I know quite a number of young people who do not want to marry or have children. This doesn’t surprise me.
When I was younger, I wasn’t sure having children would be for me. While I grew up in a large family with seven other siblings and two cousins; I still did not think much of kids.
The decision on whether or not to have kids was not something I dwelt on because; in my time, it was sort of a given. The acceptable template for life was straightforward.
- Get educated (University level).
- Youth service.
- Find a job. (Not become an entrepreneur. That wasn’t for young people.)
- Get married.
- Have kids.
- Grow old in your careers and train your kids with the same template you were given.
While I considered myself an independent thinker even then, I never really challenged any of the items.
I was concerned about marriage though. I was scared of getting married. Also, I was apprehensive at the thought of having issues with my future spouse. I am slightly unconventional and not your typical female. I worried about losing myself in marriage. The thought of a man coming into my life and stamping out my identity was unappealing.
Even then, I did want to marry.
I wanted legal sex. And naturally, I wanted my parents to be happy. As at then, they had four women of marriageable age that seemed to be sitting pretty. My mother had already been ridiculed and subjected to parental peer pressure.
So, I got married.
I was lucky because I found a good man to be with who lets me be me. I was afraid of having kids. In fact, I had no experience and secretly thought that I would flop.
When I got pregnant with my first child, I remember crouching in a corner in our bedroom weeping. I wasn’t ready. I had left my former job and was still job hunting. Pregnancy would hold me back. Or so I thought.
Back to what I was saying at the beginning.
I know so many young people or younger folks who are thinking seriously about not marrying or having kids. Some are considering vasectomies and I know at least one who had her womb tied. I admire the Millennials (or Generation Y, those born from the early 80s to mid-90s) and Generation Z.
They are having amazing conversations on social media sites and defining themselves (also finding terms to define themselves). Nothing is strange or unheard of. It is easy to find people who think exactly like you and form a community that nurture and validate each other.
I did not really have that. I was born in the late 70s. There were so many things that were never talked about. I lived in the world of books and knew so much but I still conformed to what the society was like.
I recall throwing at my mother the possibility of me not wanting marriage. She had screamed and called for my father. I was resentful of the traditional wife images all around me and did not want to fit in those moulds.
I did not know of any ‘aunty’ or ‘uncle’ who had never married. Divorced or widowed, yes. Unmarried, no. But today, the younger generation and many young people casually speak about not wanting certain things for their lives and I am all about that sort of freedom.
Not everyone should have the same things. This is because not everyone wants the same thing.
But I recently came across a Twitter thread that was of concern to me. Young men and women talking about considering vasectomies and hysterectomies. A person can do whatever they want to their bodies. But I would seriously recommend waiting a while before making decisions that have permanent consequences.
Remember I told you about crying when I got pregnant after marriage because I was scared of having kids and the timing was off?
Well, I went to a program at church after the positive test result. I was moping on my seat when an altar call came for women trying to have kids. I was stunned by the number of women that came out.
At that moment, I realized that what I had gotten so easily was a tall feat for a lot of women. Even though there was so much I was uncertain about; I decided that half of life was about personal bravery and walking into unknown territories.
Having my children remains the brightest spot in life as my oldest turns 10 this December by God’s grace.
There have been tough moments but then, even life without kids is challenging. I am very glad that I did not make permanent decisions concerning marriage and having kids.
How you think and feel is subject to change no matter how strongly you feel about things.
I think that young people should wait to revisit how they feel about having kids when they are older before making definite decisions with permanent effects.
Indeed, I think it is rash to have a vasectomy in your early 20s.
I am reminded of a story I heard in my childhood.
There was a hairstyle that rained years back, I was told. It was akin to having a mullet haircut where the back of the head had long hair. In fact, some used to shave off the sides completely.
Some guy decided to use permanent treatment that would ensure the hair at the sides and front did not grow again. Well, you know how that ends.
The hairstyle was a brief fad. The guy was prematurely bald-headed forever.
Now please, I am not diminishing decisions not to have kids by comparing them to fads. No. I am saying that things change. People change. Give room for that.
It is a tad childish to be certain of how you will feel in the future.
Na advice o.