My first ever column for The Advertiser was accompanied by the headline DON’T ASK ME ABOUT BABIES.

At the time I was a little fed up with being put on the spot about when my boyfriend and I were going to start a family.

As I said back then, and I’ll re-enforce now, it’s none of anyone’s business to ask this and why can’t people be a little more thoughtful in case those you’re turning the interrogation light on, may not in fact be able to conceive.

It seems staggeringly simple to me.

An interestingly angle on this issue popped up in my close-knit circle of friends recently.  We’ll call my friend Sarah for privacy, who has long had it in her head that when she ‘grew up’ she never wanted to become what she saw as ‘the suburban dream’.    Meaning she wanted to create a career life for herself rather than settling down and just raising the kids.

We all have our thing, and for her, avoiding what she never aspired to be, was something she was committed to.

I sensed that she was a little ‘raw’ a couple of years back when I accidently suggested that she needed to find a little more work, life balance.  She snapped back dramatically ‘oh seriously, not you as well?’

I soon sensed what she really meant was everyone was hasselling her to pull back on her career in order to start a family.  Or at least that was her take.

When she told me she was pregnant a couple of months ago, in the most round about of ways god love her, she then warned ‘I don’t really want to talk about it just yet.  I’m still getting my head around the whole thing.’

As you may have suspected, it wasn’t a planned thing.  A little divine intervention I’d say and I have no doubts at all that despite her reservations, she will be a really beautiful mother.

But it has been funny at times, and a bit uncomfortable as well to witness this chapter unfold.  The uncomfortable, not knowing when to mention it, and the funny beginning with our trip last weekend to a store called MOTHERCARE.

Like two fish out of water, we headed in to find some sort of bra that was going to hold her now E-cup breasts in.  Leading the way, my friend wafted past the Maternity wear and grumbled ‘See? See, what they expect you to wear?’

Then while we both stood in front of a sea of bras and knickers, that to the untrained maternal eye, looked about as confusing as being handed a model aero plane set and being expected to know what to do next.

Thank goodness for the Mothercare assistant who explained the 400 options of what each can do for your boobs although it was a little overwhelming, and don’t get me started on the knickers.

That night we head off to dinner with old friends, and literally within minutes of our bums hitting the leather booth seats, Mr. Friend shouts across to Sarah, ‘so what’s happening, when are you guys starting a family?’

Now although you’d think that once you’re safely pregnant, this question from a friend might be ok, but actually, now it was worse, because actually here again was this ‘type’, and here she was now having to pretend that she was all gushing and glowing about impending motherhood.

Suppressing her frown and flush, she volleyed back, ‘actually I am pregnant, but I’m still working through the transition in my head.  It’s not something we planned.’  Pin drop anyone? Mrs. Friend, a mother of three, could no longer look at Sarah whilst squirming in her seat.

However it’s not difficult, just because we’re women doesn’t mean we’re all instantly maternal. It’s seems to be ‘normal’ for blokes to struggle with the baby bond sometimes, but if you’re a woman?  No deal.   And it certainly doesn’t mean my friend and others won’t make sensational mothers.  It just means the fear of losing a life that you love, can slow the transition into loving and embracing your new one, before it comes along.


  1. i have to agree the question “do you have children” is one of the first to be asked or “when are you having children”, it really is no one’s business and previously i would just reply no we don’t have children just the dogs – not anymore i tell the truth ” i cannot have children, ivf didn’t work and i fell pregnant once naturally but that was ectopic and burst nearly killing me”. That does shut them up and perhaps they will think twice before asking the question again and upsetting someone, once that is said it’s “oh i am sorry” pretty much end of conversationf and they find an excuse to move on. On the other hand people should also understand that maternal instict does not exist in every one, i have had many a friend who has fallen pregnant and have the same feeling as your friend, they have made wonderful mothers and could not understand what they really did agonise about. Those that have these feeling generally don’t interact very much with babies as they grow up and may go to the part of the reason that they have these concerns. Remember all we are all different the includes the way we deal with falling pregnanant, and those of you that ask the “any kids” question all the time, remember just because you have children and can get pregnant it is not the same for all, and quite honestly it really does bring up the pain you experience.

    • Thank you Julie!!!!!! I just find it so ignorant of people not to think about the consequences of those questions? Imagine if all other personal questions were a free for all. Like “hey how’s your sex life? Are you having it regularly since you’ve been married and had kids?” Or “we saw our grand parents today, how are yours?” You wouldn’t say those things because CLEARLY it’s embarrassing and making assumptions that just because all that may be in your life is of course going to be another’s. I think a lot of it is based a bit of smugness in that it’s convenient to talk about YOUR achievements but everyone has achievements and you don’t presume that everyone wants the same? I certainly don’t. I don’t go around asking stay at home mother’s “how’s your career going? What are you doing outside of parenting?” I’m sorry for your situation, that must have, still…be hard. THANK YOU.X

  2. Thanks for your article, Amber! 100% agree – since I got married four years ago the questions never stop, even though we’ve chosen not to have kids. I think the important thing is to respect everyone’s choices – happily, most people do seem to!

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