I remember my 33rd birthday like it was yesterday. I went to work on that day to complete a report. When I got there, my co-workers had surprisingly decorated my office with balloons and had cupcakes waiting on my desk. As a few of my co-workers and I sat around eating the cupcakes, one of my elder co-workers decided to probe me. She asked how old I turned and when I told her, she replied, “ain’t it time you start thinking about marriage and kids? You’re getting up there, girl.” I just looked at her in amazement. I eventually wanted those things, but until that point, I had not been questioned about when it would happen. Rushing into such commitments didn’t cross my mind until the lady asked me that question. Of course, she got in my head, and I began to second guess whether or not I was in the right place in my life by being single and childless. Forget that I had a decent job, my own spot, degrees, etc. The fact that I didn’t have a partner or kids stuck out like a sore thumb.
I started to panic about my dating life and my eggs. I then had a conversation with my mother, who calmed me down and said I had the power to choose the life I wanted to live, and marriage and children, for most people, are a choice. Choices I could make when only I was ready – not when society deemed I was ready. She also added, “and yes, your egg count does descend the older you get, but all you need is one good egg to make a baby Sam…not a million.” At that moment, I realized that society’s plans for me were not conducive to my own, and because I am the only one who has to live my life, I decided to design it how I saw fit.
I’ve accomplished so much over the years in my life and career. But what always amazes me is that these accomplishments, in some people’s eyes, hardly ever trump being married or having kids. Because I set out to achieve a few things before I took on the serious tasks of raising another human and committing myself to marriage, I’m seen as an outcast to society. When in my opinion, more people should thoroughly consider if kids and marriage are what they really want for themselves before taking those huge steps. As I think about it now, if I had married and had children in my 20s and early 30s, it would have been for all the wrong reasons. I would have only done both because society showed me that those things are what I was supposed to accomplish as a woman to fit in. When in actuality, doing these things before I had a better understanding of who I was would have led me down a road of regret.
I decided to pursue motherhood and marriage at 39-years-old because I think on a different level now, and I’m more self-aware than I’ve ever been. I’m not saying that either will be easier because I’m doing it at 39. I am saying is I’m more prepared now and consciously making this choice on my own without the pressure of society. I now know what type of partner best suits me and my life. Also, at 39, my parenting will be centered around raising a decent human being in this world who is self-aware, wise, can survive on his own, and understands that self-love is paramount. I didn’t think like this before.
I share my story because I want to dispel the notion that women have to do things according to society’s rules. No woman is obligated to marry and have kids if that’s not their desire, and no woman should be socialized to believe they’re lacking if they don’t wed and procreate by a certain age. We can live our lives according to our plans without having a time clock hung over our heads. We make the choices for our lives, not society. And if you don’t believe that it’s possible to design your life to fit your wants and needs, allow me and the other women who’ve taken similar paths to be your inspiration. Be very intentional about your life, and the rest will fall into place.
Your life, your choice.