When Michigan journalist Emily Bingham was asked recently when she and her boyfriend were planning to have a baby together, the 33-year-old said the invasion of her privacy was the last straw after years of being asked similar questions.
The writer took to social media, posting an ultrasound photo that she found in an online image search along with a plea to readers to start being more considerate of others’ personal struggles with infertility and miscarriages.
“This is just a friendly P.S.A. that people's reproductive and procreative plans and decisions are none of your business. NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS,” Bingham wrote in the post. “Before you ask the young married couple that has been together for seemingly forever when they are finally gonna start a family...before you ask the parents of an only-child toddler when a Little Brother or Little Sister will be in the works...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.”
The post quickly went viral — something Bingham said surprised her, but also made her feel that she is “not alone” in her frustrations.
“I’m 33 and I’ve been getting these kinds of questions probably since my mid- to late-twenties, and it’s just kind of grown increasingly frustrating with every instance,” Bingham told TODAY Parents. “I have friends who are having or trying to have children, and a few have struggled with miscarriage or infertility and they’ve told me how painful it can be to be mourning the loss of a pregnancy or to be struggling with infertility privately and then go somewhere and have people pestering them with, ‘When’s’ the baby gonna be here?’ or ‘When are you finally going to start a family?’”
Tamron Hall, Willie Geist and Al Roker discussed Bingham’s post on TODAY on Tuesday, with Tamron sharing that she is often asked about her plans to marry or have children.
“You don’t know what’s going on, and many times, it’s not something that I want to go blurt out to the world — what’s going on with my body or anything else,” she said.
Al shared that he and his wife, Deborah, struggled with infertility themselves, undergoing IVF to get pregnant with their children Nick and Leila.
“We struggled for a long time and people mean well,” he said, “But you’re thinking ‘How about you just shut up?’ or ‘Put a sock in it, OK?’”
Bingham said in addition to the messages she’s received thanking her for her post, she’s also received comments from those who feel guilty for having asked friends these kinds of questions in the past.
“I don’t want to shame anybody or make anybody feel bad, because a lot of us have asked those questions before,” she said. “All I was intending with this post was to ask people to be a little more sensitive — to maybe think before asking or consider if they’re close enough with the person to ask that kind of question.”