if you hear me mention having children, and ask if i’m planning on having them soon, then tell me that i’m too young to have kids when i reply in the affirmative, my face is going to take on a funny, pinched look. it might remind you of the look on someone’s face right after they’ve sucked on a lemon. or a warhead candy. or the look someone gets when they’ve smelled milk that’s gone bad.
that look is me trying to smile at you through my thinly veiled irritation. you see, i have this thing about people telling me when i’m ready to do something that involves my family. i hate it.
maybe i hate it because i am a feminist. i grew up hearing that women are free to choose the lives that they want. and that women before me have fought for my right to choose when and how to have children. but apparently that fight only won me the right to wait until i’m thirty to have my first baby? it only won me the right to feel like the weird one in the room because i freely talk about wanting to be a mother? when did it become odd to embrace femininity as it relates to having kids? maybe that’s fine for a certain brand of feminism, but certainly not my brand.
i have been told by no less than ten
people strangers acquaintances over the last year that in THEIR opinion, i am too young/too newly married/too early on in my career/too something to have kids in the near future. and lest you think that i walk around willy-nilly asking people what they think of my plans to have children, these opinions were all given to me freely, without invitation. unless mentioning how much i love babies counts as an invitation. (i have baby fever, i won’t deny that, but come on!)
if i were a braver person, i would simply tell these women (because they have all, disappointingly, been women) that maybe they were too old/too fat/too skinny/too long married/too far into their careers to have had children when they did. but then i would probably get punched in the face, and i’m just too delicate for that. another reason i don’t say this is, and listen carefully because this is the most important thing, the crux of this post: it’s none of my business. just like it’s none of their business to tell me why i “shouldn’t want to be a mother right now”, and why i should “wait to be married three years before having babies”. (<– those are actual quotes from actual people that were said to my actual face)
now for the moral of this story (rant? soapbox stand?). the next time you meet someone who might be a little baby crazy, or someone who doesn’t want to have a baby for a long time, and you decide to tell them what you think about their decision, now you know what they’re thinking when their face goes like this:
or, you know, just smile and keep your mouth closed tight.