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This morning, I was watching the Today show, where a hot topic was about a tough conversation doctors are now having more frequently with career women in their 30s: whether to put off having children until the professional boss moves are lighter or practically done.
I celebrated my 30th birthday at the beginning of the year, and I got so many inquiries from family and friends surrounding why 1. I’m not married and 2. I don’t already have children. I’ve even been told that I’m already a bit old and that I should go ahead and start a family “before it’s too late.”
I’m quite sick of this to be honest, and here’s why: I fought all my life to avoid the teen pregnancy/high school drop-out/Welfare-mom stereotype. I graduated high school with honors, attended college, graduated, and got a job after that. I’ve been able to break into one of the most competitive and challenging media markets in the world, all before the age of 30. I’ve lived on my own, paid my own bills, and enjoy an awesome life of a boss in the making. I’ve beat many odds, yet I’m still hampered with questions that insinuate I have not yet “arrived” because I haven’t had children.
I’ve even had men suggest babies before marriage, with quips like “You’re so beautiful. I want you to have my children,” or “You should be my baby mama.”
Sorry, sir, but I’ll pass.
This same millennial frustration is echoed by many of my peers who are between the ages of 25 and 35 and chose to pursue their dreams and get their lives in order first—then focus on family and a husband. Many of our elders grew up in a world where a woman finds her husband (or baby’s father) in high school or college, marry right away and get to the home-making. I grew up with traditional values. I want to be able to give at least 80% of my time to my family and kids. But for now, I’d like to set myself up for a good future for them and live out my boss moves bucket list as well.
True, there are pregnancy risks where age plays a role. And it doesn’t help that African-American mothers have disproportionate instances of premature births and other pregnancy-related health issues. But I won’t be rushed into a life-changing decision due to fear or anxiety. Many women have had healthy pregnancies and babies despite statistics and so-called societal norms.
So, no shade to the young hot mamas out there or those who chose to focus on motherhood early in their lives, but for all the young women out here constantly bombarded with questions and advice to fast track them to pregnancy, I feel your pain. And I won’t be rushed. I have faith, and I believe everything happens for a reason and in divine order. True, there are risks to waiting to become a mother, but what’s life without risks? It’s a personal decision and every woman has her unique circumstances.
I’m choosing to wait. And I’m perfectly fine with that.
What are your thoughts on the choice between motherhood and career? #Soundoff and follow Janell on Twitter @JPHazelwood.