I am seriously not joking when I say that literally five minutes after our wedding ceremony, with just enough time for me to have a sip of Champagne and take in the fact that we’d just got married, one of my nearest and dearest asked THE question.
‘So will you be trying for a baby, now?’
Well, my first thought was to say, ‘what? right now, yes, why not? Let me go and find my brand-new husband.’ And my second thought was to say ‘actually it’s none of your business,’ but of course, I didn’t say anything like that because I didn’t want to be rude and sarcastic to my lovely, well-meaning aunty. And although I can’t remember my exact words, I’m sure I probably smiled and muttered something that she would have wanted to hear along the lines of ‘yes of course.’
And that my beautiful people is what happens when people try making small talk at weddings.
The pitter patter of tiny feet
I know my aunt meant only nice things when she asked me this. She was being sweet, if not a little too nosey. And I’m sure every single one of us has probably thought the same of other couples too whilst at a wedding, but with only a few actually crossing the line and asking the question.
And I do think it is a bit of a line-crosser of a question, even when it’s expressed with the best intentions. I have seen grooms being patted on the back and quips made about the ‘pitter patter of tiny feet,’ and the ‘no time to waste,’ comments which all basically result in everyone rushing you to jump into the nearest bed and to start procreating NOW!
Although such questions are saddled with innocence and good intentions, they can also be very fully loaded questions which can put couples on the spot and make some couples feel uncomfortable or awkward.
At the time that my aunt asked me THE question, I knew that Simon and I very much wanted to have children. We are both one of five and from very close family units and we knew that having children would be something to look forward to in the future. But at that time it wasn’t something that we were immediately planning.
I was 27, he was 30 and we were living and working abroad in Mexico, having fun and the time of our lives. We didn’t plan on settling in Mexico forever, so in our minds, making plans to start a family were a little way off. That said, had I gotten pregnant at that time, we would have been happy and dealt with our situation, but it wasn’t on the books, especially not five minutes after our ceremony!
However, it really did put me on the spot when my aunt just came out and asked me. I felt a bit caught off guard and didn’t know what to say. I also felt really embarrassed that she was asking me, because let’s face it, asking someone if they are going to try for a baby soon, is basically saying will you be having sex anytime soon with the aim of getting pregnant. Ew! That is not a question I want my dear old aunt to ask me, thank-you-very-much and I would have been even more mortified if a male relative asked as well.
Approach with caution
I personally think that asking couples about their child-making plans is quite a bold thing to do. Do you really need to know? Or can you wait for the couple to share (or not) their own plans? It’s quite presumptuous too. Some couples don’t want children. Some couples can’t have children or may struggle to have children, yet don’t even know it. And some may already have been trying prior to marriage and are facing some struggles along the way. So to be questioned about it on their wedding day, of all days, is not cool. Some couples simply may not have even thought about it and don’t really want to start thinking about it on their wedding day either!
In my own ceremonies, I never ever talk about the idea of the couple having children. EVER. I just don’t think it’s my place to. I don’t say anything that refers to them becoming a family and actually when or if I do talk about a couple becoming a family unit, I am referring to their unit of two, because I very much believe you are a family, whether you have children or not and if you do go on to have children then you are simply adding to your already existing family set-up.
Often, many of my couples (those who don’t have children already!) will make reference to their own wishes to start a family, either during their vows, or through their choice of readings or speeches within the ceremony. But none of this is instigated or asked by me. I simply don’t think it is my business. And a couples’ choice to want to start a family or not, really has no bearing on their actual ceremony, nor is it something that needs to be mentioned if they don’t want it to be mentioned.
And I prefer to hear all about my couples baby news and intentions, after the fact. When the emails of baby scans and newborn photos arrive in my inbox!
We really can’t presume anymore that it is everyone’s wish to become parents and have children or that people will actually ever become parents. Some couples have struggles, some run out of time. And so we should let this subject be a private affair and allow couples to talk about it, when and if they decide to or not.
As for my aunt, she got the proper answer to her question eight years later, when our little boy was born, arriving in the world just at the right time when we were ready to have him!