Societal Pressure On Single And ‘Childless’ Women.
In a few week’s time, I’ll be turning thirty-five. Society keeps telling me I should be married with 2.5 kids and a white picket fence by now. Although, following the herd has never been my style!
Like every girl, I’ve dreamed of having the fairytale wedding. Growing up, Cinderella was my favourite bedtime story. I think most girls have been planning their wedding day since the age of five. I certainly spent many hours playing out the fairytale in my mind.
I used to set age limits that I hoped to be married by, and I also set age limits for becoming a Mother. I think my original age limit was either twenty-three or five. When I hit that age with no prince charming in sight, I pushed the age limit out to twenty-seven, and from twenty-seven to thirty. After all, society tells us, if we’re not married and pregnant by thirty our biological clock is about to tick us over into never, never land.
I used to stress about this, the pressure made me feel worthless – like I had failed my role as a woman. Until one day, something magical happened… I grew up! I realised that relationships aren’t about fairytale weddings, they’re about the reality of sharing your life with someone – forever!
Unfortunately, too many women ignore the reality of this, too wrapped up in their childhood fantasy. Combine that with societal pressure and you end up with women settling for the butler instead of the prince.
When I look to the couples around me, I’m saddened to say that most of them are not right for each other, they are pretty unhappy, and probably shouldn’t be together. They settled for the wrong one because time was ‘running’ out. They convinced themselves that being with the wrong one, is somehow better than being alone (free to meet the right one).
It is often these types of women who ask us ‘sad single gals’ questions like “Are you married?” “No.” “Got a boyfriend?” “No.” “Oh, I’m so sorry” they reply with a look of pity, as if they are somehow ‘better’ women because they aren’t tragic enough to be single.
If only they realised they should be pitying themselves for choosing to live a life that is less than they deserve. It actually makes me sad to think of how many women are living in miserable relationships, because this societal pressure has demonised their worthiness of being a woman in their own right. A lady once said to my Mother “I think Stacey is being too picky, you can learn to love someone you know”. WOW (as I shake my head in disgust), is all I’ve really got to say about that!!
I’m often asked “Why are you single?”. A pretty stupid question with only one obvious answer: because I haven’t found the right one, and unlike those who are prepared to settle – I am not! Being alone doesn’t scare me as much as being with the wrong person.
I’m also asked a lot if I desire to have children, and to be honest I’m not so sure these days. I had always thought I wanted children, but lately I’ve been seriously questioning whether I truly do or whether it’s just societal pressure. I guess you could say that if I found the right guy, I probably would, but if I don’t then I think I’m quite happy not to have them.
I have several friends who have chosen not to have children (for various different reasons), and guess what? All of them are living very fulfilled lives despite being ‘childless’.
Some women want children so desperately, that they will stop at nothing to have them: a one-night stand, a sperm donor and IVF treatment, which of course, is perfectly fine, but why can’t it also be fine that some of us don’t have that burning desire? I’m a little old fashioned and believe that children should be created from two people who love each other, and if I can’t do it that way, then I’d rather not do it at all.
Surely, that is my right as a woman to decide whether children are right for me or not, without the judging eye from society? Surely, in this day and age, we as women have the right to make these choices without being made to feel that we are ‘less’ of a woman for going against the grain of societal norms?
Sadly, although we have progressed in many ways as a society, we have not progressed from imposing pressure on women to fulfil the outdated role of ‘womanhood’ – the expectation to be barefoot and pregnant, is still very much alive!
Some women have tried every available option to have children and still haven’t been able to. Do we seriously think it’s morally right to be placing societal pressure on them? Where has our compassion gone for these women? I’m sure it is upsetting enough for them without society making them feel that they are ‘less’ of a woman.
Why can’t society just mind their own business and let women live their lives in which ever way they (or the Universe) decide is right for them?
I’m thankful to finally be in a place where these societal pressures no longer bother me – I’ve removed these self-imposed timelines, and the pressure that goes along with it. I’m proud to be single, proud I haven’t had children with the wrong person, and proud to know I deserve more than just the butler. My prince will come along exactly when he is meant to!
To all the single and child-FREE women out there, that haven’t reached the freedom from societies bullshit pigeonhole, I say “RISE sister, RISE!”. You have always been and will always be more than enough, just the way you are. ‘Me, myself and I’, woman enough in your OWN right!
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