Why 'when are you having kids?' is the one question you should NEVER ask a woman

ACTRESS Michelle Keegan has vented her frustration at ­constantly being asked when she will start a family with Mark Wright.

Our Girl star Michelle, 33, is fuming about double standards, as she says former Towie cast member Mark — her hubby of five years — does not suffer the same barrage of questions.

As a 38-year-old woman who has been married for eight years, I feel Michelle’s pain.

I’ve endured years of questioning — not about if but WHEN I will have kids.

The persistent parenting brigade might mean well but I have had a bellyful — not of baby, but of the relentless quizzing over why I am still without child.

And at my age, too. In my twenties, having kids was never on the radar.

I met my husband Jamie at school and after getting back in touch via Facebook, aged 25, our focus was on careers — mine as a writer and his as a firefighter — plus holidays and buying a house together.

As appealing as the Mum and Dad badges might be for some, that life goal dropped to the bottom of our list — and that is where it has stayed.

Completely stumped

We got away with it until friends started having babies.

“It will be your turn next,” they decided, and, “You really don’t know what you are missing”.

Oh, and, “But who will look after you in your old age?” and, “What else will you do with your life if you don’t have kids?”

The grilling was endless. As friends then moved on to their second, third and fourth children, the flurry of questions became a deluge.

Asking a woman in her thirties how she could even consider being child-free became fair game. Shock, horror, but we love our life just the way it is.

Pre-Covid, we had three holidays a year, weekends away on a whim and impromptu nights out without ever having to rush home to the babysitter.

We aren’t tied to the school run, nor are we hell-bent on finding child-friendly holidays.

As for the nightmare that is a soft-play centre, we have thank-fully managed to dodge that one.

It’s assumed by relatives, friends   and acquaintances that I must hate children, or that motherhood is somehow beneath me.

But far from it. Ask any of my mum mates and they will tell you the opposite.

Witnessing them ­experience the joys of parenting is wonderful and I have endless respect for how rewarding, as well as tough, it must be.

I adore my four nieces and ­nephews and I love cuddling a baby as much as the next woman does — as long as I can then hand it back.

Even seeing parents cooing over their newborns in the park near our home in Rugby (Warwicks), or having fun with their toddler at the beach doesn’t cut it.

I just don’t feel ready for ­parenting, and Jamie, who is also 38, feels exactly the same. So there, I said it — it isn’t the life for us. Not now, and perhaps not ever.

We work, we walk our dogs and, for now, we are happy with our lot. Some people might think we’re lacking something, but for us it’s more than enough.

My biological clock is ­ticking, and I do realise there could come a day when the broodiness kicks in, and that I may then have left it too late.

But that still isn’t a good enough reason to go down the parenting path, when neither of us is 100-per-cent sure that it’s actually what we want.

Even friends of friends ask: “Why don’t you want kids?”

But, like Mark Wright, Jamie says he doesn’t ­suffer the same barrage of baby questions.

Or at least not in the same way. If the issue crops up in conversation with mates, he shrugs, tells them it’s not for us, and the chat then moves back to work or whatever.

If only it was as simple as that for me.  So what if I lack ­maternal instinct? Having children isn’t compulsory, especially in 2021, and this is our choice.

I echo Michelle’s words when she talks of the questioning: “I don’t know what they want me to say. I don’t know what the right or wrong answer is.”

Michelle, I’m just completely stumped too.

So please, enough of the quizzing, and leave us both be.

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