Friday, September 28, 2007

Advice Columnist Asked: How to Deal With Pressure to Breed?

I'm 30 and feel under huge pressure to have kids. What should I do?
[A]s a 26-year-old lesbian, with a not-so-child-friendly career, I sure don't have a burning desire to reproduce. . . . I am repeatedly asked when I plan to have kids. . .

With a lot of my friends turning 30 this year, I've noticed just how much this landmark birthday ratchets up the pressure.. . .[N]early all girls grow up with - a childhood of being given baby dolls to tote around, while our brothers are given telescopes and drum kits. . . .[M]y life was expected to revolve around childbearing - just as my mom's had before me, and her mom's had before her.
Beth discusses how outside pressures should not play a role in our decision, how we should reflect on the benefits of a childfree lifestyle, and how we romanticize parenthood.

This blogger turns 30 in less than a week. I've been married about two and a half years, and spent nearly all of that in law school. I'm continually blessed to exist in a culture that sees women as more than walking wombs, and the fact that I was given trucks and forbidden Barbie is probably no coincidence. The cultures of BigLaw and New York City seem to exist in a separate dimension from the rest of the world; indeed I expect to face far more pressure to break the 1900 billables mark at my firm than I do to turn a little stick blue.

My heart goes out to childfree women who exist instead in the real world, and have mothers that fantasize about showing off grandchildren instead of opening up their own bookstore. It exists on a sliding scale, and these women in turn can look to women in developing countries who are expected to return home from their honeymoons pregnant. Still, when the pressures are infiltrating even the gay and lesbian community, no one is safe.

Resisting those outside pressures might be easier said than done; even if we don't capitulate, the road ahead might not be easy. That is one of the utilities of online and social networking childfree groups and communities - at least you know there is someone that understands. Luckily for this writer, that included the advice columnist.

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