For the Record, I am Also Whole as I Am
I want to congratulate Jennifer Aniston for her brave and well-spoken blog post “For the Record”. Having children has been the most complicated and intense inner conflict I have ever faced, and the society we live in absolutely makes you doubt your value as a woman, and frankly a human being, for choosing to, or not choosing but being forced to, not to have children. I have not written about this previously because it is very personal and very real and has caused me a great deal of anxiety since I got married only two short years ago. I’m also pretty certain it was the underlying cause of the significant anxiety attack I had back in January.
I am 33. I am not ready to have kids, and my husband and I know that is the right decision for us and our family today. I have come to terms with this and now know this, and I am accepting this. But I’m 33, and today’s society will tell you there is no time to wait and you’re putting an unborn child’s life in danger by waiting, and you’re pretty much washed up and have no value in child-bearing after age 35 anyway. I find this to be incredibly unfair, and there is no blanket statement like this that can cover every scenario and each person's story. Every woman and situation is different, and it should be up to the small groups of individuals involved to make decisions based on their personal knowledge of the situation and not for everyone to throw their judgment around.
So I ask, why is our value reduced to this one extremely difficult decision or any decision for that matter? I personally believe I will be able to make a greater, positive impact on a larger audience if I do not have children because children take a lot of energy and attention away from pretty much everything else in life. I am not saying that is a bad thing but I don’t know why my value has to be assessed based on that one decision in life. I’m not ready to be the kind of parent I would want to be if I ever did decide to have children. I still have a lot of work to do to improve myself and a lot of confidence to gain before I would feel comfortable in my ability to parent and instill confidence in a child. I don’t have the skill set yet, so why am I shamed and discounted for making a very difficult and more responsible choice?
Jennifer Anniston is definitely right when she says we are all accepting this behavior as a society and we need individuals to start changing their behavior to shape a new societal value on women and the choices people make for their own lives. We need to stop the judgment because it is only harming ourselves. So I write this, not because I am comfortable doing so, but to continue the message to value people as they are and not to some bullshit expectations driven by judgment, shame, and ridicule.