Stress Awareness Month: 6 tips to help you mange symptoms (and avoid burnout)
Stress Awareness Month: 6 tips to help you mange symptoms (and avoid burnout)

Jennifer McShane

Lizzo slides into Chris Evans’ DMs and his reaction is everything
Lizzo slides into Chris Evans’ DMs and his reaction is everything

Shayna Sappington

What’s on: What to watch, stream, read and listen to this April
What’s on: What to watch, stream, read and listen to this April

Holly O'Neill

Soggy veg at the bottom of your fridge? Tips to make sure your produce lasts until your next shopping trip
Soggy veg at the bottom of your fridge? Tips to make sure your produce lasts...

Megan Burns

Lidl Ireland to provide free sanitary products in effort to combat period poverty
Lidl Ireland to provide free sanitary products in effort to combat period poverty

Sarah Finnan

Sea swimming essentials every first-timer should have on their list
Sea swimming essentials every first-timer should have on their list

Sarah Finnan

Niamh O’Sullivan shares a glimpse inside her home office in Co Kildare
Niamh O’Sullivan shares a glimpse inside her home office in Co Kildare

Grace McGettigan

Image / Editorial

Why Having Kids Shouldn’t Be About Finding ‘The One’


by Jessie Collins
18th Jul 2017
blank

Growing up, fertility was mostly about not getting pregnant, then all of a sudden you seem to fall?off a childbearing cliff. We need to break this cycle.


If, like me, you are born squarely in the middle of Generation X, then you more than likely have been through your 30s, and a raft of fertility situations that have had as much to do with society and what was seen as acceptable, as it has been about your choices, your body and advances in the medical profession.

From being part of the generation where teenage pregnancy was a real issue, and a major stigma, when going for the morning-after pill felt totally shaming, yet only slightly less so than the potential curtain call of having a child in your teens, or on your own. So much of that was informed by scaremongering, religious and societal hangovers that ran deep.

And in the midst of that, our faces were pressed hard up against the career glass, our value wholly transferred to doing well in school, college and then all accolades outside the home. No one aspired to be a mum or a parent. It wasn’t even mentioned. We went to college, we travelled and got to the know the world. We enjoyed great freedom. We came back to find that Ireland had changed, a little. We were just beginning our career moves.

We then lived through the hedonistic times of the Celtic Tiger, which rolled and dipped and tossed many of us in different directions. With it came a certain amount of liberation, but our mental wiring was really laid down in the 70s and 80s. It was boom time, yet most of us were just trying to get by, and hang on to reasonable expectations, our minds still moving towards those distinctly 20th-century goals, meet someone, buy a house, start a family.

Then houses became unaffordable, and for many, Mr. Right never came along. Because, yes, we were focused on work and growing up, and maybe living a little too vicariously through Sex and the City, but popular culture was still telling us to wait for ‘The One’. When people talk about women ‘leaving it till their late 30s to get pregnant’ (like they just couldn’t be bothered, the dirty stop outs), what they don’t mention is that often it’s not their careers they are delaying things for, but the right man.

Recent studies have found millennial and xennial women are opting for egg-freezing in greater and greater numbers. This topic always seems to be treated with vaguely misogynist tones, an image of a careerist and (that dirty-word) ‘ambitious’ young executive having the temerity to control her fertility. The truth is many are not meeting someone they want to partner early enough, or at all. It’s time to completely reconfigure our notion that we have to wait to meet that person in order to start a family.

The family unit, in order to adapt and thrive, needs to become a much more fluid thing. The person we have kids with, may not be the person we end up living with. You may end up raising them together while living apart, having a blended family with another partner, or raising them with a bunch of friends who just want to co-parent. Who says the original construct needs to be so entrenched? It was, after all, a construct set up to facilitate men’s goals and needs in the first place.

I think a lot of women of Generation X felt that even having a baby even in their 20s would have potentially been disastrous. If we are going to encourage women, and men, to have kids younger, we also need to give the support and make it acceptable to do it differently. Perhaps many will still opt to wait, but there is no guarantee in either scenario that the family you end up with will be the one you set out to create.

And that should be more than okay.

Also Read

blank
EDITORIAL
MHQ: ‘Before we put more countries on the list, we must know how they will be taken off’

By Amanda Cassidy

Taylor Swift
EDITORIAL
I was not a fan of Taylor Swift. Then I watched her documentary

The documentary Miss Americana has shown a different side to...

By Edaein OConnell

blank
EDITORIAL
Here’s how you can watch a new short film starring Paul Mescal

Paul Mescal fans, this one is for you… A 14-minute...

By Jennifer McShane

Has society become more tolerant of the idea of dating interracially?
premium IMAGE WRITES, REAL-LIFE STORIES, RELATIONSHIPS
Interracial dating: “People kept asking ‘where is she from?'”

With diversity on the rise, what struggles do interracial couples continue to face today? Filomena Kaguako speaks to three couples about their experiences.

By Filomena Kaguako

blank
AGENDA, EDITORIAL
TV presenter Kate Garraway’s husband ‘may never ‘have any kind of life’ after Covid battle

By Jennifer McShane

Rosanna Davidson and her twin boys
premium REAL-LIFE STORIES, PARENTHOOD
Rosanna Davidson: ‘I had sort of accepted that I was a girl who couldn’t have a baby herself’

For Mother's Day Lia Hynes sits down with Rosanna Davidson, whose exceptional journey into motherhood has given many hope.

By Lia Hynes

shells cafe
EDITORIAL
A Sligo cottage is transformed into a cool and cosy surfers’ haven

Still one of our favourite homes ever, the easy-breezy interiors...

By IMAGE Interiors & Living