I talk to my Mum every day, when I can. If I miss a day then we end up just having a longer conversation next time. This week we chatted about our weekends, who we saw and what we did. Pretty standard really.
Once I had hung up the phone, I thought more deeply about the conversation I’d just had with her. My Mum had spent her weekend visiting friends who all have kids around my age.
Who all have their own kids.
The emphasis on other people’s children seemed to be the spotlight in the conversation, along with her telling me that another one of the girls is also looking at trying for a baby. Then the conversation extended to their fertility and how there was a clock ticking for this couple.
The pressure to get married and have children is ongoing. You constantly feel that you need an answer to all questions about your personal life choices. The buck doesn’t stop with family and friends either. Recently it has extended to advertisers pitching consumer based products and guilt shaming women about their own personal body clocks. That the choices we didn’t make in our 20’s are now reflective of us being old wrinklies staving the growth of the world population. Along with articles that preach out about women choosing not to go down these paths because their careers are more important.
A general “I don’t want to have children” Or “I don’t want to get married” still doesn’t suffice to those who can’t seem to keep their noses out of other people’s business. These people are the ones ask you, “But why don’t you want to get married?” “Why don’t you want to have children?”. Anyone would think you’ve just bitten the head off a live chicken in front of them by the reaction then received.
Before asking these questions, one good option is to think before opening your mouth. What’s to say that the person you are having the discussion with hasn’t had a termination due to extenuating circumstances, or if in a couple they aren’t financially in a situation that they can foresee making these decisions , or infertility is a key part in why this doesn’t happen. That the response they have just given you is an easier answer than the potentially convoluted option, which would only result in making the person asking the question feel ridiculously uncomfortable.
Recently while out with two girlfriends they began talking about babies. One has been married for just over 18 months and is currently trying to have children, and the other is in her second trimester of pregnancy.
They told me, “ You would make an amazing mother.” Very flattered that I clearly ooze responsibility and a maternal nature. I just smiled. Then out of nowhere my pregnant friend said, “What about your Mum?”
“What about my mum ?” Is it part of our life journey to have babies to ensure our own parents fulfillment at becoming grandparents is achieved?
I for one wouldn’t get knocked up just so my parents could have a new plaything.
When did these answers become something that we need to justify to others?
To make matters worse, my life choices now also need to be backed up by my parents.
I feel for my mum, being one of the only ones among her circle of friends to have two single daughters in their thirties, both unmarried and childless. I know that she would make an outstanding Grandmother and at times I believe she would even be happy if either of us at this stage just came out and said that we were expecting.
But the thing I love most about my mum is that she wants us to be happy more than anything in the world and her acceptance of our lifestyle choices is what makes her a great woman.