Everyone expects me to have kids. How do I handle the pressure?

Parents, in-laws, sisters, friends and workmates … even people you’ve only just met. Sometimes it seems like they’re all asking the same thing: “When are you having kids?”.

The questions are innocent and often well intended, but they’re still awkward, unwelcome and sometimes painful. Because whether you’re trying or not, the fact is you can’t guarantee when (or even if) a baby will come along. And if you’ve been trying without success, the questions make a tough situation worse.

Remember, it’s personal

When, or whether, you have kids is a decision for you and your partner. It’s a big decision, and one you need to be completely comfortable with. And if you’re having trouble conceiving, the constant questions can add another layer of stress you don’t need. Try not to let other people’s agendas influence or upset you – whether it’s a keen grandparent-to-be, a nosy neighbour or an over-enthusiastic friend. At the end of the day, their expectations are not your problem.

Be prepared for the inquisition!

While people don’t have a right to know about your fertility journey, it won’t stop them asking, or offering well-meaning (but usually unwanted) advice. If someone brings up the subject, it’s best to prepare ahead of time how you might deal with it. Our counsellors recommend keeping a stockpile of responses up your sleeve. That way it’s just a matter of deciding what to say to who.

Just remember that there will be many people (usually family and close friends) who genuinely care. They may not even realise they’re putting pressure on you. In these instances, it can help to just explain where you’re at, and what they can do to support you.

And, if you find yourself feeling really alone and unable to talk to anyone, a bit of professional support can go a long way.

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