Since becoming a wife I’ve noticed two main threads of enquiry when I speak to people for the first time since the big day. They either ask me; “How’s married life?” or state; “It’s won’t be long until there’s a little Harrison-Davies running around.”
Married life is awesome. Thanks. But why do people assume that once you’ve put a ring on it, the patter of tiny feet is a dead cert in the next 18 months? Or, if you’re over the age of 35, you must have kids already. Or if you’ve eaten too much at lunch people think it’s a baby bump. Is it okay not to want kids?
I turned thirty last year and when I was a little girl, I always imagined that when I was ‘old’ (which to your 13-year-old self is indeed thirty, oh how wrong I was) I would be married and own my own home. That was my life goal. Husband and mortgage. I blame my architect father for the home aspirations. The one thing that was never on my adulthood radar, was a desire to have a child. Is it really such a bad thing that I still don’t have a maternal instinct?
I’m probably classed as a proper grown up now that I introduce myself as Mrs and tick the ‘30 – 40’ age boxes on questionnaires. The thing is though, I don’t feel like a grown up. I still resent spending money on things that I can’t wear or eat.
I thought that by 30 I’d have life all figured out. Then I actually turned 30 and realised nothing ever quite goes the way you expect it to. Whereas I thought I’d be like one of the ‘Desperate Housewives’ with a perfect house and a knack for knowing how to bake apple pies, I still have to Google how long to boil an egg for and my husband still doesn’t understand why you need to match the pillow cases to the duvet cover.
A couple of my friends have children, and whilst some of them are little angels (Hello James Abbott and Stanley Gray) some of them are absolute demons and if they belonged to me, I’d have probably listed them on eBay by now. Okay, I’m not that bad. I know eBay has rules about selling animals and children.
The thing is, Mark and I have a really cool life. We are independent when we need to be, and spontaneous when we want to be. It’s great just being our own little unit. Deciding at 7pm that we can’t be bothered to cook and going to the local steakhouse for a fillet steak and a bottle of wine is a luxury we just don’t want to give up.
Whilst we appreciate that children can bring a brand-new level of love and appreciation into your life, we’re pretty happy with the love and appreciation between just the two of us. So please, just accept the fact that for some people, just being Mr and Mrs is quite enough.
Society finds it so easy to label people like us ‘selfish’. But how is that actually possible? How can you call a person selfish for not creating something that doesn’t actually exist yet? Even worse, isn’t it wrong for people to feel so pressured into having a child, that they do so to tick a box, a decision they end up regretting? Someone said to me recently; “Have a baby Ruth, you don’t want to end up in a care home with no one coming to visit you.” Right, well that is a good a reason as any…
At times, when I see a friend announcing they’re pregnant on Facebook, I do hear the faint ticking of my biological clock and wonder if I should feel differently. What if we one day have a massive U-Turn and want to add a mini-us to the Harrison-Davies household, but then we have waited so long, it becomes impossible?
Also, please don’t bring up the; “think of all the young people out there who can’t have children or are struggling to conceive” line of enquiry. I know a young couple who have been through hell for their soon-to-arrive little boy, and having been married for a few years now, I couldn’t imagine what it must have been like when folks asked them the awkward question.
It sometimes seems like married couples without kids are outsiders, and the more that people ask me when I’m having kids – as if it’s some predetermined factor in my life – the more if feels as there’s a stigma around not wanting to be a mother. People picking up on your childlessness can make you feel that you’re somehow a ‘lesser’ female, that we’re not using our bodies for what it was created to do, and that we’re not experiencing life to the fullest.
How about just using our mind to make a decision. Just because we chose a certain path in life, does that make us inferior? Does it affect your life in any way? No. Well, unless you’re my mum who would love for her only child to give her a little grandchild, your opinion is really not valid. Plus, I’ve told my mum to get a dog instead.
Whilst both of us haven’t ruled out ever having kids (although I can’t see my 30-year opinion changing), we just really like the life we have right now. Why should we feel like we should change it, just because it’s ‘what people do’? Women used to wear shoulder pads and knee-length skirts because hem line was in direct proportion to professionalism, but that societal norm is outdated so why can’t this blind expectation be too.