Marriage and Children are beautiful things. They truly are. And I would like to just point out before you read any further that I am not slating marriage, families or children. Who knows maybe I might be a wife & Mum one day but until then, this blog post needs to be said. It’s taken a lot for me to get this all written out, but here it is:
When I was in my teens, a woman was murdered in her late 30’s. Her body had been found in a local area and it was all over the news. (I am going somewhere with this I promise). The only memory I have of this situation, isn’t her name, why she was killed or anything about the murder. This event always stands out to me because I overheard a conversation between some older relatives, and it went like this:
“I just think it’s so shocking that she was single and never married or had kids. At her age, she was so pretty as well. It’s sad isn’t it?”
There are multiple things wrong with the above comment. A comment that stuck in the back of my brain for years.
Because that comment in itself indicates that by a certain age you are meant to be with someone and have a family, otherwise there must be something wrong with you.
Now, I don’t blame older relatives for these kinds of statements. Their upbringing was different to ours. I’m grateful every day that I never had to grow up in that era because all I’ve ever learned from their era is that you weren’t allowed to ask for help, you were allowed to say whatever you want with no mind to how much it hurts someone else, and that if you don’t have a family of your own you’re nothing.
I love kids. I’m great with kids. And yeah, sometimes I do sit there and think I would love to be a mum. I think I would actually be a really good mum. But it’s not that simple…
Back in my parents time, people would meet at a young age, be married by their mid 20’s and having kids. But in this day and age, people don’t have the same commitment mentality. But I also don’t think they should either.
I have a lot of relationship issues. Most of my family don’t know these things, because I prefer to express a lot of the deep shit to qualified professionals, but in my late teens and early 20s, I had a lot of bad experiences with men. Imagine some of the horrible things you see in TV shows, yeah, some of those things have happened to me. I have been a victim of physical and emotional abuse, gaslighting, the works. That’s enough to fuck someone up for a very long time. And also, for those of you that have read one of my first ever blog posts: https://positiveyetcynical35blog.com/2020/12/19/ptsd-dating/ you would know that I have a lot of struggles with intimacy and sex because of the things I’ve been through.
Not really something you wanna mention at a family party is it? “No, I don’t have kids yet. I’m still trying to overcome some trauma and allow someone to be able to fuck me”. Don’t feel like my parents would let me live that down somehow if I gave another relative or family friend a statement to choke on their burger with.
But it’s not just the relationship side of things either. Marriage is fab and all, but to me, in some ways it is actually not so great. This is just my personal opinion and I mean no offence to married people reading this… but marriage is literally an ownership agreement. Or at least it used to be. They’ve changed the vows a bit here and there in this day and age, but initially it was all about a father owning his daughter and then handing ownership over to the husband. There are a lot of vows as well that were basically coincided with women serving their husbands, and doing everything for them.
As Florence Given states in her book “Women Dont Owe You Pretty”: ‘Marriage is deeply entrenched in archaic patriarchal tradition and has its roots in an abusive, oppressive history – the ownership of women’
I am not okay with being owned by anybody. I’ve spent most of my life being independent, a man isn’t going to control me.
I am not saying I think we should all be polyamorous and not commit to each other, but I am all for having a committed one on one relationship without the ownership agreement thanks.
I know some people who have married their soulmates from a young age and are still happy with a beautiful family. And that, is wonderful. I take my hat off to people who have not had to endure the depressing world of Tinder on and off for years. Some people find love early. Some of us don’t. I also know people who’ve got married and watched their marriage fall apart in less than 2 years. It is different for each individual.
Also for me, I’m glad I never married early because I am a completely different person to who I was ten years ago. And I mean in a way that whoever I would have even dated back then wouldn’t match with me now. I firmly believe everything happens for a reason, sometimes you are in relationships that aren’t right for you for learning purposes. Never settle with someone because you feel like you have to.
It’s important for people to start acknowledging that, having a partner is not the be all and end all of your life. I’ve seen multiple young marriages fall apart, I’ve seen people remain in toxic relationships just because they are afraid to be single.
