Family · Parenting · Personal

Expectations of a Biological Clock

biological clockAlmost as soon as Husband and I got married, people started asking whether we had any plans for children. I’m aware that, traditionally speaking, people used to get married so that they could start a family, but I was surprised that the expectations of starting a family were still so heavy in the 21st century. And even once we’d had Sausage, the questions didn’t stop; people almost immediately wanted to know when we planned to have more children, as though we’d opened the floodgates with one child and would breed with unbridled abandon until my sagging uterus could take no more.

Just recently, one of my close friends admitted that, at the age of 34, she’d come to the conclusion that she simply wasn’t feeling all that maternal at this stage in her life. She loved her nieces and nephews, as well as her friends’ children, but she was happy with the way her life is at the moment and a baby simply didn’t fit into that plan.

When she told me, I was a bit sad that she and her Husband might not have kids, and I’ve since come to the conclusion is a completely irrational reaction from me. Why should I be sad that they don’t want kids?! My reaction soon turned to one of admiration, with my brain saying “Wow, what a brave thing to admit!”, but having had more time to think about it, I feel a bit cross on their behalves.

Why should anyone have to explain whether they choose to have kids or not? Even the fact that I used the word ‘admitted’ when describing our conversation shows a certain expectation of people within an age group, and that somehow anyone who chooses to deviate from the ‘marriage+kids’ path needs to explain themselves.

What I’ve realised now, is that I wish more people had the guts to admit that they don’t see kids factoring into their lives. There are so many people in the world who seem to take absolutely no joy from being a parent and I often think “Why did that person procreate in the first place?”. Having kids should be something that you know you want, with both body and mind, not a societal obligation that we should fulfill just because our biological clocks or peer groups tell us that “NOW IS THE TIME”.

Perhaps if people weren’t so base, and thought a little bit more about what having kids really meant, there would be less kids in care, foster care, or waiting for adoption? I’m not going to go all Jeremy Kyle and start parading the High Street, screaming “PUT SOMETHING ON THE END OF IT!” at people, but at the same time, I do wish people would at least consider what it takes to have a child and the sacrifices that need to be made. That’s the admirable part, saying “You know what? I’m happy as I am and I’m not willing to change that”.

What I’ve learned from all of this is that I have a whole new level of respect for people who say “I love kids, but they aren’t for me”. Other people (generally those who have or want kids, I’d imagine) may find it hard to reconcile that someone would choose not to have children, but I actually think it’s one of the most selfless conclusions that a person can come to, rather than the potential of having kids and none of you being happy, just for the sake of not missing that window of fertility opportunity.

What do you think? Have you always known that you wanted kids? Have you decided that kids aren’t for you? Leave me a comment below.

7 thoughts on “Expectations of a Biological Clock

  1. You can take the acai berry in its freeze dried or powdered form. In this form, you are assured that you are getting 100% acai berry extract, with no added preservatives. This is in contrast with the juice form of the acai berry, since it requires preservatives to keep it from going stale.

  2. I’m not having kids because I can’t in good conscience contribute to the rapid diminishment of our world. If I were to have kids, their quality of life would be less than mine, and I don’t want to condemn them to that. Surprisingly, I’ve been told that I’m selfish, unwilling to share my life with a child. Look at it this way: I’m leaving more resources for your child.

  3. I absolutely agree. There are many people who choose not to have kids because they know it’s not a life they want and, while I’m not in that boat myself, I have to say I admire them for being so clear about what they want and not being afraid to say it. On the other hand, I know some people who say they’re waiting for “the right time” to have kids and, although I can totally see their point (it’s the reason we’ve waited to have a second child) I would also say that some of those “right times” (perfect house / perfect weight / have reached all life goals etc etc) aren’t going to happen, because truthfully you can never be ready for the rollercoaster that being a parent is. Children hit you like a tonne of bricks – love, exhaustion, joy, desperation, tears of laughter and intense anger – it’s only something you’ll experience once they arrive!

  4. My brother and his wife made the decision not to have children, they have always been honest that they didn’t want to give up their lifestyle and I applaud their honesty. They are excellent auntie and uncle to my kids and I think my children benefit hugely from having them.

  5. I can’t say I always wanted them, I never really thought about it that much before I launched into it but I guess I knew I would always have them. Seemed it was just what you do! I was pregnant first when I was 25 and hadn’t reached a time in my life when I desperately wanted them but my husband is older than me.

    At that time we both made the decision that if it worked out it worked out, and if it didn’t then we would do something else with our lives instead. I don’t know in reality if that would have been true as I think once you make the decision to try for a baby you kind of get consumed by it.

    What I have realised as I get older is that I’m pretty sure, whilst if I had my time again I’d probably do the same, I could have lived an equally happy and unfulfilled life without having my own children but making the decision NOT to have children feels a much bigger risk than choosing to have them if that makes sense!

  6. I have a friend who has always been honest that she doesn’t want kids. She’s in her early 40s now and has never regretted her decision. She’s got her career, her partner and a brilliant social life. And she’s a great “Auntie” to my boys.
    I see her as a lot stronger than me. I didn’t know for sure whether I wanted kids or not. So I went with the safe and accepted option of having them (not that I would change a thing now).
    It’s much braver not to do something sometimes, than it is to go ahead and do it because everyone expects it of you.

  7. When people tell me that they don’t want to have kids I admit that I do feel a little bit sad for them, but only because of how much joy my children bring me, I want everyone to get to experience that. But at the same time I have to accept that some people who have children still don’t experience that pleasure so perhaps they just shouldn’t have gone down that route. I definitely felt the pressure to have children once we were married and it only seems to have stopped now that I’m pregnant again, but as happy as I am with my own choices I’ll definitely be having my tubes tied after this one!

    I think you are right, it is very brave for people to make the choice not to have kids and to admit it to the world. It is one of the few remaining taboos and that seems ridiculous.

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