‘When are you going to start trying?’, ‘Will we be hearing the patter of little feet soon?’ ‘You’d make a great Mum’… Hands up who’s sick of hearing this type of thing?
HB: I certainly am and no one’s even saying it to me at the moment! I’ve already popped out a sprog so the pressure cooker has been turned down a notch for me, but for the childless mid twenties woman, there is just so much pressure to reproduce!
GS: Gurl, tell me about it. I’ve been married two years and I can’t so much as order a damn gherkin without the in-laws losing their minds.
“As soon as you’re in a stable relationship, like it’s the next level on some sort of game of life”
HB: I’m sure it has always been this way; we’ve just never noticed it because we weren’t ‘that age’ so it didn’t affect us.
I personally wanted to have kids fairly young but if I hadn’t wanted to, well then what the hell does it have to do with anyone else?
GS: There’s such pressure to rush into it, to have kids as soon as you’re in a stable relationship, like it’s the next level on some sort of game of life. Hell, I wanted kids reasonably young, too – but it’s not always as simple as that.
HB: I absolutely love being a mother now but if I’m being perfectly honest, I really, REALLY struggled for the first six months. I went into the whole situation with rose tinted glasses, solely focusing on the perfect angelic new born I’d be receiving and ignoring everything I’d be giving up. When my screaming, up every two hour, monster baby, did actually arrive, I was totally unprepared. I wasn’t ready for the amount of my time he’d need and how much of myself I’d have to sacrifice. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I was breast feeding, so gone was the possibility of going out for a drink with my mates. Hell, I couldn’t even pop to the shops to buy milk for a cup of tea if my little one was down for the night and my husband was out. I felt isolated, lonely and like I’d lost everything that made me, me – just to become a milk producing, bum wiping machine. I’m not trying to put anyone off having children here. But the idea of children we’re given by those whose offspring are long since grown is not what I ended up with.
GS: This is just it, people think they have some right to comment on how you should live your life and when you should procreate based on their own experiences. They don’t know how it might affect your physical or mental health.
I’m still getting comments like ‘are you sure you’re not pregnant’ and ‘don’t wait until you’re ready, no-one’s ever truly ready’. Well I call bullshit – I’ve felt ready for years. My uterus on the other hand, is not a fan of the idea. Each time I get a comment like this, I end up excusing myself and hiding in a bathroom somewhere in tears. I want to do the thing, but I can’t. You don’t know what’s happening in my uterus, so can we not talk about it like it’s not in the room? Ultimately, it’s calling the shots.
But even if it wasn’t, even if I was perfectly healthy and fertile and a baby making dream, I still do not need to justify if and when I choose to make this life altering change to my entire world to anyone. Not even my mum, and I justify everything to her. The only people involved in this decision are me and my prospective baby daddy.
“What if she couldn’t have children? What if the couple have been struggling to conceive? What if she’d just had a miscarriage?”
HB: I have friends who are having to justify their decision not to have kids immediately to everyone, from family to friends to colleagues, which is bloody ridiculous.
A relative stranger has asked one of them if she’s going to start ‘trying’ on her honeymoon! It’s not an OK question to ask, it’s incredibly personal and honestly why do we not consider it to be flat out rude?
What if she couldn’t have children? What if the couple have been struggling to conceive? What if she’d just had a miscarriage? The menagerie of griefs this could ensue is endless and heaven help you if you suggest that you just simply don’t want to have children at all. Some people just seem completely unable to get their heads around this idea. Personally, I can see the appeal; a life in which you can go where you want, when you want. A life where you can be YOU all day rather than just the two hours after the kids go to bed… I can see why you’d go for that.
GS: It’s pretty great, I won’t lie. But even if they knew about any problems, I can tell you from personal experience that it won’t stop them. I have people who make cooing noises over the fact that I’m seeing a doctor – as if it’s exciting? I have acquaintances who ask me about my appointments as if it’s any of their f*cking business.
HB: Can we just agree that other people’s reproductive habits shouldn’t be up for discussion unless they bring it up first?
GS: Can I get an amen?!