Are you going to get married?
Don’t you want kids?
The questions every woman approaching her late 20s starts facing either from society or maybe even internally.
Spoiler alert, here’s my opinion: Society shouldn’t have to put pressure on women to get married and have kids. Women should be free to choose what they want for themselves. The pressure to have kids is all too familiar for us women. Questions like
Who’s going to take care of you when you get old?
Some go insofar as to even graciously offer us definitive statements and reminders like:
You’re going to regret it
You’re going to die alone
You’re smart, pretty, and outgoing it should be easy for you to find someone
All said with a hint of inherent pity as if suggesting I am trying to find a partner and kids yet am failing at it because I haven’t done so yet. But the truth is, I never had the urge to want to have kids. I also never had the urge to be in relationships. Although I have been in serious relationships before, they all happened organically not because I felt it was obligatory to be in partnership with someone.
When I was in my 20s, my automatic response to these questions was always, “I’m not getting married or having kids until I’m at least 30.” It was easy to dodgeball the question because I had time on my side. Well, when I turned 30 my response to that question became, “I’m not going to get married or have kids until I’m at least 35.” I kept furloughing these societal pressures because there is just so much I want to do. Getting married and popping out kids was still not in my five-year life plan.
Yet isn’t it funny how our years speed by quicker and quicker as we get older? Five years now seems a lot shorter than what five years felt like in my 20s. I’m 31 now going on 32 and deeply thinking through and reassessing what I want in life. Still, I do not have a burning desire like some of my friends to get married, settle down, and start a family. Why? Because I just don’t.
Don’t get me wrong. I have many friends who desire marriage and are craving kids. When you’re in your 30s, of course, you have many friends who are already married with and without kids. I deeply respect them for their desires and decisions. But the point is that is their desires and decisions, not mine. Everyone has differences and we must respect those differences, not impart our way of being onto someone else or assume our way or the majority’s way should be someone else’s way either.
So back to my assessment as a 31-year old woman. Even though I do not have a burning desire to get married and have kids now, I do acknowledge that if I eventually want biological kids sometime in the future, I do have biological restraints.
What if I want kids later?
What if I do regret it later?
I don’t like making decisions based on social pressures but I DO like having options.
I had a video chat yesterday with my half-Japanese friend living in Tokyo working at a large tech company. We were talking about all these choices we as women need to make in life. I’m single. She’s in a pretty serious relationship but she was debating whether this relationship is something permanent. Is he the one? Is she settling because she wants kids and doesn’t want to miss her opportunity to have them?
These are some pretty serious life questions and I’m sure she’s not the only one going through them.
I don’t have those answers for her or anyone for that matter, but I do think a big part of empowerment is choice. Our power to choose the life we want. I’m not sure whether I want kids or not but what I DON’T want to do is rush finding a partner just to get married and have kids because everyone else around me is doing so.
My friend and I talked about gathering a few of our girlfriends and taking a girls’ trip to Spain to freeze our eggs where apparently it’s the most economical.
“Count me in!” I said.
There exists a lot of dialogue on this topic about adopting as an option. Yes, that is an option but I think for me, if I am to raise kids I want to raise my own biological kids. Again, I’m not saying one way is better than the other but am simply expressing my thoughts as of today which may change in the future.
In terms of getting married, I also think rushing into marriage for the sake of not missing your window of opportunity to give birth is not the right way to go about it. The divorce rate in the US is 40 to 50 percent and one-third of couples for Japan. There also exists so much research on how divorces psychologically impact children. If it takes two to tango, our society should stop putting so much skewed pressure on women to get married and have kids.
I don’t have the answers for you or anyone else but I know for me if someone asks me if I’m interested in getting married or having kids my answer is still 結婚と子供はまだです。