The universe doesn’t always play fair sadly. We come across people who struggle to conceive who deserve to have a chance to be the best parent ever, while there are parents who are murdering and abusing their own children. We will never understand or make sense of why the world is cruel like this. But what we can understand is that it is a really horrible triggering conversation for some people to have when it comes to relationships and babies.
To every person who randomly asks me at family events etc: “so do you not have a boyfriend yet?” I genuinely just fantasise about punching you in the face for a solid 35 minutes. Because you’re being rude and inappropriate.
But why is that rude and inappropriate?
Well – quite simply. There are a lot of other things going on in my life. I’ve been in a job for a long period of time where I’ve been promoted more than once. I am working hard on pursuing my writing. I like to try and visit new places and go on new journeys as much as I can. I love to read various genres of books. There are multiple things you could talk to me about. Stop making me feel like I am a failure in my own life just because I haven’t met your idea of the perfect life.
Did I want to be single at 35? No of course not. Despite all the horrible things I’ve been through, I still have a lot of love to give someone and I love the idea of settling down with someone. But the right guy hasn’t come along yet, and I’m not going to settle with the first guy who fancies me just because I’m scared people in my family will keep mocking me for being single.
I did that in the past, spoiler alert: it never worked out.
Also – let’s address the other elephant in the room: Babies. Now here’s another fun fact for you all… just because some of you might be champions at fertility, doesn’t mean everyone else is. Science and all that.
People struggle daily to conceive. It’s a horrible thing to go through. How do you know that the person you keep badgering about having a baby hasn’t been secretly trying IVF and failing? Or their partner has just been told their sperm count is too low? You don’t know what other people are battling. So leave them the fuck alone.
I know that people hate when people talk about ‘triggers’, but it is a thing. People struggle with various triggers every day. Just because somebody doesn’t want to publicise on Facebook that they’ve suffered a miscarriage or that they’ve been at it like rabbits for 2 years and still can’t make a child, doesn’t mean it’s not happening.
Personally for me: I have lots of health risk factors if I was to become pregnant. And I don’t just mean me being mid-30s now. I have medical conditions that increase miscarriage risks, can affect fertility etc. I’ve not tried to get pregnant before, but should I settle down with someone and want to try, it will be a very scary experience for me because of all the risk factors. So please stop making me feel pressurised to jeopardise my own health physically and mentally. It’s not fair.
I am also at a point in my life where I am having this constant question with myself:
Do I want to get married and have children? Or do I just think I do because that’s what people around me force me to believe?!
It’s a tough call. I don’t know what my future holds. Whether I am actually going to find the right guy for me and live happily ever after, who knows. But also if I do, and we have kids, lovely. But it is also okay to be in a loving couple with no children. I actually think that’s one of the most beautiful examples of relationships, because if you can stay with one person for life without having any other distractions (yes, I called kids a distraction) and be perfectly happy, that’s BEAUTIFUL.
But it is also okay if your marriage falls apart, if you decide actually kids aren’t for you. We all have a right as human beings to decide what we want to do with our bodies and our lives.
If your parents keep pressurising you to give them grandkids, tell them to stop if it is upsetting you. You should never feel pressured into doing something for the sake of another person.
I’m very lucky to have parents who don’t care if I get married or have kids. But some people get put under a lot of pressure to do things like this and it is not okay.
I don’t know where my life is going after I write this. I could be writing a blog post 3 years from now about how my toddler won’t stop shitting on my jeans, or I could be writing a post at 40 of “the best dating apps for cougars”. I have no idea where my life is taking me but I am finally at a point in my life where I have acknowledged that me not being with someone or a mum right now does not make me a failure as a person.
– it is okay to not want children
– you don’t have to get married if it’s not for you
– have respect for other peoples life choices
– don’t keep pestering someone about when they’re going to settle down and have kids. It might be a harmless jibe to you, but it can be triggering and hurtful.
Just enjoy whatever you have going on in your life and respect other people’s decisions.
No matter what ANYBODY says: Having a partner or a family does not define who you are.