"Do you guys want children?" they casually ask, their heads slightly tilted to the side.
This isn’t your old bigoted aunt you thankfully only see at Christmas. These are your friends, your family, your colleagues.
They mean well and don’t want to be nosy, they’re just curious.
Watch: Things people who don't want kids always hear. Post continues below.
When you are of prime childbearing age, your ovaries have been diligently releasing an egg each month for 20 years, you have a long-term partner who has good enough arms to push a pram and you're earning six figures, people often wonder (out loud) why the hell you haven’t gotten to it yet.
"Nah," you shrug.
Maybe this will be enough, maybe we will all move on to something else swiftly. More often than not however, you’re up for some explaining.
When you are not bluntly asked, "Oh, why not?" with raised eyebrows, the awkward silence that follows makes you feel obligated to explain.
Elaborate, please. Is it the freedom, the work, the money, the responsibility? Is it that you don’t like them? There must be a clear answer.
If you had said "Yes", you would have been asked a few follow-up questions, often filled with anticipatory glee for your future babies.
When? How many? Boys or girls? How far apart? One question you would never hear is, "Why?"
Listen to The Quicky, Mamamia's daily news podcast. Post continues below. I'm child free by choice. Why do so many people have a problem with it?
In this overpopulated, polluted, terrorism and pandemic-stricken world we live in, it seems like a very valid question to ask, yet there is a silent universal agreement that having kids is what is expected, even in our Western cultures where individualism has become predominant.