Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Peer Pressure

Things are happening right now, man. "Things." Grown up things.

So many people I know got engaged recently. Like, yesterday, or last month, or at Christmas. And the people who weren't getting engaged were getting pregnant. Or doing what it takes to get pregnant so they could announce their pregnancies while everyone else was done announcing their engagements.

It's one thing to be single when people are getting engaged. You're happy for them while simultaneously wishing it was you all happily in love, but there's usually a sense of "someday".

It's another thing to be a woman who isn't planning on having a baby when everyone else seems to be announcing their pregnancies.

See, I have a couple of girlfriends, both happily married, who have chosen not to have kids and they're happy with their decision. As are their husbands. The only problem they have is with their friends and family. And the whole, entire world.

It was one thing to deal with peer pressure in high school when all your friends were drinking and you didn't want to, but how frustrating to have to deal with people expecting you to do something just because you have the physical capability to do so.

I don't know if my life will lead me to a place where I'll have children, but I do know I'll go through the stages of questions from some people.

I already get asked the inevitable "So? When are you getting married?" or "Why aren't you married ?" that women over a certain age hear from time to time. (Or, all the time from those distant relatives who mean well)

And I'm sure that once I meet Mister Perfect, the question will subtly change to "When are *you two* getting married?"

I also know that once I'm happily ensconced in my ever-after marriage, the question will become "So. When are you two having kids?" or "How long til we see some little ones running around?"

I know there's a natural, typical progression of things. I used to sing the songs in elementary school myself; you know "Fred and Suzie sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G. First comes LOVE, then comes MARRIAGE, then comes a BABY in a BABY CARRIAGE!" I know what our society thinks boys and girls are supposed to do: You kiss, you fall in love, you get married, you have a baby. End of story. I *know* many many people are very happy doing just this.

I just wish people were more sensitive.

I wish people had a different fallback question when talking to women, whether they're single, married, child-less, engaged, or what.

I would just like to see my girlfriends who don't want to have children not have to constantly defend their choice, to just be able to live happily ever after just the way things are.

Life happens. Growing up happens. People get engaged. People get pregnant. Let's just not assume that everyone is going to. And let's accept that not everyone wants to.

Enough with the pressure.


Blogger Laura said...

No kidding! I remember a couple years ago when Chris and I had been together about 5 months, and one of my best friends had just moved in with her boyfriend of 7 months. Chris and I hadn't even discussed moving in together yet, although I was starting to think he might be someone I'd like to live with at some point. My friend just blurted out to us one evening, "so why aren't you two living together yet?" It was incredibly awkward and embarrassing because I didn't even know what Chris thought about it and it was just a rude question if you ask me.

Chris and I did just get engaged and I'm happy about it, and we do plan on having kids, so I guess we're on the typical path that society always expects. But that is because WE choose to. I wish everyone could just butt out of those personal issues - when will people realize it's just as touchy a subject as talking about religion and politics with people you just met?!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 8:39:00 pm  
Blogger Victoria said...

It sure would be nice if people could butt out of those personal issues, eh?

And maybe your friend was well meaning in her newfound happiness. (You know how happy couples always want everyone to be dating and happy. Kind of like that.) But still... how awkward. And, yes, rude. :\

We should officially add it to the "don't talk about" list. Religion, Politics, Relationships/Marriage/Babies/Etc.

: )

ps. Happy sigh for your engagement! : D

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 9:16:00 pm  
Anonymous Yvonne said...

Once you get old enough people don't ask anymore. Not sure if I'm relieved or insulted by that. >;-D

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 9:56:00 pm  
Blogger Victoria said...

hee hee!

resulted. It's my new word for when you're both relieved AND insulted at the same time!

; )

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 10:44:00 pm  
Blogger Celebrate Woo-Woo said...

And don't forget...you can't be pregnant just once. After the first pregnancy ends, the question is when you'll have more, even if the first time around you got more than one kid out of the deal.

I honestly don't know how so many people can just speak without a slightest bit of thought first. I've never asked someone when they're moving in together, getting married, having kids, etc. It is none of my business and in no way affects my life whatsoever whether or not they do any of those things. I suspect it's a result of a society full of insecurities; they think you're not joining them means they shouldn't be happy with their decisions (or something like that).

Wednesday, February 28, 2007 6:08:00 am  
Blogger Catlin said...

I totally agree with you! People used to ask us all the time when we're gonna get married or when the kiddies were coming. It was really irritating. Now that we're together for almost 4 years, they've finally given up! We should all do things when the time is right.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007 7:08:00 am  
Blogger Jordan said...

When you said "to deal with people expecting you to do something just because you have the physical capability to do so" I thought, sure I can punch myself in the face. But I don't want to right now thank you.

Not that relationships are like being punched in the face. Well maybe some are. But I think the good ones aren't. Head shot relationships probably mean it's time to move on. Whereas a gut shot probably means you're somewhat heavily emotionally invested and should stick around. Just to completely skew the whole metaphor into many different and wacky ways..

But yeah.. that pressure is there and is a reality because that's the generaly weight and bent of society around us. I used to feel those pressures greater. Now they just join the other ones that only assault me twice or thrice a year until I wrestle with them and remember that I'm happy and content with the way and pace things are going.

I think I big part of way being asked the whole question affects you is the intent you sense behind it. My grandpa said "you aren't getting any younger" to me the other day and I thought it was funny, cute, and sweet. Way to go Gramps! But he can say that to me as a concerned and kind grandpa. When other people say it as if you've got some disease or like it's some country club membership and you're the lawn boy, then it feels different. I just figure part of it is their own unresolved jealosy over the fact that they don't enjoy the freedom that I do and can't do wild and frivolous stuff with as much ease. At least that's what I tell myself to get through the days. :) lol

Wednesday, February 28, 2007 7:22:00 am  
Blogger McGone said...

