“Do you have any children?” this seems like a harmless simple question to ask someone who is married. But really, it may not be as harmless or simple as it seems. You see to most, when you ask this question the response would be “yes” and then the number of children they have. Then there is the other response which is “no.” But normally the feelings or what comes when the answer is “no” is the hard side of the question. I am not saying it is wrong or hateful to ask this question of someone. I just think we should step back and think before we ask this question.
You see to many that are asked this question, the answer is no, but not for lack of trying or wanting children. Some people who have been married for over a year may be trying for a child and God has not seen fit to give them one yet. To others the answer “no” is hard because they went through a miscarriage or have lost a child or multiple children. For some the answer “no” for not having children is difficult because they have been trying for years and for some reason God has not seen fit to allow them to have a child or maybe they are unable to have children. To all three of these couples this question can bring emotions of sadness and frustration. They hurt inside when asked this question and many times do not know how to properly respond. They do not want to upset or offend you by coming out and telling you bluntly what is going on in their lives, but they also want to try to answer honestly. To those who have miscarried or lost a child, in reality yes, they do have a child that one day they will see in heaven but it is not easy to respond to someone and point blank tell them “Well, we have one in heaven.” To those unable to have children or who have tried for a while, it is also not easy to answer and say you have been trying or that you are unable to have children.
Again, I am not saying that if you ask this question you are an awful individual or have done something wrong; I just think as Christians we should be wise and careful with what we ask and say. The truth is, normally, this question is followed up with “Are you planning on having any or are you trying?” which is a very personal question, but also can be hurtful, especially to someone who has been trying to have a child for quite a while. I think as Christians, we should be mindful of what we say and ask of people and I think truthfully, both of these questions should be avoided in general. If someone new comes and visits your church be careful about asking this question. Instead of point blank asking, why don’t you get to know the person and as you talk with them if they have children, more than likely, they will end up mentioning or talking about them at some point. If a missionary or guest preacher comes to your church, first look at their prayer card. If there are no children on the prayer card or display and you do not see any children with them, it would be wise not to ask. Again, talk with the person get to know them and if they do have children that are not with them it will more than likely come up in conversation.
You may be asking yourself what made you want to write this article? Well, as I travel church to church almost always at some point I get asked this question or my wife does. I do not get upset or offended by being asked the question but it does hurt when asked because my wife did have a miscarriage and we do have a child waiting for us one day in heaven. I feel like I am not writing this for my sake, but rather for the sake of others who have gone through loss in their lives or who want a child but cannot have one. I am writing this for those women who get asked this question and then when you walk away or when they get in their vehicle, they cry because of the emotions this question stirs up in them. Once again I will close with this, if you ask these questions I am not condemning you or hating on you, but rather I want to help you understand what many people to whom you ask this question go through. I think as Christians we need to be careful of what we ask of people and be sensitive to what people go through. I want to challenge us to perhaps stop asking these questions and realize that asking these questions can be unintentionally hurtful. Let’s strive to do better and strive to love people and show them the love of Christ!