5 Ways to Say “No” to the Social Pressures of Having Children

Having children is one of the most beautiful experiences any woman could have. To love a child and to share one of the strongest bonds possible with them is a feeling that many would agree is nothing short of amazing. For most of my life, I’ve believed that I would one day be a mother, and that I would be good at it. I would teach my child to be compassionate, and to work hard to chase their dreams. At the same time, I would learn to be brave and always stand for good reason. Like all things, though, that must come in proper time, but as I approach my 30th birthday, everybody is beginning to worry that it may never happen.

As watching my friends’ pregnancies brings me closer to the idea of having my own, that pressure from my family is slowly jackhammering me down. I can’t help but imagine throwing away my cell phone and taking a long vacation to Tibet to relax and get away from it all. It’s not even that they’re saying I’m too old or too selfish; what hurts me most is their idea of “framing up a guy” just to get a child. I can’t possibly entertain such a thought, even if it was the only way to “persuade” a man who doesn’t want children.

Before starting a family, I believe that you should have a long-lasting, deep relationship with your partner. This bond should be able to survive baby night shifts, and function even with a lack of sleep for months at a time. Although I want to experience the love between a mother and child, but before that I would not mind to experience to be a wife.

If you’re in the same position as me, where calm explanations simply are not getting through, then I have some good tips. Here are a few strategies to help you say “no” to these pressures and hopefully get your point through.

1. Learn the Art of Changing the Subject – An old trick, but it doesn’t always work depending on the person. Nevertheless, it’s always worth a try when you hear something like, “You know, you’ll be an old mother picking up your children from school. The other parents will be suspicious!” While I’m sure most of us would like to tell them to mind their own business, that may not be the best way to handle a family relationship. Instead, try to bring up a new topic, such as, “Oh, did you hear that Adam, my old friend from school, went to Cambodia for two years?”

2. Take a Bathroom Break – The bathroom may be the perfect place to escape from an uncomfortable situation for a few minutes. When you notice the cloud of argument forming, painting you as a bad mother before you even get the chance to have a child, try excusing yourself until it passes.

3. Play Verbal Ping Pong – This technique is quite well-known to anyone trying to avoid uncomfortable topics, although to be effective, you need to know your opponent. The goal is to answer their question with a question, hoping that they either trail off topic or become tired of not getting any answers and drop the conversation entirely. Note that this may need to be repeated several times before you see tangible results.

4. Tell a White Lie – A small lie in the name of peace barely counts, right? If the other methods don’t seem to be working, this may be your best bet to get your family off your back. Simply tell anyone trying to push you that you are, in fact, trying to have a baby. Since pregnancy cannot be controlled, saying that you’ve been trying without success should make them happy enough. Furthermore, if you want to completely drop the subject, you can add that it’s a sensitive topic and you’d rather not talk about it.

5. Be Assertive – This is not an ideal or effective way to end the endless pressure, but it will at least be more compatible with your decision. Remember that convincing others of your opinion may be a never-ending battle with unequal chances of winning, but it’s still worth a shot. Maybe you’ll get lucky and win a few of the arguments!

 

photo by Katarina Wolnik-Vera: sesiones de fotos en Barcelona

Great thanks to Ellielove for proofreading

 

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