To baby or not to baby

One of my best friends phoned me up the other day and shrilled ‘l’ve got some news’, l instantly know she was pregnant. l was right she’s just conceived her second child. L was thrilled for her and shed a few tears of joy but after coming off the phone l plunged into over analytical thinking about my current situation in life. At least half my girlfriends are married and have babies and both my sisters too. I’m not married neither do I think I’m close to trotting up the aisle and l’m certainly not planning for the pitter patter of tiny feat anytime soon but l’m  ok with that so why did l momentarily panic?

It wasn’t feeling of envy or jealousy about wanting something l don’t have; for all the faults I have envy isn’t ones of them it was more a moment of, ‘should l be having children now? Am l going down the wrong pathway in life’?’Am l missing my window’? Am l defying my genetic encoding?

The thing is l don’t want to have children yet and it’s not because l’ selfish; quite the contrary it’s because l know how much hard work and effort goes into being a good mother and l’m not ready to make those sacrifices in order to play that role just yet l think it’s more selfish to be one of those people who has a baby half heartedly and then ends up resenting the child for taking up so much of their time.

The latest research says that one in thee female graduates born in the 1970s won’t be having children. A well know celebrity magazine also carried out a survey on women aged between 28 and 32 (I fit somewhere into that age bracket} which found that 45 per cent of us consider having children as the bottom of the pile in a list of priorities. Personal relationships came first followed by family and career so hopefully this will mean that newspapers will stop publishing articles accusing us childless women of being career obsesses designer label wearing egotistical creatures that laugh in the face of nature and start focusing on what’s caused this change in women’s thinking.

Being a female from that generation I think I have an idea about what going on. This demographic of people have been affected by two major

social trends over the last 29 years; firstly divorce and secondly the culture of therapy and awareness of child development overall results of numerous studies and analysis find that  children from divorced families are on average somewhat worse off than children who have lived in intact families. These children have more difficulty in school, more behavior problems, more negative self- concepts, problems with peers and more trouble setting into happy relationships. This is not to assume that all children in divorced families are worse than all children in intact families. I’m from a broken home and it has made me respect the institution of marriage and the family unit more because l’m aware how much divorce can tear children apart. So maybe this means my generations of ‘kidult’ are likely to spend more time looking for good relationship before having children which l think is incredible responsible.

I know a lot of older women who want children but just don’t feel they’ve met the right man jet. Forty years ago man and woman met fell in love, got married and had children. Then it all went wrong. Marriages and starting a family occurred with the first or second person you met but nowadays people aren’t just looking for someone who’s available but who’s desirable and suitable in that should be commended.

Money is also a factor. Many women in their late 20s or early 30s are still paying off their student loans and in rented accommodation so how will they be able to afford childcare which is increasingly expensive. Why should people be vilified for considering economic stability which is essential for bringing children into the world?

 And there are those women who have only just stated to enjoy their disposable income and they have the freedom to travel and party and create fantastic experiences for themselves. And why shouldn’t these women celebrate the lives they’ve worked hard to build. If it means they aren’t getting married or procreating for the moment then so be it.

Europe is aware of the decline in birth rates. Due to the continuing trend of delayed marriage and childbirth European commission have organized conferences to examine the problem.

Recent figures in El pais {one of Spain leading news papers} show that only 36 per cent of woman over 30 years was unmarried 10 years ago in Spain compared to 61 per cent of unmarried woman over 30 years in 2005.

A significant number of Spanish women are earning more money than ever before, buying houses and nice cars and do not have to depend on the institution of marriage to provide these material goods. Like British women they are becoming torn between settling down and pursuing their careers.

I’m not sure which category I fall into- maybe a little of all of them but I’m certainly not one of these women who celebrates my freedom and the fact that I’m holding a caipirinha cocktail in my hands and not a baby Neither do L tire to hear about my nephews and friends babies; their first steps, or teething problems. But l enjoy my life without children, uninterrupted quality time spontaneity and  financial freedom l’m not yearning to be woken up in the middle of the night by a toddler bouncing on my bed; bypass the crèche at my gym without pining for kids l’m happy enough to jump on the cross trainer and plug in my pod.

I thought the day would arrive when l felt a void and needed a child to complete me but this day feels like a long way away. I’m still on a quest to make sense of myself in this life and l don’t expect a child to do that for me.


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