offensive, not to mention invasive. Passing judgement is a faux pas.

Whether a couple is childless purely by the choice of their own, or by no fault of their own is likely to hit a nerve if raised in conversation. Just by looking at someone, you will never know if they are infertile, going through (IVF) infertility treatment or have just had a miscarriage.

If you have ever considered asking a childless woman about this, take heed and seriously reconsider. For those of you who have endured any or all of these statements you might want to share this with those in your circles in a bid to stop them from further inappropriateness.

Not having any children implies, to some, that there is a problem. What's wrong with you?

Here are a list of things you should never say to a woman without a child.

Things You Should Never Say To A Childless Woman

  • You must really not have wanted to have a child or you would have one by now.
  • Don't worry, you will change your mind about having children in a few years.
  • Why don't you just stop trying. Then you will get pregnant straight away.
  • Have you ever thought about adopting?
  • Your purpose in life must be something else.
  • I have a very small family, I only have three kids.
  • You are lucky. Having children is hard work.
  • Get over it, it is not the end of the world.
  • When are you going to try to have a child?
  • You'll understand what I mean one day when you have children of your own.
  • Just relax. You will get pregnant before you know it.
  • Is your husband OK with you not wanting to have kids?
  • It’s OK, your dog is your baby, isn’t it?
  • Since you don’t have children you can afford overseas holidays and renovations.
  • Don't you want more meaning out of your life.
  • Aww c'mon. You would make such a great mother.

Pressure By Parents and Grandparents

It is very common for couples to be asked by their own parents, or grandparents questions like, "So when are you going to make me a grandmother?", "Any babies on the way yet?".

Whilst they mean well, and never mean any harm they do not help.

Childless Women

For those women that choose not to have children, through their own decision making process, are no less of a woman than those that have. It does not make them selfish, it does not mean that they have no understanding of the pressures of life and it does not mean that they do not have any financial pressures.

In fact the opposite could be said of those parents who have had children and then blatantly complain about them all day and do the exact same things that used to annoy them before they had kids; like taking to their children inappropriately and letting them run amok undisciplined.

For those women that are childless despite trying everything within their means, the emotional and often financial strain can be so extreme that even an innocent mention of a baby can be the last straw.

Having a child is a life-long commitment and if you only fall pregnant to satisfy the expectations of others then you really should be taking a step back and re-assessing your situation.

Some women are fertile and can fall pregnant easily however are unfortunate to suffer miscarriages. Others carry genetic conditions that may be passed onto their unborn children and therefore make the heartbreaking, yet arguably sensible decision not to proceed.

Some women have no child-bearing instinct yet are keen to adopt or foster a child yet red tape and financial situations make this an option no longer feasible.


Misery Loves Company

Making statements to childless women, or asking them questions is, at best, condescending, and at worst, downright unacceptable. Often it is those who do have children that are the ones who pressure the most and ask you the most questions about why you don't want children.

If being parents is such an exclusive club, why is it that a lot of these same parents look so tired , are moody, grumpy, miserable and even complain about their relationship, their spouse, their financial problems, the kids themselves and let's not forget about not having time to do things for themselves.

Do these parents brag about parenthood simply to have others join them in their misery club. Misery loves company right?


Most childless women ultimately find peace with their decisions or circumstances whether on their own or with help from counselling. Some put their child-bearing thoughts to bed, and never think about them until confronted with a question right out of the blue.

Conception is a miracle and so too is the act of giving life to another. For those that are willing and able they should be grateful and not take it for granted. Being a parent does not make you better than a childless couple. Being a parent does not make you more knowledgeable about life, it only makes you knowledgeable about different things.

A woman's reason for being childless is hers and hers alone. It is no one else's business to assume or pretend to know all the answers.

These days, childless women are growing in number. Let's hope that private and personal issues such as these are removed from our tables unless prompted for opinion.


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    • profile image

      monnie 2 years ago

      Let us not also forget that sometimes it's not only women faults, it can be that the husband is the one infertile here, but the blaming finger is pointed to women. one doesn't understand it takes a principled and God fearing women to stand by their husbands for better or for worse, knowing that you are fertile but you chose not to have children because your husband can't.

      Please it's good to always have a sense of understanding before judging.

    • Julie K Henderson profile image

      Julie K Henderson 2 years ago

      Bravo! Thank you for addressing this important topic. This is an area where people need to be extra sensitive and considerate instead of assuming all sorts of things about childless women. Voted up.

    • profile image

      JaRae 2 years ago

      How about "I understand being infertile, too. I have three kids but wanted 5, but couldn't have any more. Infertility is tough." Really? Hmm, trying having none.

    • Julie K Henderson profile image

      Julie K Henderson 2 years ago

      As a childless woman who would love to one day get married and have children, I think your suggestions of what not to say to woman who are childless are right on target. Thank you for sharing.

    • profile image

      Also infertile 2 years ago

      I have heard ALL your listed things "Not to say...." and would like to add two more that have been said to me and very hurtful and they are, "What's the matter, don't you know you to do it?" and "Maybe your doing it wrong."

    • Julie K Henderson profile image

      Julie K Henderson 2 years ago

      Well said! I applaud you for making your point in a sensible and straightforward manner.