Guys get it too. And when you are dating a girl younger than your self, as I am, you get a lot of "You're not getting any younger, you know."

The best part though was trying to figure out what I was getting her for our first Christmas together as she and I had only been together around 3 months at that point and every other woman I knew asked if I was shopping for a ring. I ask you... WTF?

(And I am having major blogger issues today - sorry if you got this about 8 times, V)

Wednesday, February 28, 2007 7:56:00 am  
Blogger dilling said...

There has been no pressure from either side about kids...thankfully, though I know we disappoint the grandmothering instinct in Michael's mom...I hate that part. She's so nice. She'd be a GREAT gramma...

Wednesday, February 28, 2007 9:56:00 am  
Anonymous Slinger said...

yeah, we have 3 kids, the youngest being 7 months old, and EVERYONE keeps asking "So, when is #4 coming?" I used to get the marriage question all the time as well, since I was almost 30 by the time I got married. It's retarded.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007 11:53:00 am  
Blogger Victoria said...

Woo-Woo: Boy, you know... I didn't even think of that. That once you have one kid people might just start asking you when your next was coming. Man, oh man.

I think that's what gets me too, is that,like you said, so many people seem to think without giving it much thought first.

It's just also reminded me of being in grade 12 and everyone asks you what you're going to take in University and where you've applied and have you thought about what you want to do.

It's maybe also part of the whole culture that has us looking at Christmas in the malls in September. Rush, rush rush.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007 9:02:00 pm  
Blogger Victoria said...

Catlin: Maybe people will stop asking me when I'm getting married when I'm old and grey with 20 cats? LOL

I completely agree with you... do things when the time is right! For sure.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007 9:06:00 pm  
Blogger Victoria said...

Jordan: I'm glad to hear you don't feel like punching yourself right now! lol
I'm also glad to see you're able to take a metaphor and run with it. Run!!!!!heh

It is a bummer that that pressure is there, but fair enough to point out that we do kind of let ourselves feel the pressure too, and that we need to be happy with where things are.

I wonder. Would anyone ever say to a kid "you aren't getting any younger"? Like.. hey there four year old. You aren't getting any younger.. you may want to get on that bike and learn how to ride it soon, eh?


we're crazy, us humans, no?

Wednesday, February 28, 2007 9:30:00 pm  
Blogger Victoria said...

McGone: Man, oh man... Did you not know? You are actually, technically getting older..right... now! And.... NOW! Geez. You're not getting any younger, you know. I, on the other hand, am! It's one of the perks of being a super secret spy. The "getting younger" syrum. Yep.

Gah. I can't imagine getting the "are you ring shopping?" question! I'm so never telling anyone when I'm in a relationship. I'm going to lock my boyfriend up and never talk about him. Then? No awkward ring questions.

Maybe just some phone calls from his friends and family and work wondering if I know where he might be.

(Sorry you're having Blogger issues. I feel your pain)

Wednesday, February 28, 2007 9:33:00 pm  
Blogger Victoria said...

Dilling: I started telling my Mom a couple of years ago "I might not have kids, you know." Mainly just to try to stave off the "soooo?" It's good that you don't feel pressure from your folks or his : )
I keep telling my Mom she can always look after my puppy when I get one, and she's like, NOPE!

She'll cave!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007 9:36:00 pm  
Blogger Victoria said...

Slinger: Wow, "when's #4 coming?" That's incredible! People really ask you that,eh? Are they serious? Maybe half joking?????

Oh dear.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007 9:38:00 pm  
Blogger Celebrate Woo-Woo said...

Oh, good point about the rush, rush, rush. We can't just let things be; we must always move right from being in one stage to thinking about and planning the next. I think those of us that can be content with one stage at a time without immediately thinking about the next should be allowed.

Thursday, March 01, 2007 5:44:00 am  
Blogger Victoria said...


We should be able to just sit and be happy in the stage we're in. : )

Thursday, March 01, 2007 7:45:00 am  
Blogger CJ said...

I agree with you 100%!
Just as people are por-choice for abortion, it should be the case for people who are married and not wanting to procreate.
Where I reside, here in Seattle, there is some sturring of controversry on such a topic.
The Jet City, which is known to be one of the most liberal cities in our nation has been fighting for same sex marriage for some time now. The latest ruling is that it shouldn't be allowed. The reason stated is because marriage is an intitution for a couple to produce offspring, and a couple that is same sex obviously can't do so. That being said, there is an orginization trying to pass an initiative numbered I-957. The initiative says that if you're married you have to procreate within three years of your marriage or it is anulled. If you physically can't have children, still, your marriage is no good in the eyes of the state. Additionally, if you're going to get married after this would be law is hypothetically passed, you must provide documentation stating that you have the capability to produce young, and if you're moving in from out of state and you already have children, you must birth another in the state or your marriage is unrecognized.
I feel for the couples that don't want children, because it really is their choice, and I have friends who don't plan on having children, and I support them. It's gone far beyond the ideas of peer pressure these days, to the point where people who can't be married because they are same sex and the government says it's because they can't procreate, turn to those of us who can, and say that we must.
Peer pressure is now out the window. Having children has become politically correct, and that's something which is a must to avoid offending certain groups of people.
It should be noted that the state is taking this initiative as a joke, a severely un-funny one, but a joke nonetheless. Futhermore, the mainstream Gay and Lesbian organizations aren't supporting this local groups motives.

Monday, March 05, 2007 8:55:00 am  
Blogger Victoria said...

Wow, CJ. Just wow.

Where do people come up with these things?

Actually, I can guess.


Monday, March 05, 2007 5:53:00 pm  

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