When it comes to love, marriage and starting a family, I believe timing really does matter. Circumstances, options and perspectives change along the way, all of which will determine what the right choices are for us. But as we conclude this series on love and marriage – we have already explored alternative (gay) relationships, the baller vs. the average guy and interracial love – finally, we must discuss staying single.
As you may recall, the purpose of this series was to address things that we can actually do or options that exist, as opposed to rehashing the obvious. I hope that’s been achieved on some small level.
The reality of many sisters of a certain age is that we’re the crew who has waited to have children for different reasons – the right time, the right relationship, the right career, etc. Although, I can hear all of you parents reminding us that there is no such thing as the “right” time to have kids.
However, now that our biological clocks are ticking, the pressure to have a baby is almost like a time-bomb. Too dramatic? Welcome to my world!
While I believe in my heart of hearts that I am destined to be a wonderful mother, and I desire the joy and responsibility of birthing my own child, I am not one of those women who regrets not having children yet, especially from my past marital situation. I am divorced. In fact, I am grateful that I didn’t bring a child into a relationship that did not sustain the love, commitment and comfort that any child deserves. The drama of break-ups and all that comes with them are unfair to children, as resilient as they may be.
Like millions of others, I grew up in a single-parent household, where my mother had all the responsibility of rearing a precocious child like me; God bless her. My father, on the other hand, brought nothing but chaos into our lives and left me with a certain insecurity about a man’s willingness take care of and protect me. For the record, I do not blame men for anything bad in my life, and I do not generalize that all men are irresponsible. To the contrary – I believe in the power of love, and I believe when people come together at the right time for the right reasons, life is lovely.
But in my quest to have my own family, I’ve come to realize that maybe I’ve unconsciously been trying to fill up the hole in my heart that my daddy left. This is hard to admit, but when you remove all of life’s layers, it may very well be that simple at the core. I’ve been in love with love and sought that certain security and trust that a real man can give to a woman who he loves completely. In turn, when a man loves a woman right, there is nothing that we wouldn’t do to make his life on earth heaven.
The point is I want to bring a child into this world with a man who will love and honor me – and our family – forever. I am doing everything in my power to prepare myself physically, mentally, emotionally and financially to be a good partner and parent. And while many of my girlfriends are single mothers – great ones, in fact – I’ve decided that it would be selfish of me to have a child just because I want one and because my biological clock is ticking. Or for that matter be in an unfulfilling relationship for those same reasons. If I never have a child, my life will still be good.
For women like me, we must realize that desperation breeds desperate decisions. Do you really want to make a donor deal? You know, the ones where you agree that if you haven’t met your special someone by a certain time, your homeboy will become your sperm donor? Life is too real to get caught up in fairy tale illusions. Babies grow out of their cuteness, and puberty can be nightmare – remember that?
Don’t try to trap a man by getting pregnant either. If he doesn’t want you before pregnancy then he’ll resent you post-pregnancy. Just ask all of the brothers paying child support, a topic that we’ll discuss in the next blog.
To be fair, most people don’t plan to break up, get divorced or have a child to raise alone. And I know first-hand that unforeseen things happen to destroy a relationship. But since we’re all grown-ups here, I’m suggesting that we must keep our eyes open and minds clear because emotions cloud our heads. And when it comes to bringing another life into this world, responsibility begins with good decisions before conception.
Not having a child does not make any of us less as a woman or incomplete, even if it feels that way sometimes. Fulfilling your life’s purpose and achieving happiness and satisfaction needs to happen beyond the societal pressure of having children.
As an only child, I feel that pressure from my mom, who desperately wants to be a grandmother. And believe me, I want to give her that gift. But today, I realize being a mother is so much bigger than what I want. Life will forever become about someone else.
Having been married, I know what it means to make such a huge decision for the wrong reasons, and when it backfires, it can be life-altering. Sure, in my ideal world, I could
have never imagined myself single and without a child at this age. Nonetheless, I’m hopeful about my future. But for those 70 percent of sisters who are worked up – depressed even – because they’ve never been married, remember that the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side, and the emotional cost of being in a bad relationship is much higher than being single.
My profound revelation: Life without marriage and children is not synonymous with life without love and happiness. Let’s work toward the love and happiness. If marriage and children come with that then all the better.
In conclusion of our “Love and Marriage” series, Some people will never get married or have children, some people shouldn’t. And yes, it’s possible to have a strong romantic relationship without ever tying the traditional knot.
In the beginning, middle and end of it all, we all want love and contentment. It’s really true that love begins within. Whatever state you find yourself in, be content (Philippians 4:11). How do you do that? When you wake up every morning, tell yourself something that you’re grateful for. Focus on what is working in your life instead of what’s missing. It will change your life. Perspective is everything!
What’s your perspective on this, can’t wait to hear…
Deya “Direct” Smith, is a producer on the Tom Joyner Morning Show and host of Girlfriend FM and Beyond the Studio celebrity interviews on BlackAmericaWeb.com. She is also a motivational speaker, actress and social commentator. She can be reached at DeyaDirect@aol.com.