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5 things you should never say to a childless woman
No Caption - photo by Karen Banes
There are many reasons a woman might not have started her family yet. They range from infertility, to not feeling ready, to having serious issues in her relationship with her husband.

None of these things are made easier by enduring questions or comments about her childless state. While few people will come straight out and ask why arent you pregnant yet?, there are a several questions and comments that are considered reasonable, and just as many reasons why you just shouldnt go there.

These five questions and statements are definitely among the things you should never say to a childless women:

Are you trying?

Does this even really need saying? Other peoples plans for procreating are not your business. Their sex life is certainly not your business. But this question still gets asked a lot. Maybe it is well-intended, but it has to be one of the most awkward questions to answer. For a start, it does feel like people are actually prying into your intimate relationship with your spouse.

It can also be upsetting and frustrating for a couple who very much want to conceive, but havent done so yet. In that case, the question 'are you trying?' often sounds a little like, 'are you failing?'. And what if theres conflict in the relationship because one partner feels ready for a baby and the other doesnt? This question just adds fuel to the fire.

Youd better not leave it too long

Its actually a bit of a myth that were all rapidly running out of time to have a baby. Many women have healthy babies well into their thirties and even in their forties. Many couples are marrying later and focusing on building their careers and financial stability before actively trying to conceive. In spite of this, many women still feel the pressure of their own biological clock, and they probably dont need you to remind them of it.

This question is a thinly veiled urge to hurry up and get pregnant, already, and again, can be hurtful to the woman who has been unsuccessful in her attempt to conceive.

Theres still time

Youre right. There probably is, but this platitude is generally offered when its well-known that the couple would like a baby, but dont have one yet. In this situation, telling someone theres still time is like telling an angry person they should calm down. The statement is true, but also unhelpful and a little patronizing.

Youre better off without them

If someone desperately wants a child, there are few things worse than people who already have kids, suggesting that theyre somehow mistaken or deluded in their desires.

If they dont want children, they have already decided that for themselves, but the reasons may be complicated or even tragic (such as a highly hereditary disease or condition they dont want to pass on).

Theres never a good reason to tell someone theyre better off without children. Want one of mine? falls into the same category. Just dont.

My cousin/friend/daughter got pregnant by doing yoga/going on a real food diet/praying for a baby

This is another type of comment thats sometimes offered when its common knowledge that a couple is actively trying to start a family. If someone actually asks you for advice that will help them improve their chances of conception, by all means tell them what you know. Dont present anything as a sure thing, because theres no such thing. But if you genuinely know of some health or lifestyle tip that might support their efforts to get pregnant, offer it.

But if they dont ask, dont offer. Chances are theyve done their research, and are doing whatever they can to make this pregnancy happen.

The best thing to do for your childless friends? Be there for them. Listen, if they want to talk about their situation. Offer support and comfort and friendship. Just dont offer empty platitudes or unsolicited advice.
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