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Is it inappropriate to ask a woman with children when she'll have her next one?

by Vee (follow)
Etiquette (55)      Privacy (7)      Private Matters (1)     

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Is it inappropriate to ask a woman with children when she'll have her next one?

Have you ever been asked this question? If so, how did you respond?

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Top Answers
It's probably kindly meant. It's not the rudest question ever, nowhere near as bad as say, "are you pregnant?", but it does get a bit annoying to hear over and over. Also, you don't know when you ask that if they are already trying and having trouble conceiving, or if she has recently miscarried, so if you're just making conversation maybe talk about the weather or something instead.

People used to ask me that all the time after I had my first baby. I found it a bit awkward and just said I didn't know, which was true. Now I have two kids people say stuff like "you have one of each, you can stop now". Really? Thanks for giving me permission. :P
Most definitely inappropriate and rude.
Good, ha! I thought, perhaps, I was the only one who found this inappropriate. I just don't think it's anybody's business.
by Vee
I think it can be inappropriate to ask this question depending on the way the question is posed as well as the relationship between the woman and the individual asking the question.

My has been asked this question a couple of times and she says that she is more offended at people asking her this question with a tone suggesting she shouldn't have any more.

I've personally asked this question to some ladies, but it was timed based on a conversation that was in progress.
Indirectly I had been asked.

I always thought ''How nice that person is interested''.

These days, well it's not the kind of thing done like years ago.....Back then it was more the ''setting-up-of-a-family'' thing.

The man went to work, and the woman stayed home, had children and life was a Sunday roast .

Women back then did ask other women, and to be very honest if you did not ask, you were looked at as if (not a caring kind).

Women often would boast in a loving way, how yes ''we have thought about another child''.

Other women would giggle,and smile and some would even blush! ...(The single ones).
I remember that very well.

Asking a woman with children WHEN they are going to have more children is inappropriate, as it is a private and personal decision that they should not be privy to. It is like asking someone when they are going to have sex next. I have not been asked this before, as when I had my children, within a couple of months, I was always pregnant with the next one. When this routine stopped, it was fair to say that I wasn't having anymore children. I think a more appropriate way of asking this question would be to ask ' do you WANT any more children? ' not ' when are you going to have more children '. Some people may be happy with only one child and don't want anymore. If it ever happened to me I would have just laughed it off, as I think it is just small talk and not a serious question usually.
Oh! Lluxi, I totally concur!
by donjo
We often think alike Donjo
by Lluxi
Great. I was thoroughly satisfied with your response, Lluxi. I like this idea of asking people if they "want any more". If one must ask, this is a good way of framing it.
by Vee
I find it a little distasteful. I was asked for sixteen (wearying) years before people finally gave up and realised that when I said ONE . . . I meant ONE. ("Oh, you'll change your mind. You'll want a boy. You'll want her to have a playmate" . . )
by Rice
Oh! Rice, bet that gave you the screamin' heebie-jeebies!
Msny people don't realize there ARE individuals' who DO 'know their own mind', AND stick with whatever decision made!
by donjo
It certainly did, donjo. I (we) had many reasons for not wanting another and the joke was that I had my tubes tied when my daughter was five, so all the cajoling in the world was not going to make it happen. I had two lovely doctors who understood the situation perfectly, even though I was only 23 when I had it done. I did not act rashly and I have never regretted it. My daughter has always maintained that she never missed siblings and that you can't lament what you don't know. She's a wise little owl.
by Rice
I am sure it can be kindly meant. It is not my business so I think it's better to hold my tongue. It is a tender issue.
It matters not if the woman has, or has not, children, it's one of THE most offensive, & ignorant questions anybody can ask of a woman!

It's NO business of any other person, full stop!

The ONLY persons' it DOES concern are the male & female involved, & their medical practitioner(s).

My imbecilic m-i-l asked us ONE time; my husband, HER son, was just SO embarrassed that she did.

By the time I'd finished 'reading her the riot act', she was comparable to a withered veggie on the vine!
She sure regretted asking it, for MANY a long year! Dumb a$$ b@&$/!
Oh my gosh, donjo, I am laughing my a** off. Good on you, woman!
by Vee
Oh! Vee, even though a 'delicate' subject question, I did have a ROFL experience, at the picture above!
Very clever!
One doesn't hear that 'expression' very often these days!
I laughed too!! Heehee . . . bit of a tiddler isn't it? LOL
by Rice
Thank you both! I think an appropriate picture goes a long way. ;-)
by Vee
I detest this question - absolutely detest it. I understand that people who ask are not being malicious...at least you would hope not, but I just don't think it is anybody's business but the couple's in question. Or perhaps, it's inappropriate when asked by certain people.
by Vee
Not at all.... although I noticed no-one asked me this question once I'd had my sixth child (probably to scared!!!).
I think a more dangerous question to ask a woman is "When is it due?" - my husband asked a woman this same question and you guessed it.....the only thing due was a diet !

Oh no, upawa! How mortifying for your husband. Good call on your part, though - hehe.
by Vee
I think it is an inappropriate question. The couple may only want one child if that's the number they already have.. Oops the first child may not have been planned, may have been from another relationship, who knows? The couple may be having problems conceiving for a second time and the question could be hurtful. There could be all sorts of challenges so just don't ask. I don't think it is anyone else's business so just don't ask.
Questions around this issue are so delicate. The worst thing I ever felt was the sorrow at causing pain to my daughter's teacher when I asked if she had given birth to a boy or a girl and she told me it was stillborn. I am tearing up now, over thirty five years later, thinking of that. We need to have great care, don't we, about the questions we ask?
by Rice
One of the worst things that a man said to me when I was in my twenties ( am now 69 ) and have never forgotten " You are not a real woman until you have chldren" !!!! That wouldn't happen now and we would all biff him across the ears LOL. No children and couldn't have any. Nice question, do you want children. What ever makes you happy.

What an absolute pig. I think he was thinking of dogs, the ridiculous man.
by Rice
Ridiculous and ignorant. I'm sorry you had to encounter somebody like that, brigi.
by Vee
I was often asked this question. Didn't worry me. Certainly couldn't see myself asking this questions of anyone, as I couldn't give a rat's ---- who had kids or not.
When asked this, I calmly replied, "Ask my husband." Each time I was asked. They would look embarrassed but it worked; they never asked again! LOL
Ooooooh. *burn* Love it!! Good on you :-)
by Rice
good response!
by brigi
It is ambarassing.
I think that's a tricky one, and it really depends who you're talking to. For close friends, and even colleagues, I think it's okay to probe a little and just get an idea out of interest.

But some people can take offence and question why you want them to have more than the one/lot they have!
No, why would it be?
by Finy
It's human nature to do so but best avoided. When you don't know that person's story your well-intentioned question could trigger distressing emotions for them. Perhaps a different way of asking would be "Do you see yourself having a big family?"
Good one.
by Vee
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