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I’ve Never Thought About It

As a group, we have well-covered our eternal pet peeve: variations on the “are you going to have children” question.  Either you are trying and the question is salt in the wound, or you have stopped family building and the question asker seems unable to accept your answer.  It is really really really annoying to get that question — I KNOW — but I still need to vent about this answer:

The celebrity who states that they don’t know because “they haven’t thought about it.”


You’re 42 years old, but the idea of children has never crossed your mind?  You know what has never crossed my mind until this moment while trying to think up an example?  biathlon.  No one has ever asked me whether or not I plan on taking up biathlon in this lifetime, so I’ve never thought about it.

(The answer, by the way, is no, since I have thought about it in writing out this question.)

But saying that it hadn’t even occurred to the person whether or not they want to have kids is disingenuous because EVERYONE ASKS THAT QUESTION.  And pretending they don’t makes people believe they’re posing an original thought.  Has Melissa ever considered children?  I’m sure she hasn’t.  Let’s ask her so she doesn’t forget to consider this enormous idea.

I encounter this “never thought about it” answer at least once in every issue of People magazine.  People asks the celebrity if they’re planning on having children, and the celebrity answers, “Oh… wow… I don’t know.  I’ve never thought about it.  I guess we’ll have to see if it happens because I have zero clue how one goes about building a family.  And now I need to forget you even asked this question in order to reset so I can state that I’ve never thought about it the next time an interviewer poses this question.”

It would be great if the celebrity said, “That question has nothing to do with my work on the screen, so I’m going to refrain from giving an answer.”  Or, “Yes, we’re trying but we’re having a really hard time with family building.”  Or, “You know, we thought about it and we decided we didn’t want to parent.”  Or, “We tried to build a family and it didn’t work out, so now we’re doing this project instead.”  Anything EXCEPT: “Huh… I haven’t thought about babies.  Ever.”

You’ve thought about it, liar.  You know how I know that you’ve thought about it?  Because everyone asks you that freakin’ questions ALL THE TIME.  And then it becomes like that thought experiment where you’re told not to think about the elephant.  All you can do is think about the elephant because other people keep bringing it up.

Everyone, please stop asking this question.  I promise you, no one has ever hit the end of their life and thought, “Oh crap, I wish someone had brought it up because I never considered the subject.”


1 TasIVFer { 06.27.17 at 7:35 am }

I may have thought about it because I’m asked constantly – and exhausted me. If ‘I never thought about it’ is an easier answer for me to give someone who doesn’t to have the right to ask me to split my heart in two, then Ill give it. It shuts them up faster than the truth, and they don’t own me.

2 Beth { 06.27.17 at 7:48 am }

Although I don’t appreciate the lying, I get it. It’s really not anyone’s business.

And yet… There was a former pro athlete recently who’s wife had twins. He shared they had tried for years and “prayer works.” Well I call bs on that answer. You tried for years and had twins. We know what’s up and if you don’t want to share, good for you. It’s absolutely none of my business. But don’t lie. It’s insulting to those of us who have prayed earnestly for a miracle (or still are praying) when you claim prayer alone gave you twins.

On the flip side, I reconnected a few years ago via fb (which I no longer use, go figure) with a college acquaintance who was really open about using IVF twice. At some point I commented in a way that made her point out I must have used it too and had never “fessed up.” As though I owed it to my college acquaintance and others via fb to share. That really upset me, as though I was being caught in a lie when I know I’m just choosing to keep things private. I choose not to share but don’t lie.

Coming from there, I get why celebs don’t want to share.

So that is all to say, I don’t like the lying. Just say nothing.

3 a { 06.27.17 at 7:53 am }

Well, that doesn’t factor in the enormous narcissistic tendencies of some celebrities – it may actually be true that they’ve never thought about it because that would require thinking about something other than themselves. 😀

4 Working mom of 2 { 06.27.17 at 9:19 am }

I saw that bit in People too. I guess my take on it is that they are trying to deflect the question. I don’t think just bc they’re a celeb that they owe the public info on their family building plans/efforts.

Ha, I actually saw this Q in a positive light once I had my first kid. I had her at 42, so very self-conscious. I remember being asked in an elevator at work if we were planning on having a second. We were, but since it wasn’t guaranteed, I gave some noncommittal answer. But inside I was flattered that the person thought I looked young enough to have another.

5 Jess { 06.27.17 at 10:52 am }

To me it seems like a pat answer to deflect interest in family building, but yeah, totally disingenuous. Who the heck “hasn’t thought about it,” ever? I have been super irritated at People magazine lately (which has always been baby and pregnancy obsessed, but is also my guilty pleasure, so that’s interesting). Their coverage of Hoda’s adoption filled me with fury for how incredibly simple and easy they made it seem to adopt, especially in your early 50s. Oh, someone just calls you and says “she’s here” and you go pick up the baby and everything is amazing, no mention of waiting or profile calls not chosen for or birthfamilies or anything? Huh. Fascinating. The world of celebrities is on such a different plane than reality.

6 Lori Lavender Luz { 06.27.17 at 11:39 am }

I like your answers much better.

And I, too, wish the question would not be asked. Remember when Jennifer Aniston was on SNL in a skit where the paparazzi were asking when she and Brad were gonna have a baby? She turned it around by making fun of them but I always wondered what impact it had on her.

7 Sharon { 06.27.17 at 12:46 pm }

Well. . . at the risk of being contrary. . . if you are a big-time celebrity and living the lifestyle that goes along with that fame and wealth, maybe you really haven’t stopped to consider whether you would like children. I mean, I would find that answer completely unbelievable from the average person — because, as you say, it’s a big question that is asked often — but if your focus is completely on other things that are far-removed from a “normal” life and family, like traveling to places all over the world because you’re either touring (musicians) or filming movies (actors), maybe you don’t think about it.

8 nicoleandmaggie { 06.27.17 at 1:12 pm }

I am perfectly happy to allow them to say they haven’t thought about instead of, “it’s none of your g-d business” because the former lets them move on and the latter ends up with a nasty op-ed instead of a puff piece. There’s nothing about being an actress that makes your fertility choices required public knowledge.

So, yes, I agree that people should stop asking that question, but I also don’t think the women in question need answer it honestly because if they do, that will distract even more from whatever movie it is they’re trying to promote. Sort of like answering questions about your engagement ring at a job interview. Not relevant and potentially detrimental to your career.

9 Jivf { 06.27.17 at 8:02 pm }

There are some things that terrify me which I purposely choose to keep packed up in the back of my mind and never think about. Sure, it may have come up but I’ve never fully explored my thoughts on those matters because I don’t want to.

To us building families been ingrained in our very being and we spend our entire mind body and soul trying to accomplish that goal so we can’t possibly know what it’s like to not even think about it ever. I agree with most people who commented that “I haven’t thought about it” is likely a canned answer meant to deflect. But I’m also wiling to believe that their career just took front and center without interest for or thoughts of children at all.

10 torthuil { 06.27.17 at 10:40 pm }

I can think of a few things in life l deal with by not thinking about them. It’s actually a good strategy. I agree with you though; hard to believe anyone just hasn’t thought about having kids.

11 dubliner in deutschland { 06.29.17 at 4:27 am }

ha, that is so true! That answer is so ridiculous. How can someone not ever think about it. It reminds me a little of the “have you thought about adoption?” comment that infertile get as if it’s something we never heard of before whereas of course a couple will have considered it and probably already decided whether it might be right for them or not.

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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