Motherhood: A Choice or A Responsibility?
It feels like people are always expecting something from me. When I was younger, everyone insisted on me getting into a university. After graduation, the narrative changed to “when are you going to start working?” Slowly questions about my marital status flooded the air of every social gathering. Now, expecting my pregnancy news is the new in-thing.
My aunt gave me advice I didn’t ask for about conceiving before the end of my “childbearing years” to avoid complications. My in-laws expressed their longing to play with their grandchildren. I get invited to my friends’ baby showers and almost all my friends are saying “it’s your turn next!”
Why does it feel like I have had deadlines all my life? Are my parents hiding a life-threatening diagnosis giving me a life expectancy of another 5 years? Everyone is making assumptions that I’m ready for these changes, but what if I’m not? I regard motherhood as something so pure, but would it have the same significance if I hastily jump into it for the sake of others? I’m ashamed of myself for not having any answers, how will ever make a good mother in this state?
It’s the 20th century yet openly talking about our reproductive decisions isn’t of norm. In many families, married couples are expected to only take a year or two, if not immediately, to have children. However, one could be married and choose to not have children—it’s not a crime! Though nudges about considering pregnancy come from a place of good intention, it may get overwhelming on the receiving end.
Motherhood must not define adult femininity. If you’re ready to conceive, go forth! Have a kid (or two) because it’s your decision. However, it is absurd for us to expect everyone with a uterus to have the same needs and desires.
You don’t always have to give birth to be a mother. It’s also okay to alternatively adopt a child, have a pet puppy or just not be a mother. The choice should be yours and whatever it may be, respect it and learn to respect that of others’ too. Live and let live.