This is what I picture when I think of motherhood. Constant crying, sleepless nights and frequent migraines. This is probably the cutest baby in the world when his cries aren’t deafening your ears. Motherhood has never been on my radar as a little brown girl. I didn’t put pillows under my t-shirt, walk in my mother heels and pretend to be pregnant. I read books and created short stories. I dreamt of places to travel and the life I would have as soon as I could move out of my parents home (which couldn’t be soon enough). But of course, people tend to make plans for your life. Especially when you’re a woman and even more when you are a Black woman.
I recently turned 30 and you would think that that monumental time in my life was also a green light for unsolicited advice. Hell, everyone had an opinion of what I should be doing with my uterus….from the OBGYN (an old asian man I’ve been seeing since 18) to family and friends who believe that I don’t want kids at all to the old white guy at my nephew’s baseball game who said “Oh you’re not having any kids, it’s too late”. WELL DAM! I didn’t know I should just lay down and wait for it to end at the age of 30. Halle Berry is having a baby at 40-freaking-5!!!! 15 years my senior! Oh but she’s a celebrity so I digress…
For some reason, this seems like a bigger discussion in the black communities than the white community. We are not going to even touch on the issues of male vs. female because it’s a moot point. A man in his 30s without children is a bachelor. A woman in her 30s without children is an old maid. I don’t see the baby pressure put on an unmarried white woman of a certain age to bear children. The response seems to be “she just hasn’t found the right guy” or “she’s focused on her career”. These responses are obsolete in the black community. There is no pressure to be married first. Honestly, I can count on one hand how many married couples with children that I know but I know a slew of baby mamas. Here are some of the responses I’ve received when stating that I’m not ready for children at this point in my life:
1. Oh you’re not going to have any kids.
How the hell do you know that? It surprises me when I hear this from close family and friends because I’ve never stated that I didn’t want kids. I guess if I was 16 and pregnant than that would be more acceptable.
2. Don’t you know your clock is ticking, girl?
No bitch, you and the other cronies won’t let me forget!
3. You been with the same man for 6 years, don’t you think it’s time?
Time for what?! Since when does the number of years in a relationship determines your ability to be a good mother/father. Ask me how many times I contemplated murder in those 6 years and you might have a different response.
4. Pregnancy is the greatest thing in the world.
Really, because I’ve heard and seen different. I had the privilege of seeing a pregnant friend of mine vomit in her bowl while we were eating dinner. ‘Nuff said.
5. Babies are a lot of work but it is worth it.
Okay I can possibly buy this one. I love my nephews to death. They are my surrogate children in which I don’t pay for daycare, wash or feed on a daily basis. Now if it’s set up like that then I’m ALL in.
With all of this being said, that act of child birth is awesome and disgusting at the same DAM time! I understand the excitement and importance of creating life and there is nothing like that kind of love in this world. And this is why I have not had children. I understood this amazingly hard job from watching my mother handle 3 kids at the age of 25 and we came out (somewhat) unscathed. This is why it scares me to death but I’m entertaining the thought. However, as a black women in this modern society, it surprises me that these questions are still being asked of women. At the end of the day, it is none of your business. There is a woman out there as we speak desperately trying to conceive and the last thing she needs to hear is “when is that baby coming?”.
A woman should not be defined by what she can produce. She should be defined by how she contributes to our society. She is that friend that is always available for a girls night out. She is that mentor for other girls. She is that favorite auntie that takes your kids before you explode. She is that woman in the checkout line that patiently waits for you to get your items on the belt because your kid is losing his mind. Yep that’s her….so give her a break too.