    • profile image

      Ega 2 years ago

      inside the body can be said out loud shared toehgter. If you lose this part of knowing that a deeper communication will be a part of you now. You have missed the true place of connection to begin with. One will experience life in all that it is growing inside. The other should not disconnect during that time in fact the more you embrace this the stronger the connection should become. It is the birth of a new consciousness. Not the consciousness that will be felt from a new being within the connection. But the birth of what it is to be combined from this point forward with life. This is forever. We miss it and think it away through a series of things we think about that we still have unresolved as an equation of how we got to be who we are. Remove this part. For this innocence is not going to experience this unless acceptance of letting go of the very need to be is still only one inside yourself, when you now are in fact two. Often we will view the world through eyes that seem to have a thought process that defines our reality of a past, where in fact, we are missing the trueness of becoming innocent ourselves. You are given another innocence to be. Not as it was when you were a child but as an adult, you are given rebirth. Embrace this. It is the truth. It only becomes more magical as you learn toehgter what the two of you combined has brought into the world. We become selfish in making this about thoughts we have based on what he isn't doing or she isn't doing. Instead it is about the existence of what was birthed through connection. I know this now.. not because I thought about it. I realized it because my soul spoke it from where it is embedded deep to never forget. This is the place of creation you become the source of a love you birthed into a child just as we see we were birthed into. This should have always brought us closer to being connected not directly responsible for tearing us apart. Beautiful post my friend.. It awakened my true nature on how this should be and will be inside of what I teach or evolve to if ever given this chance again. If I never wrote it down it would have never surfaced as it should.Thank you for sharing!

    • profile image

      Calaban 2 years ago

      carolynI read the article and feel the vieacrsl response to the term childless may be rooted in assumption that women's primary destiny is to bare children and without them may suggest we have lived a lessor life. Is that an innate emotion grounde d in truth? If so,we should find pride in accepting it and fulfill those desires in other productive ways as you describe. But why does it seem wrong to reject the notion that it very well could be a natural destiny? Is it because we don't want anyone to feel bad and we need to find ways to mask a disappointment from not fulfilling natural order? I ask because I really don't know. It's a good thing to uplift others in hopes they continue to be productive .it's purposeful. I also seem to think amidst the pain of being childless one can be equally productive thats the strength of women.

    • profile image

      pamdace 2 years ago

      I agree that we should all be more sensitive to others' feelings. I am surprised that I read a jab or two at parents in this article, considering the subject, and its intent.

    • profile image

      Susan 2 years ago

      Let me tell you as a 38 year old woman who has had 2 miscarriages & does not have children now. It is very important to think before you speak. It is difficult to control ones thoughts before speaking, trust I have been there on numerous occasions, however once you have been through the loss of a child that never had a chance in this world you tend to have different views. A miscarriage is something that will stay with a woman for the rest of their lives & it never gets easier. When a friend announces a pregnancy you smile politely but secretly wish you were them. There are always reminders but God does have a plan whether it is to have a child or not feel blessed to be a part of his master plan no matter if we understand or agree with it. I pray for

      All who have lost a child.

    • carrie Lee Night profile image

      Kept private 3 years ago from Northeast United States

      Thank you for writing this hits home article. At times I feel left out because I don't have children. I don't like it when some women feel that I am selfish for not having kids. Still I try not to get bent out of shape about it :). Great topic. Thank you for sharing

    • profile image

      Jamie 3 years ago

      Hello! I just wanted to let you know that I loved this article so much I’ve linked to in on my website. http://www.childlessmormonsupport.com Thank you!!

    • profile image

      A childless woman 4 years ago

      Thank you for this article. I don't expect everyone to understand the reasons behind being childless, but this is a great start to getting the message out. Sometimes life doesn't give you a choice, and it can be very upsetting when people don't think and blurt out comments such as those listed above. More of my favourite comments which you haven't listed above are "you're just selfish", "you're just too career focussed", "you can work long hours, you don't have a family to go home to", and a few other derogatory comments along the same lines. What they don't understand is I do focus on my career & do work long hours to try to deal with what life has served up to me - it's just my way of coping. I have come to accept my life the way it is - the hurt will always be there, but I have had time to shield myself and now "laugh off" the comments, while deep down my soul is crying out. So, to all those who say any of the above - please think twice - it is none of your business as to the reasons a woman is childless - and trying to pry it out of someone is picking open fragile scars that will never heal, and opens them up for repeated hurt. When having a conversation with a childless woman, we love to hear about your children and how they are going and their achievements. But the whole conversation shouldn't be focussed on your them - there are a lot of other interesting things going on in the world other than your children, so please keep that in mind also. I have beautiful nieces and nephews who I love dearly, and will talk about them in conversation, but I also talk about a lot of other things going on in the world. Please don't see this comment as bitter, or a request to treat childless women with cotton gloves, it's just a request to be considerate to a person's privacy and accept their decisions without putting them through the Spanish Inquisition.

    • Karen Hellier profile image

      Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

      Interesting. I guess I never thought about this and would probably blurt one of these phrases out. You make some good points though and I will keep them in mind the next time I am in the company of a childless woman. Voted up and interesting.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      great tips. Now i know what i shouldn't say when i meet one.