Wednesday, May 28, 2014

When People Pressure You to Have Kids

You often hear childless couples complain that family and friends are pressuring them to have children. They are annoyed by this pressure, and find it to be inappropriate and intrusive.  Of course, no one ever pressured me to have children - likely because you all thought I would be a terrible mother, due to my selfishness and lack of nurturing skills - but if I had been pressured to have children, I probably would have been annoyed by it too.  After all, what business is it of anyone else's if I have kids or not?

But now I'm going to let you childless couples in on a secret.  I'm going to tell you why we who have children are always trying to get you to join us.

It's not because we think you'd be awesome parents.

It's not because we think that having children is the "right" and "natural" course, and that deviating from this natural course is wrong and against God's plan.

It's not because we want to tell you how to live your life.

It's not that we think you're shallow for not wanting children, or that you're missing out by remaining childless.

It's because being a parent is terrifying and isolating, and we don't want to lose you as friends, and we don't want to go through it alone.

After you become parents - or even before, really, when you become pregnant - you immediately start to think of how everything is about to change.  And while some of those changes are awesome and great, some of them are freaking awful.

You imagine your childless friends and relatives will start to think of you as lame mommy and daddy types, and will ostracise you accordingly.  You imagine that everyone is bored to death every time you discuss your child or your pregnancy.  You imagine that everyone will be mad at you when you run late because your baby vomited on you just as you were leaving the house.  You imagine that people will stop inviting you to things because sometimes you have to flake out because you couldn't get a sitter, or because your baby is teething and can't be brought into public.   No one wants to hang out with the woman who can't drink because she's pregnant.  No one wants to hear about your baby's bowel movements.  And the fact of the matter is, once you have a child, it takes up roughly 90% of your mental and physical energy, and focusing on anything else takes a lot of effort.

But.  If your childless friends and family members were to have children too...well then that would change things!  They would understand everything, because they would be going through the same things too!  You could support each other and no one would think you're lame, or hate you because of this major life change that's happening.  

I have to constantly restrain myself from pressuring various friends to have children.  I want to.  I want to so very badly.  But I stop myself, because I don't want to be "that woman".  But I totally am that woman.  I want you to have kids.  Most of you, anyway.  Let's do this together.  Join us.  JOIN US.