November 16, 2013

The Missing 20-something Voice on Making Babies

This post is about to get real personal. I am not an overworked, super stressed young doctor, nor am I "the voice of my generation," and to be blunt, neither is Lena Dunham. The "Have it all" debate has taken place, largely, from a very specific perspective. Much like the Dunham celebration, my peers and I do not understand the commotion around the high powered career and baby conversation. "Having it all" at the same time is a problem for people who have a lot already. Similarly, I haven't ever had the desire to do drugs and have anal sex, nor seriously have to remember if I showered on a given day (seriously, that hipster life is not cute).

Young women of color or of lower socioeconomic class* have completely different conversations, and completely different examples. It has always been understood among women of color that by having your children early (and stopping early), you literally have the rest of your life to do what you want to. In fact, baby making is rarely a heavy consideration, as they tend to come naturally shortly after marriage, or sometime into a LTR. Relationships among my peers are highly prioritized along-side educational/career pursuits. We're not trying to "Have it All," but more of this now, that later, and all in God's time. #Deaconswifevoice

My parents... on a boat!
Allow me illustrate, my mother had me when she was in college at 21. She married my dad about 9 months later, had my brother about 2 and a half years later, then stopped. Still married, my parents are now empty nesters clinking glasses on cruises at 47 and 46. I'll wait while the haters get mad. When my parents talk about my brother and I, people (see: White co-workers) are literally amazed that they A) have adult children at their age and B) that we turned out pretty good. Now my parents do not have illustrious careers, but most people who have "made it" are OLDER. I don't want to call 62 old, but compared to starting at 22 that's a long road. In other words, my mom could still go for Congress if she wanted to, end up in the Senate by 60-something, and be the exact same age as everybody else.

All of this to say, you can believe that 30 is the new 20 in an Oprah voice if you want to, but your body will quickly remind you at 30 to have a seat. Hell, at 25 my body is like, really girl? You are not 17, sit down! (It always starts with what you can and can't eat.) While in Georgia the other weekend, I told my girlfriend that I would like to find a husband while I am still in my child bearing years. She laughed at the way I said it, but then she got real and starting naming some names. Will I move back to Georgia tomorrow? No, but I am exploring my options outside of casual dating with men who have already decided not to grow up. Special S/O to the 40-yr-old dudes w/ roommates in NY!

Maturity and self-awareness go hand in hand. The older I get, the more I realize what is real for me and what is not. Carrying my laundry up and down floor flights of stairs, is real. Me waking up next to Thor with the hammer by the bed, is not. Now, I'm no Iyanla Vizant either, but "fixing your life" is really just about defining your life, and who or what you want in it. Unfortunately, as a woman, there are time constraints on some of those decisions. Putting them off won't make it any easier.

The point is, believe what is true for you. If you know for a fact that you don't ever want children,  stop reading. If you think for two seconds you might, and are under 32, maybe you should take a close look at your dating habits (points crooked finger at self). If you think for two seconds you might, and are approaching 32, like next month, with no prospects (meaning you sized up that homeless dude really quick that's always by your stoop), maybe you should freeze your eggs. If this paragraph just made you mad, let me know why...

Feminism to me is about choices. The fewer you have, the more oppressed you feel. What they don't tell you, is that can happen at 22 or 67, so why not be conscious all along the way?



Full disclosure: I did consider selling my eggs to pay off my student loans, but it's a pretty intense process involving needles. Although, it did inspire a track called "Debt free, w/ a mini-me." It'll be on a mix-tape in the kind of, not-so-distant future.

*I am referencing 55K/yr or below for a household of 4, or equivalent in more expensive states.

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