I remember being about 9 years old when my best friend at the time suggested we write a list of all the things we were going to do in ours lives. This was a very specific list and it required us to write down at what age we would be achieving each goal.
There are only 2 things on that list I can remember writing:
1. Get married- age 25
2. Have children- age 28
I’m hoping I also wrote some deeper more meaningful goals too or there is some serious child psychology stuff going on there.
Naturally, when I got to 25 and realised I wasn’t anywhere near marriage (I happened to be going through a breakup with my ex partner of 6 years), I moved the goal post slightly. And have done ever since.
I’m now 31, I’m not married and I’m childless.
It’s the childless part that seems to throw people. You get to a certain age (30) and everyone seems to think it’s ok to ask when you’re thinking about having a baby, or worse, they say “don’t you want children then?” with this really puzzled look on their face as if suggesting your biological clock is ticking and maybe you hadn’t noticed.
I have seen this on Facebook from other women who, like me, haven’t joined the ‘Let’s have a baby’ club yet. They feel exactly the same as I do.
I always sense when this question is coming, yet each time I’m asked, I feel that same wave of emotion. I also feel an uncontrollable urge to tell the other person I can’t actually have children, just to watch them squirm. I can never quite bring myself to go through with this response, so I try to answer in the best way I can, which ends up leading them to ask even more awkward questions about my personal life. “What about your partner though, doesn’t he want a baby? He must be, what, late twenties now”?
On one occasion, someone actually took it to the point of asking my age as if to clarify out loud that I needed to really get a move on if I wanted to be a mother.
All I could think was “Please go away now. Let me leave and continue living my childless life in peace”.
The fact is, unless a woman in her 30’s can’t physically have children, it’s really hard for others to understand why she has left it so long. They question you as if you’re some child-hating witch who had her ovaries removed 10 years previously.
My partner always tells me I’m being over sensitive and that people are just being friendly by showing an interest in my life. Easy for him to say, he hasn’t got a list of goals to live up to.
You know what though? It’s not being friendly, and it’s not okay. I have seen this on Facebook from other women who, like me, haven’t joined the ‘Let’s have a baby’ club yet. They feel exactly the same as I do.
I love babies. Ask anyone. I am such a baby person! My little brother was born when I was 15 years old and I loved the fact I was old enough to be able to carry him around or feed him a bottle. I’ve probably changed more nappies than most couples with newborns. Yep, I’m a pro.
Most of my friends have children, 2 of which gave birth only recently. So when I’m in need of a baby hug, I have plenty of options. In all honesty though, I just don’t feel like I’m ready to be a Mum. I read blogs all the time from women who literally get nothing done (although they quite clearly managed to write the blog post), and I think, no. That is not for me. Not yet. I can’t function with less than 6 hours sleep, I love not having to make a single decision based on anyone else, and not to mention the fact I have Crohn’s disease. The thought of having to come off my medication for 9 months is enough in itself to make me think twice.
Look, don’t take this the wrong way, but next time you find yourself wanting to ask a woman in her 30’s when she’s thinking of starting a family, just stop. There are many possible reasons as to why I don’t have a child yet. Maybe I can’t conceive, maybe my partner isn’t sure he wants a family, maybe I’m not sure for that matter. Alternatively, I may have chosen not to yet, I have more to achieve before I give up my life to a dependant little being; the timing just isn’t quite right.
Whatever my reason? It’s really none of your business.