What is the first question a newly married woman is asked? Babies! Everyone wants to know when the happy couple will start having children. It seems this has become the social convention. A couple falls in love, gets married, and so they must have children. It is expected!
Since I’ve been married, many have mentioned the “b” word. It’s either in casual conversation, or from obligation. Sometimes the conversation begins “well, since you’re married now, you know what’s next. BABIES!” At first, I tried to just be honest, and polite. I commented on how we have decided not to have children. Most people's immediate reaction is to solve a non-existent problem. I’ve heard something along the lines of “oh, you can have a baby well into your 40’s. Don’t let your age stop you from trying.” Really? You assume that we chose not to have a child because of my age? Now, I’m tired of responding. I now have two possible reactions. I leave the area and ignore the person, or I respond with something similar to “we will have kids when we’re ready.” I do not feel the need to explain my private decisions to co-workers, church members, and even some friends or family members. I’ve noticed when I tell someone “it’s a private matter” or “I’d rather not discuss this,” they have absolutely no idea how to react. Curiosity mixed with empathy or embarrassment for crossing the line.
I’ve only been dealing with this for about 6 weeks, and I’m already tired of it. This situation has provoked some thoughts on the topic. First, I wonder if I’m guilty of having done the same thing to others. If so, I have learned my lesson! Having children is a private decision between two people. Why do women think they have the right to encroach in another woman’s private matters? What if the woman is barren? What if the couple is trying to have a baby, and there has been no success? Such questions can be hurtful.
Five to ten years ago, I really wanted a baby. Everyone knew that being a mother was the most important thing to me. However, my life has greatly changed spiritually, emotionally, and physically over the last few years. After discussing this topic with my therapist, I realized that I wanted a baby for all the wrong reasons. I like children. I work in the children’s ministry at my church, and that ministry satisfies me. I babysit to be a blessing to other couples. None of this means that I have a deep longing to be a mother. I have a great husband who spoils me, and I’m enjoying my life. If God blesses us with a baby, than we will love that baby with all our hearts. However, we aren’t weird just because we are enjoying life and we are satisfied with life as it is.