I love my 30′s. It’s the most empowering decade of my life as of yet. So much better than my 20′s. However, there are side effects to turning 30. Besides the fact that your metabolism completely comes to a stand still (hello, Weight Watchers!), you also have to deal with a bombardment of questions about marriage and baby. And, no, men don’t get flooded with the same type or quantity of questions as we do. I’m sure they get some questions, but nothing close to the level of us women.
I’m not complaining. I’m just calling things as they are. Let me also preface by saying that personally, I am already married and Mr. ShuGar and I want a baby. This post is more about the general societal pressure that we women face once we turn 30.
There are many women who turn 30, who are not married and have no immediate plans to procreate now or ever. So I ask: What’s wrong with that? When a woman turns 30 does she automatically have to have these two life events on her radar? What if she is entirely content focusing on her career and really has no desire to have kids? Is something wrong with her? My short answer: No.
I am happy I live in a generation where we women can answer “no” to the above question. Nevertheless, we still have to deal with the flooding of questions about “our future” plans. Now, I empathize with this issue myself because I had to deal with this before and after I met Mr. ShuGar. It all started after my 30th birthday. The marriage questions came first.
Do you have plans of ever getting married?
I remember thinking I am fine as I am now. I had plans to spend a summer in Argentina to write and life was wonderful. Little did I know wonderful could become multiplied the moment I met Mr. ShuGar. Then, we got engaged and had a gorgeous wedding. Immediately following our wedding, the baby questions came a flooding.
Do you want to have kids? When are you going to have kids?
I remember feeling this immense pressure to establish a procreation plan because the big 3-5 was just around the corner. However, not only were we not ready, I was also having female issues, which made it difficult to even consider baby talk.
You see people don’t realize when you ask these questions you are actually invading a couple’s privacy on so many levels. What if the couple has been trying to have kids for quite some time? By assuming that they have no plans for baby and, hence, you asking them these questions, this can make the couple feel so horrible. Their baby dreams can be a very sensitive matter because infertility is an issue that many, many couples face.
On the other hand, if you ask these baby questions, you are also assuming that the couple even wants kids. I know several couples who are 100% overjoyed that they are NOT having kids. They are ecstatic that it will just be the two of them (plus maybe some pets). No need to make these couples feel guilty for a choice that is not only valid, but is one that should be congratulated as a great life choice.
This gets even more exacerbated if your family is from a different culture. Then, you have to consider the additional pressure of cultural norms, ones steeped in rigid tradition. Personally, in Mexican culture having babies is part of the life cycle. It’s engrained in our psycho from day one. You really are challenging society if you decide to live a life sans children.
What I’d like my readers to take away from this post is to practice a little bit more tact when asking these baby questions. They can be loaded with lots of assumptions and we should all be mindful of that. We need to come to a point where women who turn 30 don’t have to constantly be answering these same questions over and over again.
I dedicate this post to a dear friend who approached me about this topic. I had been pondering when/how to write about this and thanks to her, I was inspired to do so. I thank you, sweet friend, for being an avid reader and for expressing something that is on the minds of many.
Ladies & gents, have you ever felt the pressure to have a baby? How did you deal with it?
Photo credit: Stork