I’ve been married for just over a month now and the baby badgering has already begun. It was bad before with comments like “you know, you don’t have to be married to have a baby these days,” coming from all directions but as I expected, it has gotten even worse now that I am married. A family member, who, every Christmas, is socked that I’m not pregnant yet, even asked me at my wedding how much longer they were going to have to wait. It seems now that I can’t do anything out of the ordinary without getting people’s hopes up.
I’m suspected of being pregnant if I feel ill in any sort of way, including but not limited to, a stomach ache, a headache, a cough or a cold; if I’m really hungry; if I’m really tired; if I’m a little cranky; if I have to pee more than normal, which, on a good day, is already more than most people have to. I don’t feel like drinking at a social occasion, that’s a pregnancy, my hands swell on a hot day and I complain that my wedding ring is a little tight, that’s a pregnancy, my mom posts a vague congratulatory status update about me on Facebook, oh you better believe that’s a pregnancy.
Making matters ever worse is that I have a cousin who is a few months younger than me, we grew up together, lived on the same street, went to the same school, had the same friends and got married in the same year, the only difference between us is that she is pregnant and I am not. When I first heard the news, I knew the baby pressure was going to start being pushed on me even harder than I was initially expecting. ‘But I went to school!” I would retort when family members began their pressure campaign, to no avail. Success in my family feels like it is measured in babies, not BAs.
Let me tell you why, from the point of view of a young, childless, married woman, it is a bad idea to pressure young couples to start a family. Number one, a couple may not have children yet, not because they don’t want to, but because they physically can’t. Every time you ask them why they don’t get on it, you are rubbing salt in an open wound. Also, not every couple needs a baby to define their family unit. My husband and I feel like we started our family the day we got married, we don’t feel like the absence of a baby makes us any less of a family unit. Furthermore, not every person needs a child to feel fulfilled, or in my case, at least not right now. You need to remember that everyone has different priorities and goals. For example, my husband and I want to have children someday, but not until we’ve achieve other goals like finishing school, seeing the world and buying a house. We see these goals as more pertinent to our future happiness, fulfillment and personal growth. Lastly, maybe the young couple in your life doesn’t want to have children, ever, and they are too polite to brag about all of their disposable income, unbroken/ ruined/ soiled belongings, sleeping in on Saturdays and will to live.
I’m not that old, I’m still in the first half of my third decade, and I feel like I have all the time in the world to start worrying about making little versions of myself whom I can teach to hate the things I hate. Be that as it may, I realized the other day that the people putting the most pressure on me – parents, in-laws, aunts and uncles, friends, parents of friends, in-laws of friends – all had already had their first child by my age. I guess they all used their own experiences to fill in their formulas to determine how long they would have to wait for the next generation of adorable destroyers and are getting impatient with me now that their perceived time has come. Either that or they all have large bets riding on me.