“So when are you planning on having kids?”
That’s the question I get from family, friends, and even strangers upon finding out that I am recently wed. No one warned me about this, and to be honest, I’m tired of this question. Plus, who says I have to get pregnant now that I’m married? I am pretty sure that wasn’t stated in the marriage license.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love and adore children. I also get paid to watch them. But having your own kids is a completely different ballpark, so I hear. I am at that age where a lot of my friends are getting pregnant. But I’m not complaining since I get to live vicariously through them. Some of them are married, some of them aren’t, and some of them are over the age of 30. That’s okay because, in the end, it was their choice when they and their partner wanted to start a family.
We no longer have this strict rule in our society that women must want to get pregnant right after getting married. That has shifted to the idea of women placing importance on their own careers before children even enter into a marriage. Generally, women are choosing what they want in terms of their goals, which could be a factor in why the median age of mothers giving birth has been increasing for decades. 40% of births in the U.S. between 1980-2019 were to unmarried women. These statistics are indicative of the shifts taking place with the age of women during childbirth.
My sweet neighbor, who is in her 70s, was one of those who asked that familiar question. I told her I wasn’t sure, but not any time soon. She said she didn’t have her first kid until the age of 22, and yet even then in the late 60s, that age was considered “old” for having kids. I think back to when I was 22 and there is no way I would have been ready for kids. Over time, our priorities change, and to think of how different my life would have been now if children were involved is hard to wrap my head around.
Just months into dating my (now) husband, his father started asking when we were having kids. I remember the first time he asked, and my face must have gone white. “You expect us to have kids now?!” I thought. For my husband’s family, culturally speaking, it is more acceptable to have kids before marriage. Even with that knowledge, I was still not ready to have kids.
The Wait That’s Worth It
So why am I waiting? Well, it’s a decision my partner and I made together. We are focusing on other things right now besides building a family. We have businesses we’re building and finances to grow. Our dream is to create and nurture strong roots before we expand our branches. We wholeheartedly agree that our energy is invested in other goals right now besides starting a family. Consequently, that’s even extended into the pet realm too! As of now, we don’t have any animal companions, since we are well aware of the financial costs and energy that goes into having furry friends. But we have animal shelters and sanctuaries we can visit to get our fill of animal love.
When people ask about my childbearing status, I simply respond by saying that it will happen in the future when the time is right. My husband and I will know when that time is, but until then we can enjoy strengthening our relationship. Marriage doesn’t mean that we don’t have work to do on ourselves and on our bond. It’s been a work in progress.
Sometimes, I’ll get that ache of wanting kids, but it’s always short-lived. I get my “baby fix” when I hold my nieces, nephews, and friends’ children. I can live up to the name of “Tía” and enjoy that label before I become a Mom myself. Plus, when you have a job where you take care of kids, it’s nice to be able to leave them with their parents. Then you can go home and sleep undisturbed, which is just how I like it.
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Photo: Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash