‘Don’t pressure women into having children’. Thank you, Rosamund Urwin.
Her lovely semi-rant on the societal pressure faced by women to have offspring when they might not mind all that much if they don’t actually, was a breath of fresh air on my sweaty sardine tin commute this evening.
Personally, I find the pressure to have children subtle, like a tension headache that grows as days go by. In my workplace I have reached the dizzy heights of the ‘top of the pile’. By that, I don’t mean all eyes are on me, the leader of the pack. I mean I am ‘next in line’: as one by one, women in my age group become impregnated, all eyes are open to see if I, too will become the leader of my own ‘pack’.
I am 34. Married, with no children. Will I get pregnant soon? Do I want to have children? Am I ‘trying’? These questions are asked at least weekly, relentlessly; questions like ticking clocks themselves. I can practically feel the eyes on my stomach as I make another coffee (is it decaf?)
Facebook doesn’t help. Every time I hop on, another bundle of joy appears. And the truth is, I don’t know how I feel any more. I thought for a while I felt envy. I always feel happy for my friends of course, but now it is best described as ambivalence. I have gone through racking feelings of inadequacy and panic, aware of the ‘ticking clock’ but baffled as to my true feelings about having children, knowing I was also in no position, relationship wise, to do anything about it. I have gone through despair. I have gone through relief.
I have gone through the defiance; the ‘it’ll happen if it’s meant to’.
I am, now, just rather confused by it all.
And so I have decided: if I can’t quieten other people’s questions and the looks and the clocks, I shall put a metaphorical pillow over everything: I am tired of all this ticking.
I am very lucky. I haven’t – yet – had the overwhelming urge to procreate so until I do; really do, I am resigned to sitting on the pillow and writing. I have a dog and a husband and am more than happy being with my pack.
Let the clocks tick all they want … but they’ll have to work hard to do it under pressure from me, a bouncy canine, a husband and my pillow, not the other way around.