- 8 years ago
I wanted to share this and open the floor for some fruitful discussion.
I come from a very traditional, religious (Roman Catholic) background on both of my parents’ sides. I grew up believing that the central purpose of marriage is to have children, and to raise them in a stable household. Many of my cousins on my dad’s side got married young (21-22) and were pregnant right away.
On my mom’s side, pregnancies didn’t necessarily happen immediately after the wedding, but one thing that was always on my mind was that fertility problems have touched every woman on my mom’s side of the family, starting around age 30. That seems to be the cutoff age before the serial miscarriages begin. My mom and grandmother deny that this pattern exists, but trust me, it does.
So, here’s where I’m going with all this. I’m getting married in about 5 months, and up until this point, my fiance and I had agreed to try to start having kids as soon as our circumstances become favorable (he’s aiming for a PhD, so he’s got some schooling left.) But last night, I got all contemplative, and realized that a lot of the pressure I was putting on myself to have kids wasn’t coming out of a genuine desire to be a mother as soon as possible. Now, please don’t get me wrong. I ADORE kids. When I play with toddlers or hold a baby, I feel so happy that, should my heart visibly glow through my chest, I wouldn’t be surprised. But nonetheless, I’ve been so focused on family expectations and the threat of infertility, that it was clouding what I really want.
It was almost surreal to say this, but I admitted to my wonderful, lovely fiance last night that what I really want is to have plenty of time to just be MARRIED to him, before kids come into the picture. I want us to have several years of just us. I want us to grow and know each other to the extent that, when children finally do come along, grow up, and eventually leave home, my husband and I will not have to face the grim reality that we no longer know each other. This happens to so many couples, and it can be devastating. The term “empty nest” always makes me sad, because what I want to see when my children finally leave home is an opportunity to devote the maximum amount of time to my husband, and to our relationship, once again.
Best of all, he was absolutely and unquestionably in agreement with everything I said last night. We’re very similar people, but a tiny part of me was afraid that he was going to say something along the lines of, “Well, I really don’t want to wait that long…”
Letting go of the expectation that I would jump at motherhood as soon as possible was a huge step. I know that many of you have already reconciled this issue within your own minds, and with your future spouses, but I’m guessing that just as many of you are in situations similar to mine.
I’m preparing myself for disappointed grandmothers, prodding questions, and accusations of selfishness, but (corny as it sounds), saying my wishes out loud last night made me feel like I’m constructing a shield against all of that. I feel stronger, and above all else, incredibly happy.