I went to the doctor today, not for any thing serious, mostly just for a general check up. I had to go during work hours because my doctor works short hours, so of course my colleagues knew I was going to see the doctor. That didn’t bother me, I had nothing to hide. What bothered me was the instant conclusion that they all seemed to jump to. “Oh, went to see the Dr hey, not pregnant are you?!” Whilst it was mostly said in fun (my work place like to have inappropriate banter often), it still p!ssed me off. If I was a 28 year old male, this wouldn’t even have been a thought (obvsiously). But because I’m a 28 year old female, in a long term relationship, it’s an instant go to. Whenever I may be feeling a little off, or I innocently say ‘I’m craving chocolate’, everyone has the same thought. Most the time I’m sure it’s kept to just that, a thought, but sometimes you get that idiot who says it out loud.
Now I will admit that I will do this to my friends as well. But mostly I do it to people who I know want children or are at that stage where it is actually very possible they could be with child any day now. Most people who know me, know that I’m not even close to that stage in my life. I love my partner and know it’s real, but I am not yet ready to entertain the idea of bringing another life into this world. So when people know this is how I feel, I find it rude and annoying that they think it’s okay to automatically assume that my slight tiredness is the result of a baby growing in my belly. I feel I’m constantly having to defend my annoyance when people bring it up. I’m clearly at that age where having a baby is the only thing I should be thinking about.. well guess what, it’s not. I love my life, I love my job, I love a little wine between friends. I’m not yet ready to swap all of that for nappies, dummies and 2am feeds.
This may be tabu, but i’m going to say it anyway… I’m too selfish to have a child right now. I don’t think that makes me a bad person, infact I think it makes me a better ‘one day parent’. I have seen what happens when people have children too young or when they aren’t ready and the effect it has on said child. Seeing a parent resent their choice to have children or watching parents constently palm their kids off to the grand parents because they want to keep living like they were childless is awful. I don’t want to do that to my child. I want to give my all when the time comes. I want to want to stop working and stop having nights out because I know I have the most amazing thing that ever happened to me at home. I just don’t feel like I’m there yet but I feel like socitey sees this as a bad thing. The pressure that is placed on females in their 20’s, early 30’s is unbelievable. We don’t live in the 50s anymore where women were born to marry and have babies and that is it. Some women want a career and to travel and to go out in to dinner with just their partner. This doesn’t make them awful people. Neither does wanting children and I am not saying that. Some people are born to be parents and that is what the world needs. And I am also very aware that having children doesn’t make your life stop. I know you can go out and still do things, include travel but you have to admit, you are more limited with your options. I just don’t think it’s fair to judge and question my thoughts on having children just because ‘it’s my god given right’.
This isn’t to say that I don’t LOVE children. I have a newish (4 months old) nephew who I love with all my heart. I genuinely miss him when we don’t see him. I have another friend who is close to making this amazing life decision to have a baby and I couldn’t be happier for her – she is definitely one of my friends who I ‘pester’ about being pregnant often! These people have made that choice and are ready and I take my hat off to them. Because they have a baby (or will soon) doesn’t mean I won’t love them any less or want them in my life any less. It just means our friendship will change and grow. I also feel a huge amount of empathy for people who struggle with having a baby. Wanting something so badly and it not being possible is unimaginable for me. It breaks my heart when I hear these stories. I almost feel guilty because I make the choice (at the moment) not to have a baby, yet they spend every waking hour thinking and wishing for one.
I know having babies is a part of life, just like marriage and bad hair days. I just don’t need every Tom, Dick and Harry assuming that because I’m 28 and female, I should be pushing out babies left, right and centre.