I love babies, I’m just not sure I want to have my own.
It feels scary to say that because as author Ayelet Waldman knows from firsthand experience, being a woman who says anything but “I love children! I can’t wait to have them! They are so cute!” gets attacked for breaking some kind of secret rule of womanhood.
But part of what drives all of the anxiety about single women has to do with cultural scripts about women having children.
Our culture demeans single mothers, despite the fact that Barack Obama and Bill Cosby, among others, have pointed out that there’s something of a fatherhood crisis in America, to put it lightly. So you’d think it’d be good news that there are probably a growing number of women out there who aren’t rushing to get married and make babies — but not so much.
There is evidence, though, that other single women feel this way. The writers over at Clutch Magazine tend to make a note of this, which I appreciate. They wrote about Kelly Rowland’s thoughts on the matter as quoted in a January 2012 feature in Marie Claire UK.
“The interviewer asked Kelly if she feels pressured to settle down and have some babies now that her superstar bestie Beyonce is expecting her first child,” Clutch wrote. “Kelly, who’s been all about her career lately, says she’d like kids one day…just not now…while many of us do want to get married and start families, these days, most of us just want to live and build our lives before we settle down. And yet…most women — famous or not — are STILL hit with the ‘so…when are you going to get married and have babies?’ question. I don’t hear people constantly asking Kanye West or Trey Songz if they want to settle down anytime soon. No, they get to focus on their careers, but women must always contend with the question.”
This is true. I thought I was an exception to this until my 91-year-old grandmother slid it in during a holiday car ride recently. Whatever, she’s 91, she gets to ask, even if I don’t have an answer.