It’s inevitable. Get married and the next question you’ll hear is: “When are you having kids?” For couples who are struggling to conceive or hold onto a pregnancy, this question drives the knife ever deeper. Here’s how to cope.

You’ll never again ask a couple when they’re having kids because you know, firsthand, how tough and deeply personal that journey can be. So how do you respond to the tactless people that approach you without feeling obligated to explain yourself or your struggles? Let’s take this on a case-by-case basis.

The clueless folks

Some lucky couples have never had a problem trying to get pregnant. One day they decided to have a baby, the next month she was pregnant and the baby was carried to full-term and delivered healthy. Your experience is vastly different. They have no concept of what you’re going through, so don’t try to explain your struggle. Grin and bear it, say little and make your exit ASAP.

The commiserators

Some people have struggled to conceive. But now they’re happily ensconced in family life and want to encourage you that it’ll happen. Be patient -- they have been there and could be a valuable support to you. Just realize that the struggle isn’t quite so fresh in their minds, so don’t aim for a heart-to-heart when they have a toddler tugging on their legs.

The complete stranger

The UPS guy says, “When are you two going to have kids already?” and you find yourself explaining your entire reproductive history on your doorstep. TMI? Definitely. But you win -- he’ll be sorry he asked. And you taught him a valuable lesson that will likely save another woman on his route from enduring the same thoughtless question.

The optimists

You miscarry and someone says, “It wasn't meant to be.” That is one of the worst things to say to a woman who has lost a pregnancy. Feel free to turn around and walk away when you hear this one.

The pessimists

Your last round of IVF didn’t take and someone says, “Don’t you think you should leave this to God?” Rather than say something you’ll later regret, offer this: “Didn’t you know? IVF is like online dating -- it’s the new way to meet your baby.” That should leave them sufficiently befuddled long enough for you to go on your way.

When all else fails…

Get thee to a counselor. The struggle to conceive can be harder for the female half of a couple. You’re the one obsessively counting the days of your cycle and taking your temperature and peeing on a stick. While the man in your partnership is undoubtedly invested, this is your body and your mind. If you’re driving yourself crazy trying to get pregnant, find an impartial third party to talk to so you can take the heat off of yourself (and restrain yourself from lashing out at innocent folks.)

More about trying to conceive

Natural ways to combat infertility
So, you need a sperm donor
Secondary infertility struggles

Topics: family planning