When my parents were my age, they had already had three children. I could not imagine raising one child right now, never mind three. But since my husband and I have been married for a little over three years now, we can’t escape the age-old question: “when are you going to have kids?”
Lately, it seems like more and more of my friends are having children. Some people I went to college with are already working on having their second or third child. Don’t get me wrong—there is nothing wrong with this. I admire women who put their careers and/or education on hold to bring a child into world. I admire women who continue to work and/or take their classes while raising a child. I mean, a child who is a lifelong commitment of late nights, early mornings, daycare, school lunches, projects, and what have you. I admire them for taking the good with the bad – whether it be a planned child or not – whether that child needs extensive medical care, is a twin, or is just a by the books happy baby.
When your friends start getting pregnant, I feel like there is a shift in what is expected of you as a married woman. It is a shift that is so subtle and one day appears just as the seasons can change in a day. A shift that everyone starts to look to you and asks: Why don’t they have any children yet? You shouldn’t wait too long, you don’t want to be the “old” parents, do you? What is so bad about having kids? Do you not like them?
When your friends start having children, the expectation that you will be next any day now is always lurking in the corner. Yes, it’s true most people wait to have children until they’re a little older than they did 20 years ago. But you can’t go on Facebook without seeing another high school classmate or old co-worker announcing their pregnancy with hands on bellies and family dogs with signs around their collars. The sheer gravity of everyone asking when YOU will get pregnant brings on an uncalled amount of social pressure.
It’s not like my husband and I haven’t thought about it. Like I haven’t been playing with my friend’s baby and making silly faces to make her giggle. But for us, we are not ready. We see this as a time to be us. To be married and young. To enjoy our new home. To go out on weekends and travel at a moment’s notice.
Although we eventually want kids, we are in no rush to start that part of our life. I know for me personally, I’ve been rushing my whole life on a timeline. Graduate high school, go to college, get a job, get married, buy a house, etc. I have planned out my life since I was in high school. But having children is something you can’t plan to be ready for. And as of right now, my husband and I don’t feel it’s our time to have kids yet and we’re okay with that. For now, a family of two is enough for us.