My parents never gave me the “When are you going to give us some grandbabies” talk. In fact, my parents encouraged me to wait as long as possible to have my first child. They told me to enjoy my pre-baby life as it was then and to settle into motherhood when the time was appropriate for me. So that’s what I did.
When people would ask me if I had children, I’d reply “no.” When asked if I wanted any, I’d always say, “Maybe, we’ll see what happens, but no time soon,” and that would be that. I rarely received an odd look or a follow-up questionnaire to provide my reasons for not wanting a child at that particular point in my life.
I appreciated that because I typically heard otherwise from so many of my friends and colleagues who have felt the pressure mounting year after year as they’ve reached late twenties. Those in their early to mid-thirties tell me they really get it from their families (particularly mom) and friends. One friend tells me her boss incessantly reminds her that she is nearing 35 and that the risk of down syndrome in children increase the older the mother is when she births her child. I try to put her at ease by letting her know that my mother had me at age 36…and I don’t have down syndrome.
I say all that to make a point about the pressure I now feel to have baby number two. At one time I wasn’t sure that I wanted to have children at all, and I’m not sure now if I want to have a second one. I believe in a divine plan; if I am supposed to be a mother of two (or three, four, or five), it will happen. But the pressure for me to force it along seems to be coming out the woodwork every which way I turn. My well-meaning mother, who previously all but ensured I waited as long as possible to have baby number one, is now beginning to start every other phone call with, “So when do you plan on getting pregnant again? You should really begin to plan for the next one, Gwen. Babies are like Lay’s chips: you can’t have just one. And besides that, Caiden told me he really wants a little brother or sister.” (Keep in mind that Caiden is 6 months old. The only thing he’s saying right now is “Mama” and “Dada” and even those are few and far between.)
If it were up to my husband, I’d already be pregnant. Although I must give him credit for being just about the only one not laying it on extra thick. Since I’m still trying to recover from the labor I endured six months ago, I am in no rush to have another right now. I’m thinking maybe three to five years from now, I’ll be ready. But I’ve been told that’s way too much of an age gap. What folks don’t realize is that my sister and I are 16 years apart (me being the younger one); we are very close and we do just fine. So for me, three to five years is NOT a big deal.
But even my doctor has started giving me the “older mother” talk, pointing out that I’ll be between 32 and 34 when baby two shows up, if my plans move along as I currently wish them to. She pulls out all these charts and graphs and sends me home with scary pamphlets showing all the “risks” associated with having a child past age 30.
My co-workers, friends and even not-so-close associates all are on my back about having a second kid within the next year and a half. At one and a half months into my 29th year of life, I really don’t think I’m that old. Geez…
My conclusion is to pull a Lauryn Hill and tell people to mind their own dang business. Baby two will show up if/when Mommy one is ready.
Have you ever felt the pressure to have another kid from family, friends or even outright strangers?