While uncomfortable questions about having children are almost unavoidable from friends, family, and coworkers after you tie the knot, you can respond in a manner that is both polite, straightforward, and doesn't give too much detail if you prefer not to provide it. Relationship expert Jennifer Styers provides tactful tips for responding to these top inquiries about kids. Here are the top questions you're likely to receive.
1. When can we expect a baby on the way?
While having children may have been the No. 1 priority in generations past, younger couples today are focusing on higher education and waiting a bit longer to have children. "It's important to remember that every couple is different," she says. No matter what each couple's individual plan is, pressing on the topic of children may cause tension and stress.
2. Will you be quitting your job or cutting back hours once you have a baby?
Work options after children can vary as much as the timeframe in which a couple chooses to have them. "This is a very personal decision, and I have found that many mothers do not even know what their preferences are until they have their babies," Styers says. It's not a choice women need to make right away before they have a baby, she adds.
3. Don't you think you'll regret not having kids?
"This is something we're seeing a rise of in younger generations," Styers says. Plus, she says career changes can also influence whether or not a couple has space in their lives for a child. And while it's possible that couples may change their minds down the road, "We have to assume that our partner is not going to change his or her mind on how they feel the day they say, 'I do,'" she says. No matter what a newlywed couple ends up deciding, it's most important that both spouses are on the same page.
Questions about babies on the way, the raising of children after they're born, and whether or not to have children at all will inevitably come from the extended family once couples are married, Styers says. However, "We have to remember that the questions come from a place of excitement and joy and assume the family is not trying to interfere or change the couples' plans for their family," she adds.
Newlyweds must establish their voice as a couple once they're married. "Establishing your boundaries with your extended family as to how you're going to live your life, your family plans, your jobs, or anything else that you will come across now, or in the future, is very important to do from the very beginning," Styers says. Then, sit down with your extended family and let everyone know what your plans are—no matter if you plan to start a family now, want to wait, or have decided that children aren't part of the plan. "We can absolutely address them in a loving way, remembering that our [family is] just excited about our new marriage," she says.