“Can I ask you a question, Paula?”
“Why don’t you guys have kids yet?”
I took a deep breath and rolled my eyes inside my head when yet another person asked me the question I’ve been asked for years now, by many different people. Including strangers.
A few years ago, my mother in law ran into an old family friend. They got to talking when she finally asked if my husband and I were still dating. Once my mother in law said that we’ve now been married for a few years, the response she heard was: “Oh how lovely, how many kids do they have now?”
“None” was my mother in law’s response.
The friend suddenly grabbed her hand, looked her in the eyes and said: “Listen, I know a very good doctor, I can get you his number, he’ll be able to help.”
And that’s when my mother in law burst out laughing, saying that we’re currently child-free, by choice.
I know that it’s been a while since I’ve even touched the “girl-talk” category here on the blog, but I kind of felt compelled to write this post. You know, just in case someone out there can relate. And I know, for a fact, that some of you can. I also feel like I just needed to get this off my chest.
After I injured my back in the car accident back in June, I had, once again, someone ask me the question. This time, it was my doctor.
“Do you have kids?”
“No, not yet.”
“Do you want to have kids?”
“Maybe in a few years, I don’t know.”
“Well, then we need to work on getting you better.”
That, to be honest, was a little scary to hear. I couldn’t sleep or focus for the next couple of days, but surprisingly, the fear eventually went away.
I think this is exactly where my problem lies with the whole “you need to have kids, now” thing. I constantly have people tell me how difficult it can be to conceive. People telling me stories about a friend of a friend who went through a menopause at 32. How I will run out of time, or that I simply need to hurry up. It feels almost as if some people close to me, are trying to guilt me into having children, now.
If I’m being honest, even writing this post feels a little scary, because I don’t want to “jinx” anything, even though I’m not a superstitious person. It just frustrates me, to no end, when people automatically assume that I either don’t want to have children or that I hate them. The former, I’m still not sure about. The latter? Well, let’s just say that I’m everyone’s favorite aunt and think that a smell of a newborn baby is one of the most beautiful things in the world.
So no, I don’t hate kids and I’m even slightly obsessed with babies and always want to take them home for the weekend when visiting friends or family members who have newborns. But I also don’t understand why most people don’t get the fact that I’m still deciding whether or not I want to have any of my own.
I hate that I have to explain myself, or that people get pushy, nosy. About a month ago or so, I went to a baby shower and when someone from my family, once again, brought up the “so when is your turn?” question, the entire table looked at me, awaiting my response. I took a big sip of my wine and said: “ahhh, I just love my Pinot Noir a little too much!” and played it off as a joke, while everyone at the table smiled awkwardly and exchanged weird looks. I then thought to myself, what about those women, or families, who are trying and who are struggling to conceive? How would questions and interrogations like these make them feel? Do people even consider those things when asking these questions?
Maybe it’s something that has to do with my culture, as my sister and I are the only women in our family who are over 20 and don’t (yet) have children. Growing up, I was constantly told to fear God. Getting pregnant out-of-wedlock, I believed, would be one of the worst things to happen to me, something I feared through my late teens and early twenties. I remember how terrified I was to tell my Gran that I moved in with my boyfriend, without getting married first. There was just so much fear and some sort of strange religious guilt deeply implanted in me. It was there for years and it’s taken me a very long time to get over those feelings.
I keep telling everyone who burdens me with their opinions and tries to implant that fear in me (this time it’s the fear of “running out of time” or my “biological clock ticking“), that times have changed. If I’m being honest, I’ve also grown to feel extremely anxious before any kind of family gatherings because I know that at one point, someone will bring up these questions.
So, if I were to say one thing, to all of those concerned about my having children, it’s that my uterus is my business.
You know me, I’m all about positive vibes, being mindful and happy and spreading love, but it doesn’t mean I don’t ever get angry, annoyed or plain frustrated. No, I don’t believe that anyone who asks me about having kids does so in order to annoy me or frustrate me (or my husband). I chose to treat those interactions, as a way to allow myself to practice non-judgment. Both toward myself and others. First instinct is always to give in to anger when you have to explain your life-decisions to someone else. But it’s also a perfect opportunity to choose love, instead of giving in to those feelings of fear and anger (which is exactly what we talked about in yesterday’s post).
And hey, if this is something you also experience, which I know a lot of young married couples especially go through, know that you’re not alone. It’s okay to not have your mind made up yet, especially when you’re young and healthy. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.