People are “peer pressured” for different reasons in their lives and the types of pressure change with age group. For example when you are in high school there may be pressure to get good grades, go to college or even experiment with drugs. When you are in your 20s, the pressures change to getting a “job with benefits”, getting married and starting a family, which mean having children. The pressures that may come in your 20s may be further pressed upon you in your 30s and start to dwindle in your early 40s. In your 40s, the pressure categories change and you may be in your career so advancement may be a new goal pressed upon you, along with making sure you are saving for retirement and your kids graduating and going to college, embracing the empty nest which usually continues into your 50s. The 60s come and the pressures switch to slowing down, traveling, and talks of retiring.
My best advice; don’t be pressured into having or not having children. Don’t allow yourself to be pressured into adopting, fertility treatments or biologically having children when you don’t want to. Children are a lifetime, yes lifetime, commitment that will change your life forever. Making a choice to be a parent is a wonderful gift, choice and opportunity, but only if it’s one you want. Being told; “when you see your baby, you will fall in love” or “I understand I felt the same way and when I became a mom I loved it” or “Your biological clock is ticking, it’s now or never.” Don’t allow yourself to succumb to this pressure, you and only you (and if you are married, your spouse) know what best.
Working in the adoption world, I get asked constantly, have you adopted? (especially when they learn we have 7 children, result of a blended family.) When I say no, the first question is why not? The next question is well, have you considered adopting? It wasn’t that I ever made the decision NOT to adopt, I just never made the decision to adopt. I was never for or against adopting myself, the time was just never right and the stars never aligned.
I also believe that not everyone meant to be a parent, some people have very high career goals that will absolutely monopolize every moment of their time. Others may have dreams of exotic and frequent travel, or may just want to focus on the married or single life and have a clean house or maybe they really just don’t like children or feel the responsibility of being a parent is overwhelming. I have had birth mothers tell me that they want to place for adoption because this is not the right time in their lives; they need to get their life in order and achieve stability before they can be a good parent to a child.
Other birth mothers have stated that they didn’t have a good childhood and because of that, they didn’t want to have children or they really just don’t want to be a parent (which is then usually followed by an unnecessary apology). The reasons for birth parents choosing not to parent are sometimes very reflective of why non-birth parents choose to not have children; they are not in a stable relationship, they have personal goals they want to achieve (a maybe certain level of school), they want to begin a new career and climb the ladder, or maybe after having one child, they think – “I have reached my limit.”
I have found that working in the school systems and in the adoption world, many people who work with children, may choose not to have them. But the adoption questions still persists for many people who work in the adoption field. I can tell you that I see more commonly that people who have adopted choose to work in the adoption field, but I don’t see as many people working in the adoption field adopting. Regardless of the field you work in choosing what is best for you and if you are married, your relationship.
At the Donna K. Evans Foundation, our number one goal is to empower, elevate and assist women in believing that they matter, their adoption choice matters and that negative life cycles can stop. We believe in the power of hope, promise and the will to succeed. As a community of adoption supporters, it is critical to support life and the power of it. Being a believer in life does not have to stop at the birth of a baby, but continues through the life of the birth mother.
The Donna K. Evans Foundation
8433 N. Black Canyon Highway Building 6, Suite 158 Phoenix, AZ 85021 (602) 595-8592