Everyone’s talking about Janet Jackson, pregnant at 49. Hey, if that’s what she wants, good for her. Go girl. Unfortunately, for this childless, single woman, the whole media storm seems to have given people the justification to offer commentary on my personal life.
Janet Jackson is having a baby; see there’s still time for you!
Don’t worry, women are having children older and older… met any husband-material lately?
Pregnant at 49! How old are you again?
Yes, these are honest to goodness bombshells laid on me over the past week. It drives me bonkers that in this day and age, people still presume that the culmination of a woman’s purpose and ambition is to procreate. Furthermore, that if you reach a certain age without having a kid or two, people shower you with sympathies. Again, the immediate assumption is that you are either incapable or haven’t had the opportunity, and are hence distraught and unfulfilled.
PSA. Not every woman wants to have children. Some of us made a conscious choice not to.
And no, I’m not a horrible child hating monster. In fact I’m really good with kids. My boss’s 4-year-old has a huge crush on me and I adore him. However, for a variety of reasons, I decided that wasn’t the life path I was going to take. I have no regrets.
I get that people are trying to be compassionate. However all you’re doing is reinforcing societal gender expectations and making me feel judged for not adhering to them. I also often feel dismissed – people brush aside my convictions:
You’ll change your mind someday.
You really don’t want kids? <raised eyebrows in disbelief>
My favorite was: Don’t wait until you’re too old and regret your decision.
So I should have an unwanted child now, while I’m still physiologically capable just in case someday I change my mind? That doesn’t particularly seem like a clever idea.
It just goes to show that society has clearly defined expectations for women heedless of personal predilections. Luckily I’m pretty good at doing what’s right for me and I refuse to force this round peg in a square hole.