When you're single and of a certain age, you are hounded by the nagging questions of people asking you why you are still single. Then, after years of people implying that you are not good enough on your own, that you must become part of a unit and justify your post-adolescent existence, you get married and are hounded by a whole new breed of nagging questions. When are you going to have children? Do you know your eggs start dying by the time you turn 30? Are you aware that every year you wait to get pregnant, the harder it will be for you?
Well, here's my answer. I'm married and my husband and I have no intentions of having children anytime soon. Or possibly at all.
I never understood why anyone would take so much interest in other people's breeding schedules.
Being that I am still a newly-wed and have just moved to a new city, I am in no rush to have a kid. This is an unacceptable answer to a lot of people. The constant reminders that your clock is ticking and that you don't want to be confused for your child's grandparents when they grow up are not making us move any faster. Having children is a big responsibility. So big that up until the moment you say your "I dos," family members, television shows, movies, books, and the department of education are all telling you how scary and life changing getting pregnant can be.
You are constantly told horror stories of 16-year-olds getting pregnant and ruining their lives. Stories of having to give up your own life in order to take care of your child's. Unnerving tales of going broke, your boyfriend going out for smokes and never coming back, and your body changing forever. And then you get married and everyone who said how scary, terrible, life changing, reckless, and irresponsible it was for you to have a child essentially winks at you, and tells you that there's nothing to worry about. That it's amazing. But the problem is, that when you're in your 20s, it was only a few years ago that these horror stories were as ubiquitous as Starbucks. Young women are constantly in turmoil, fighting between the biological and evolutionary feelings that we want to mate, breed, and protect a child, and the abhorrent repercussions of having a child that we were lead to believe for the better part of our lives. Not to mention your currently financial situation, and whether or not you feel you and your spouse are indeed ready for the responsibility.
Overall, it's scary. It's a lot to take in, and the change of tone that comes from everyone around you is, for lack of a better word, confusing. It's as if someone came up to you one day and said, "Hey, I know we said cigarettes can give you cancer, but actually, they're the best thing that's ever happened to you." Now don't get me wrong, I'm not comparing becoming pregnant to being diagnosed with cancer. I'm saying that the amount of time people spent drilling "Do Not Smoke," and "Do Not Become An Unwed Mother" into my head have been equal. It takes some time to get used to feeling like the stick turning pink is something to celebrate, not something to be ashamed of.
Having said this, I really hope that one day I am ready for the immense responsibility of having a child. Everyone around me, who has a child, seems amazingly happy. Because of that, I do feel hopeful that when it does happen for me, it will be fantastic. But for now, it's not in the cards. It doesn't make me less of a person for not being a mother, or pathetic, or someone who's wasting their child bearing years. It just makes me, me.