I would like to have children. Actually, I’d start with the one child and go from there. I would get one of those Baby on Board badges and glower accusingly at men on public transport who don’t give up their seat, perhaps sighing with the weariness of one bearing the future of the human race upon her bladder. I would give into my food cravings and start a blog detailing the latest combination of sweet, sour and savoury that has my friends recoiling in gastronomic horror. And most of all, I would love that little baby with every fibre of my being, taking precious moments between sleeplessness and frustration to feel blessed.
This is all hypothetical of course, since I am single and approaching the age of 30 which, as all good Christian girls know, means the best of God’s young men have been taken. It’s a bad idea to try having kids after the age of 35. So the newspaper, the radio and society as a whole tell me. Which means I have just five years to find, date, fall in love with, marry and get pregnant with the man I’d like to spend the rest of my life with. Five years on a ticking clock, as my ability to conceive diminishes rapidly, that is if I can conceive at all! It’s not as if I’ve been trying thus far.
Many years ago, my Dad told me that loving me and my brother was easy but that loving my Mum was a choice. Long after my brother and I have (hopefully) flown the nest, they will be together, choosing to love each other until death they do part. Finding a partner in life is a huge responsibility, greater perhaps than having children.
So why must I wait to have a child, when I may never find that partner? Why are we expected to plan for children only once we’ve married? If I reach 35 still single and, let’s face it losing my looks, do I hold out the hope that 36 will be my year, or 37? Living in eternal hope is a beautiful thing, but it’s tempered by our life expectancy: I will die one day; will the fact I lived in hope be enough to satisfy my eternal soul?
I know several single mothers and they don’t make it look easy. They have found support in family, friends and colleagues, and, for those of faith, in their church family. They are not raising a child alone, they’re raising it within a new family structure, one no less loving, and one that has become more familiar with the rise of the divorce rate. This is the age of the family fracture.
If I want to be a mother, I may have to make it happen without a husband. If at 35 my knight in shining armour is still back at the barracks, saddling his horse, I may have to take matters into my own hands. I would warn my family, my friends and my church that I’m taking a slightly different course. I would ask for their support and acceptance. And most of all I would take the responsibility on without a traditional father figure.
He can always join us later.
threads asks: Should Christian single wannabe-mothers ever take matters into their own hands?