I would like to get something off my chest. I don’t actually hate children. I don’t hate pregnancy. I have been lying to you. I have been lying because I am tired of defending myself against people who think they know my body and my evolutionary drive better than I do. People that seem to know that “accidents happen” and that it will happen to me soon. Isn’t that just to be expected, now that I’m getting married?
I am tired of feeling like it is time to give up on my career and time to focus on family. Isn’t that why I found a supportive husband in the first place? I am tired of needing to justify and push everyone away by making grand and bold statements, and saying that I think babies are ugly and why would you want them?! (I guess I sort of do think it’s true, but the real truth is that I want to not have to explain my real reasons, and all that you need to know is that I have them.)
I am tired of this being a measure of assessment for interviewing for a job. Did you know if you are a young woman in a relationship in her mid- to late-twenties, finding a job will be more difficult for you? It’s quite obvious you will be going on mat leave shortly after you start. That’s an expense the company doesn’t need to handle. Better take off your wedding ring before you go into the interview.
I am tired of people telling me my strides toward the future are useless, and that inevitably they are not worth my time. Comments like, “You could get pregnant any minute,” and “You know you’ll be preggers before you finish your degree,” take my dreams and cut them up into tiny little pieces. And I am left picking them up and putting them back together, and all of a sudden I start to wonder if I’m putting the dream together wrong, and that maybe the dream should be the house, with the husband, the dog, the three children, the family events and activities. Why bother trying? My career is a waste of time. I only have another few years to work on it. And it won’t matter anyway, because by the time I go back after having kids, there will be nothing to go back to. Plus, you’ll love staying at home with your babies, and you won’t want to leave!
Maybe you’re right, but you don’t know for sure and I’m tired of you thinking that you do. That is you being presumptuous. That is not my dream. That is another’s dream. Neither dream is any less or more honorable. But one of them is mine, and one of them is not mine.
I don’t know if I will create a successful career, and I don’t know if I will create a successful family. I do know that these two things are not mutually exclusive. We should be talking together about how we can support each other with child care options, moral support, and encourage each other’s pursuits without putting an expiry date on them. Dreams should be endless, they shouldn’t be something to be restricted by “realists” who are trying to “help” point out the “obvious.”
It is not obvious. And until you are me, and you live in this body and you wear these shoes daily, you don’t get to make assumptions on what I do with it. I am not your dream and your assumptions. I am my own.