It was at our wedding reception when I was first asked, “When will you have kids?” Bernard and I hadn’t finished this monumental moment in our lives, and here this guest was rushing us onto our next. Since our wedding day, I have been asked that question or different variations of it more times than I can count.
I understand the natural progression in a relationship after marriage is to start a family, and I’ve concluded that those from older generations seem to believe these events should occur in quick succession. I reached this conclusion based on the reactions and responses I have received when I explain Bernard’s and my decision to wait and give ourselves time just to be married before we bring kids into the picture.
“If you want kids anyway what’s the point in waiting?”
“If you want more than one child, you should probably get started!”
“You aren’t getting any younger!“
“You’ll never be ready if that is what you’re waiting on!”
“Do you even want kids?”
These are just some examples of the questions and statements I receive. I must admit during these inquisitions my buttons get pushed and sometimes it takes all my energy not to snap back. I must state the obvious before continuing, whether a couple is or isn’t having kids and their reasoning behind that decision is no one’s business other than the couples’. Despite that being true, people still feel a need to ask and insert their opinion.
What bothers me the most when asked about starting a family and the responses that follow is the person’s obliviousness as to why what they are asking and saying is senseless.
When people ask they have no idea if my husband and I have been trying and struggling to conceive. They don’t know if I have gotten pregnant already and then suffered a miscarriage. If either of those scenarios were true, I know I would find the question about kids even more upsetting than I already do.
More so, people feel justified to challenge our decision to wait and attempt to persuade me to change my mind; which I find both aggravating and confusing.
I am aggravated by this because there is an implication that the choice to wait to have children was not well thought out. They believe that raising these questions and making those statements will be an unexpected clarifying moment. I feel confident to assert that if a couple isn’t trying to have kids, there was likely a conversation that went into that decision. Speaking for myself, I don’t do anything without thoroughly thinking it through. Before we got married Bernard and I discussed the topic of children which is when we decided to just be married for awhile before starting a family.
It leads me to why I am confused when people question our choice and then try to persuade me to change my mind. Isn’t it a good thing that we are waiting to start a family until we feel more set and comfortable with the idea of being parents? Parenthood I am told is something for which you can never truly be ready, but can’t you still be more prepared? I disagree with the implication that you should jump right into parenthood even if you don’t feel ready to be a parent and work it out as you go. I understand that conception happens for those who are not ready to be parents all the time, and they step up to the plate and are stellar parents. I have also witnessed it go the other way, where conception happens for those who are not ready to be parents, and it has adverse effects on their children and their ability to parent.
Speaking frankly, Bernard and I were not ready to be parents two years ago. I do not believe that had I gotten pregnant right away we would have been bad parents. But, I feel there was a possibility that one day we would have regretted not waiting a little longer, and I would have felt guilty about holding that regret.
Getting married is an adjustment for any couple. For Bernard and I, the adjustment was not a drastic one; I would describe it as more of an underlying shift. Nevertheless, we both had to adapt to this shift that occurred. We needed to improve our communication skills and the way we approached conflict with one another. We both needed to make some self-improvements as well; which we felt would be challenging with little observers and sponges watching and listening to our every move. After we got married, we both still had goals we wanted to meet in our careers. We both still enjoyed the socializing environment – meeting up with our friends, going out to bars and noisy restaurants, going on vacations with other couples, etc. I know all of those things can still happen once we have kids, but we both felt they couldn’t be our primary focus. Getting all of that out of our system before starting a family was important to us.
Parenthood is not a role to be taken lightly. It certainly is not something a married couple should begin due to pressure from family, friends, or society. Now when someone asks, “When will you have kids?” I say, ” Whenever we are blessed with one.”