Q Dear Miss Abigail:
My husband and I live in a major metropolitan area, where the average age at marriage is about 37.5, and the average amount of time that elapses between wedding vows and baby bottles is somewhere in the neighborhood of 11 months.
Our problem is this: we wed at the infantile age of 27, planning to pursue the Yuppie American Dream (travel, dinners at restaurants, fancy electronics . . . your basic hollow, materialistic existence) for a few years before settling into the world of minivans, purple dinosaurs, and soccer games. But now that we’ve passed our one-year anniversary, our married friends are beginning to question our childlessness.
They tell us how tiring it is to have a child at their age, and how enriching it is for the marriage, and how ~ knowing what they know now ~ they would’ve had their kids sooner. I would love to politely tell them “please, don’t drag us into your mid-life parental crisis,” but I don’t know how. Your advice would be welcome!
28, energetic, fertile, childfree, and HAPPY ABOUT IT
A Dear Childfree:
Right on, sister! I think your friends are jealous, as well they should be. Look what they are missing out on! And who wants a minivan anyway? Not me.
You have plenty of time to have kids. Why not enjoy your years of freedom while you can? And as you can see in this quote from Margaret Sanger, birth control rights leader, she agrees.
1940: Premature Parenthood
Two years at least are necessary to cement the bonds of love and to establish the marriage relation. Parenthood should therefore be postponed by every young married couple until at least the third year of marriage.
Why is this advisable?
When the young wife is forced into maternity too soon, both are cheated out of marital adjustment and harmony that require time to mature and develop. The plunge into parenthood prematurely with all its problems and disturbances, is like the blighting of a bud before it has been given time to blossom. . . .
Married love does not spring fullgrown into life. It is a delicate plant and it grows from the seed. It must be deeply and firmly rooted, nourished by the sunlight of tenderness, courtship and mutual consideration, before it can produce fine flowers and fruits. This period is as essential for human development as the period of body-building and adolescence.
It is a period of mutual adjustment. It is a period of spiritual discovery and exploration, of finding one’s self and one’s beloved. It is a period for the full and untroubled expression of passionate love. It is a period for cultural development. It thrusts forward its own complex problems ~ problems, let it be understood, intricately complex in themselves. . . .
Love has ever been blighted by the coming of children before the real foundations of marriage have been established. Quite aside from the injustice done to the child who has been brought accidentally into the world, this lamentable fact sinks into insignificance when compared to the injustice inflicted by chance upon the young couple, and the irreparable blow to their love occasioned by premature or involuntary parenthood.
For these reasons, in order that harmonious and happy marriage may be established as the foundation for happy homes and the advent of healthy and desired children, premature parenthood must be avoided.
Source: Sanger, Margaret . Happiness in Marriage. Garden City, New York: Blue Ribbon Books, 1940.
~ pp. 192, 195, 203 ~