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Ashley Tisdale, Instagram
A newly pregnant Ashley Tisdale opened up about facing “invasive” questions about whether she and her husband would have children after they got married—thereby becoming one more among billions of women throughout time and space whose bodies and marriages have been reduced to childbearing vessels. (Our words, not hers.)
Tisdale first announced her pregnancy in a September 18th post on her blog, Frenshe, adding that her fertility status “has been the question from everyone since I got married” to her husband, Christopher French, in 2014. That's a pretty long time to be plagued by questions, the answers to which are literally none of anyone’s business.
Tisdale wrote, “At first, I rebelled against it, and like clockwork, after I got engaged EVERYONE (and I mean everyone!) asked when I was getting married. Then, once I was married, everyone was asking when I was having kids."
"To be honest, it just felt invasive. I wasn’t ready for that step yet and I wanted to be selfish and have Chris all to myself for a while.”
Tisdale explained that, before now, her mental health wasn’t in the right place “for such a huge life change.” The actor and singer has been open about her mental health journey over the past few years on her blog, her social media channels, and in outlets like PopSugar, where she wrote a personal essay in 2019 addressing her history of panic attacks, anxiety, and depression. In that essay, she also explained that each track on her 2019 album, Symptoms, “is symbolic of a symptom I experienced.”
A post shared by Ashley Tisdale (@ashleytisdale) on Sep 17, 2020 at 8:00am PDT
“As I worked through the creative process of making the album, I wanted to be able to celebrate my journey and not give those feelings—the dark feelings I used to be scared of—too much power,” she wrote.
It’s taken some focused work for Tisdale to feel mentally and emotionally prepared to have a child; and, more generally, for her husband and her to want to upend their lives as they knew it, as she explained in her blog post.
“I’m not naive about how a baby changes everything as I have a niece and plenty of friends with kids,” she wrote. “I’m glad I worked on myself before we decided to make this decision."
"After six years of marriage, we built a strong foundation, and the timing just felt right,” Tisdale wrote.
On Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast in May, Zoë Kravitz also shared her experience fielding questions about her fertility status after she got married. Like Tisdale, Kravitz bristled against expectations about her potential motherhood.
“Usually when you get married or engaged, the first thing people ask you is when you’re gonna have a baby. I think it’s what they ask women, not men. So that’s a little annoying.”
She added, “A lot of people ask the question, ‘When are you gonna have a baby?’ or say things like, ‘When’s the baby?’ and I really get offended by people assuming that’s something that I have to do because society says so.”
Like Tisdale implied, and Kravitz straight-up said, whether a person decides to become a parent or not is an entirely private matter. And while we can’t expect people not to ask the question in the first place, we can commit to (kindly, compassionately) calling them out when they do.