Aunty, why do people keep pestering me to get married and have children?
4 September 2020 |
Dear Aunt Sevvy,
I’ve been working hard on my career since I was young. I love my work, and I make good money. On my time off I hang out with friends or travel. Yet lately people have been hinting—or even saying to my face—that I need to “settle down,” get married, and have children. I’m happy with my life right now as a single woman and, while I’m not opposed to marriage, I see no need to make it a life goal. As far as kids are concerned, I love my brother’s and my friends’ children, but I have no desire to have my own.
One aunt in particular will not leave me alone: every time I see her, she talks about how it’s a woman’s duty and glory to raise children. She says I’ll change my mind when I get older. If I have to hear the words “biological clock” one more time…
Signed, Single and Loving It
Good for you! It is a rare thing for people of any age to know who they are and what they want. It sounds like your life choices have led you to exactly where you want to be in your life. It is delightful to hear that there are people out there in the world living exactly the lives they want.
It sounds like your aunt has some antiquated ideas about women and their role in life, society, and the church. Many women (and men!) are deeply fulfilled in their role as a parent. Being a parent alters your life completely and irreversibly, and many women (and men) find it deeply fulfilling. For this reason, they cannot imagine how life could be fulfilling or happy without children.
But their lack of imagination doesn’t mean that everyone else should choose the exact same life as they do. Imagine if someone could not imagine what their life would be like if they weren’t, say, a redhead. And because of that, they believed that every person should be a redhead because they couldn’t possibly be happy any other way. While that is, of course, a simplistic example, I think it does a good job of illustrating how silly it is to expect that everyone should make the same life choices or they couldn’t possibly be happy.
People have many reasons for choosing not to have children. For some it’s an ethical choice because they do not want to bring children into a world that seems so dark. Some don’t want to pass on a cycle of abuse from their own parents to another generation. Some don’t want the lifetime commitment that children require. Some believe they can’t afford the expense that children represent. And still others are simply happy without children in their lives and do not have a desire to have some of their own.
Whatever your reasons, they are valid. It is your life and your choice. And your aunt should respect that choice. Even if she wouldn’t have made the same choices herself.
Cheers to you in your happy singlehood.
You can write to Aunt Sevvy at DearAuntSevvy@gmail.com. Please keep questions or comments short. What you send us at this address won’t necessarily be, but could be, published—always without real names. Aunt Sevvy writes her own column, and her opinions are not necessarily those of Adventist Today’s editors.