The Washington Post

How to answer clueless questions about your childless marriage


Dear Amy: My husband and I have been together for 10 years (married for three years), and we are each soon to turn 30 years old. My husband has made some personal choices that probably have prevented us from becoming pregnant.

At work and in my personal life, I frequently get asked, “So when are you finally going to have kids?” and “When are you going to give me some grandbabie­s?”

To be honest, not yet becoming pregnant has been one of the toughest feelings I have ever had to deal with. I want it more than anything, so these comments are difficult.

I don’t want to make conversati­ons awkward or put anyone in their place, but I’m tired of saying “We will see” and forcing a smile. Do you have any advice? Judged and Sad

Judged and Sad: Granted, this is an extremely tough and painful topic for you, but you have signed your question “Judged and Sad,” and thus seem to be interpreti­ng these intrusive queries as judgments of some kind regarding your current childless status.

You also lob a bombshell aimed at your husband, regarding “personal choices” he has made, which you believe are affecting your ability to get pregnant.

Yes, you are hurting badly. I cannot imagine that any person — regardless of their relationsh­ip or fertility status — would actually welcome a query about something as personal as pregnancy. Why do people ask? In the history of the world, has this question ever been greeted with, “Wow — I’m so glad you asked me about that! I’ve been dying to discuss my birth control choices and fertility issues with a client/co-worker/mother-in-law.”

I suggest that you arm yourself with a no-nonsense but polite answer: “I can tell you’re curious about this, but I don’t want to discuss it. Thank you for understand­ing.”

You should also arm yourself with accurate medical informatio­n, research your options (such as IVF, adoption or surrogacy), and take a very deep breath and simply try to be patient with yourself and others.

You and your husband should sit down with a therapist. You may need more profession­al coaching to navigate your personal and family relationsh­ips.

Amy’s column appears seven days a week at washington­

Write to askamy@amydickins­ or Amy Dickinson, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, N.Y. 13068. You can also follow her @askingamy.

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