'None of your business': Woman answers when she'll have kids in viral rant
"You don't know who is struggling with infertility or grieving a miscarriage or dealing with health issues"
Curious about when you can expect a grandchild from your son and his new wife? Or if those nice people down the street plan to have another baby? Or why your high school bestie hasn't even started trying for kids yet?
A 33-year-old American woman (and thousands of her supporters online) have a few words of advice:
"Before you ask a single 30-something if/when s/he plans on having children because, you know, clock's ticking ... just stop. Please stop."
Freelance writer Emily Bingham of Ann Arbor, Mich. took to Facebook earlier this month with a much longer version of the message above after having dinner with members of her boyfriend's family.
"Someone had made a joke about grandkids, pointed at me, and it wasn't the first time I'd had somebody make a comment like that," she told The Detroit Free Press during an interview Sunday. "I think I finally felt mad enough about it to say something."
Knowing that pregnancy-related photos tend to attract attention, Bingham decided to vent her frustration on Facebook by posting an ultrasound image she'd found using Google Images.
"Hey everyone!!! Now that I got your attention with this RANDOM ULTRASOUND PHOTO I grabbed from a Google image search, this is just a friendly P.S.A. that people's reproductive and procreative plans and decisions are none of your business," she wrote in the caption of the Sept. 20 image post. "NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS."
Bingham went on to explain that, based on her own experience, questions about starting a family (particularly when they're about why someone hasn't started a family) can be both invasive and hurtful for those who receive them.
"You don't know who is struggling with infertility or grieving a miscarriage or dealing with health issues. You don't know who is having relationship problems or is under a lot of stress or the timing just isn't right," she wrote. "You don't know how your seemingly innocent question might cause someone grief, pain, stress or frustration."
Later, in the comments section of the post, Bingham revealed that her rant was partially inspired by a friend "who had to go through a stressful and heart-wrenching year of fertility treatments before conceiving her son, only to begin fielding 'When's baby No. 2 coming?!' questions within a MONTH of his birth."
Comments left by others both on the post and various reactions to it, suggest that Bingham is far from alone in her stance.
Her original Facebook post alone has now been shared nearly 50,000 times, and the words she wrote continue to spread further thanks to media coverage in the U.S. and the U.K.
'People's reproductive plans are none of your business!' Writer speaks for 30-something women everywhere <a href="http://t.co/GverOh1eLn">http://t.co/GverOh1eLn</a>—@RachelmBuckley
If you read only one thing today, its this epic post from <a href="https://twitter.com/emilybingham">@emilybingham</a> She wins my heart & applause from my uterus: <a href="http://t.co/rwhmTUqMCN">http://t.co/rwhmTUqMCN</a>—@ThisTechGirl
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NoneOfYourBusiness?src=hash">#NoneOfYourBusiness</a> FB post, 100% accurate. I HATED the inquiries. cc: <a href="https://twitter.com/emilybingham">@emilybingham</a> <a href="http://t.co/GJ4JamL4XY">http://t.co/GJ4JamL4XY</a> <a href="http://t.co/uAtkKmuV2m">pic.twitter.com/uAtkKmuV2m</a>—@tobes42
Bingham is one of several woman who've made headlines in recent months for speaking out on the topic of women being pressured to procreate, or what some refer to as "fertility shaming."
English-Canadian actress Kim Cattrall made waves just this month for her comments about motherhood and derision of the term "childless," as did supermodels Tyra Banks and Chrissy Teigen.
Teigen, who says she's been trying to get pregnant for five years, told Banks on their joint talk show FABlife that she takes up particular issue with strangers asking about her family plans.
"Every single time I sit down for an interview with anybody… I will say, just being two years into being married, the questions just come from all over," she said. "It's kind of crazy because I can't imagine being that nosy to be like, 'So, when are the kids coming?' because who knows what somebody's going through."
This sentiment resonated with many people online after Bingham expressed it in her post as well.
"People asking me about my child bearing plans drives me up a tree. Be they my parents or PERFECT STRANGERS, because that happens all too often," wrote one woman on the original post.
"The uterus has powerful magnets that attract unwanted comments," wrote another.
<a href="https://twitter.com/emilybingham">@emilybingham</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/DailyMailUK">@DailyMailUK</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/GMA">@GMA</a> I couldn't agree more! I'm 36, single w/no kids. I cannot stand being asked 'why' as tho it's unnatural.—@Heidi4Zoo
<a href="https://twitter.com/emilybingham">@emilybingham</a> this was one post that touches millions. and it has more underlying societal issues than just when babies. well done you—@hanlon_l
<a href="https://twitter.com/emilybingham">@emilybingham</a> thank you for this. You are spot on. Not ok to ask women such intimate questions. Ever. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/myfertilitymybusiness?src=hash">#myfertilitymybusiness</a>—@JillyMacP
Bingham's post, which can be read in its entirety here, ends with the following words of wisdom for those who simply may not have known that their questions could be hurtful:
"Bottom line: Whether you are a wanna-be grandparent or a well-intentioned friend or family member or a nosy neighbor, it's absolutely none of your business. Ask someone what they're excited about right now. Ask them what the best part of their day was. If a person wants to let you in on something as personal as their plans to have or not have children, they will tell you. If you're curious, just sit back and wait and let them do so by their own choosing, if and when they are ready."