I'm 18 - stop asking me if I want kids
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You should babysit, you need some practice! How many kids do you want? When will you start? I bet you can't wait to be a mum!
These could be compliments, right? I mean, they're well-intentioned. Perhaps they would be, if I weren't 18 years old. Eighteen. And these are things I hear on a weekly basis.
Surprising? Not if you're also an 18-year-old girl.
Right now I don't even know what I'm going to major in, unless you count Netflix. I'm in my first year of uni, learning and doing some of the most exciting things in my life. I'm making mistakes, making friends and figuring out who I am. I'm not really thinking about children. I might not even have children (although apparently I can't say that out loud). Maybe I will. But not right now.
So, why am I sitting down and writing this instead of working on my assignments? The truth is, I'm worried. If this is what I hear now, what will I hear if I'm in my 20s and childless? What sort of assumptions will be made by people who hardly know me?
Last week, while sipping my overpriced (yet delicious) latte, I heard a conversation that went a little like this:
Person A: "Do you realise they've been married for two whole years and she's not pregnant?"
Person B: "They must be having trouble. Poor girl."
Me: (sighs internally)
How out of place should this be in a 21st century hipster café? But it happened!
We have the right to choose when and if we want to have children. I'm certainly not judging you if you do.
It's our choice. Your choice. A decision that no-one else can make. It really is quite extraordinary that in 2017, I feel compelled to remind you of this.
Please don't misinterpret this: I like kids. I have the coolest little nephews and nieces who send me into hysterics with their adorable antics. But for now, I'm happy with being Aunty Kat. I don't know if I want kids yet, and I don't need to know.
After all, I'm 18.
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