Photo of a drunken me seeing a baby by Aimee Claire Photography
Your life is your life, and in the same way that you choose what kind of wedding you want to have, what themed party you should go with, and who you want to marry, you are met with choices that help to define who you are and your direction in life. You are also met with people who might stand in the way of those choices – whether it be for religious, spiritual, traditional, or just for opinionated reasons. The beauty of life is that you aren’t really sure where the journey will take you.
The journey of life also relates to when or if you have children. You can have kids before you get married, and you can have kids after you get married. You can choose not to have them, have them right away or wait a couple of years. You can choose your partner or donor, or you might be surprised with your pregnancy and then you have an entirely different choice to make.
The point that I am trying to make is that things aren’t black and white, so the idea of having children as soon as you have a partner isn’t black and white either. Bombarding a couple with questions of “when are you going to have kids?” may seem like you are just trying to be positive, but is not appropriate at any time and is just as inappropriate as asking your single niece why she doesn’t have a husband yet.
It’s uncomfortable, and frankly none of your business.
So for those of you who are the ones begging for children to enter your life, this is my confession to you, and a peak behind the curtain into why getting married doesn’t necessarily equate having children straight away. You might not agree with me, and that is fine, but I want you to know that we aren’t in the 18th Century and making heirs to the throne.
I do want kids
Don’t get me wrong; I definitely want to have kids someday. I always thought I would be a Sarah Connors of the Terminator series; raising a child that would one day grow up to save (or, you know, simply benefit) the world in some way. I know what name I’m going to give my child, what my stance is on raising them, and I speak with my husband often about children so it’s no secret that kids have always been on the cards for us.
However, just because I do want kids, it doesn’t mean I am going to have one now.
I’m terrified of telling you that I might not be able to
I haven’t really told anyone this before, but I was always terrified that I would never be able to have children, because children were always a part of the future I would dream up for myself. I always worried if I skipped a period that something was wrong and I still worry that one day I might not be able to have a child with my husband. So when people ask me when I am going to have kids, it fills me with terror that one day I might have to tell them that I won’t be able to, or that there’s something wrong with me.
The thing is though, there is nothing wrong with me because I don’t have kids right now. And it’s not wrong of me if I can’t have kids in the future. There are options out there, but there’s nothing like facing your own mortality whenever someone cheerfully asks you where your child is.
I’m living for me right now
Pretty much everyone I know from high school has two or three kids by now, and a lot of other twenty something ladies can relate to this. Their social media accounts are filled with only photos of their children, and their status’ involve parenting questions that I can’t relate to.
For the most part, it is expected that when you can’t relate to someone anymore you do drift apart. That’s fine, and it’s expected in life. Having children young was their choice, and I don’t begrudge them because people should be free to make their own choices, but not having children right now is also my choice, and that also needs to be respected.
It just so happens that the few friends I have from high school who don’t have children are still my close friends today. They share my common interests, are married and are travelling the world. They have live amazing lives because right now they can live it for themselves.
This is what I want to do. My husband and I have made a pact to travel somewhere new and exotic every year, and so far we’ve climbed the Inca Trail in Peru, gotten lost in the desert in Chile, partied in Thailand, swam under waterfalls in Bali, ate strawberries in Malaysia, driven around islands in Hawaii and gone to countless other magical places. We are constantly planning our next adventures, and having a great time doing it. We’re young, healthy, in love and living our lives for ourselves as much as we can. We’re not trying to be selfish about it, we’re just trying to do our best.
But don’t get me wrong – we’re also planning for our future with our kids, such as deciding where we want to live when we have them and how we would want them to grow.
But that is our future. When a certain someone I know with a child demanded, “when are you having a kid so my kid has someone to play with?” I say, “Honey you are in your thirties. No offense, because I know that’s only five years away for me, but what we’re you doing when you were twenty-five? I know for a fact it wasn’t breastfeeding.” People who are thirty and upwards aren’t necessarily having kids yet either and can still be found at 3am in a nightclub – so why do you always ask where my bun in the oven is? Is it just because I’m married?
Photo by Aimee Claire Photography
Yes I’m married, so what?
Every young married couple I have ever asked gets the same questions about when they are having kids. It’s just assumed that if you get married young you are either pregnant or wanting to get pregnant right away. Maybe they don’t want to have kids right now, maybe they are looking to have them soon or maybe they don’t them at all. It’s no one else’s business but their own, so stop asking. Maybe they just got married because they love each other, did you ever think of that?
People who aren’t even married are getting the same pregnancy pressures put on them, but they are also getting the marriage pressures too. Newsflash: you really don’t need to know when I want to have a baby, even if you are dying for grandchildren. You also don’t need to know if my choice is to never get married. It’s my choice and that’s what matters.
Your priorities changed, but mine didn’t
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all “you’re pregnant so I’m done with you!” but something that you come to notice are the changes that are made in their attitudes and the lives of those closest to them.
Suddenly everything is about the child, and that’s totally understandable!
It’s your child, and your grandchild and I get that this is important to you – especially when it’s the first one in the family. But the sudden change in your attitude and focus doesn’t mean that I also have changed my attitude and focus. Just because your child is the most important thing in your life, doesn’t mean that it’s the most important thing in mine.
The most important things in my life are my husband and my dog. They are my own little family that I have made, and I don’t expect you to call up or text me to wish my dog a happy birthday, even though I love him like he was my child. I get that he’s not as important to you as your human child, and that’s fair, but he is more important to me than your child and you need to live with the fact that these feelings are true, no matter how many babies you try and get me to hold.
Besides, I totally get that even when we have kids, your priorities will still be to your own family. That’s cool and I get it – I don’t expect you to come round every day to play with my child and you shouldn’t expect it of me now.
I’ve made my choice, so stop asking!
When I was born, my two-year old brother apparently came into the nursery, looked down into the cot at his little sister, said “very nice,” and went back to play with his toy cars. This two-year old’s reaction is pretty solid, and actually pretty much all you will get from me if you try and present me with a baby and expect to sigh over its little tiny shoes.
I once heard a phrase from someone in a similar situation as me, and they said, “they all look like Bert Newton to me.” It’s great that they were born safely and I tip my hat to mothers everywhere because childbirth is a wondrous feat of amazing women power and strength. I get that people care, and that’s fine. But in the same way you should respect other people’s stances and viewpoints of their beliefs, religions, sexualities and other genetic makeup, you should also respect my decision NOT to give you a card that says, “Hooray! Something came out of you that wasn’t the alien from Alien!”
Because if I did, that would be more insensitive than not giving you a card at all. Let’s face it, I will congratulate you for your valiant efforts, but I probably won’t be very fun at the baby part of the baby shower (though I’ll be great fun drinking the champagne for you!)
I get that my viewpoint might get criticised, and I’m not trying to say anything bad about mothers. You guys are awesome and have done an amazing job and bringing something special into the world. I am just merely trying to point out that my uterus is no one else’s concern but my own, and yours is of no business or concern of mine.
Your choices are your choices, and mine are mine.
In conclusion, you should be free to choose what you want to do regarding having children, and that getting married doesn’t mean that you are going to start popping them out right away. Let’s just agree to get our noses out of each other’s private parts, stop asking about how far along mine will be, and decide that getting a dog is probably the superior choice in this decision.