The 9 Stages of Grief You Experience When Your Parents Start Pressuring You To Have Kids, Like, Now
Spending time with your family over the holidays can mean lots of great things — emotional support, bonding time, sneaking nine extra glasses of mulled wine while your parents watch a Hallmark Channel movie about a dog that helps Jennie Garth find a husband for Christmas. But it can also mean spending a lot of time tangling with your family's expectations about you and your future ... and, more specifically, the future of your uterus. Yes, of the many holidays we celebrate in December and January, there is none so irritating as "The Feast of When Are You Just Going to Have a Baby Already?"
These in-person parental confrontations about the status of your womb can be wildly stressful, especially if you're uncomfortable with just going limp and playing dead until your folks leave the room. Your baby-hungry parents are obsessed with questions that don't have pat answers: "When are you going to have a baby? You have a partner, why are you guys waiting to have a baby? When are you going to find a partner, so that you guys can have a baby? Oh, no, don't tell me you don't want a baby — you'll want to have a baby when you find the right partner. BABY BABY BABY YOU HAVE BABY BABY YOU HAVE IT NOW BABY BABY YOU POST PICTURES ON FACEBOOK FOR ME BABY BABY YOU BUY IT FUNNY ONESIE."
There are several distinct stages of grief that you'll go through once you realize that your parents are going into mourning every time you get your period. I'm not going to say they're like the Kubler-Ross stages of grief, but I'm also not not going to say that. Here are the 9 phases of grief that you go through when your parents start pushing you to have kids.
Stage 1: Denial
This is probably just another of my parents' passing fancies. Remember that one Christmas, where they decided I wasn't getting hired for any of the jobs I applied for because I wear too many stripes? And then we saw some movie with Judi Dench in it, and they totally calmed down and forgot about the whole thing and ordered a pizza. I'm sure that's what's happening here. In fact, to push things along, let's check in and see what Judi Dench movies I can take them to today...
Stage 2: Fear
Wait, THERE ARE NO JUDI DENCH MOVIES OUT RIGHT NOW! Oh my god, The Imitation Game isn't even playing in any theater within 20 miles of our house! What am I going to do?! How am I going to distract them and make them focus on a topic that isn't egg harvesting or egg freezing, or how my standards are too high or too low, or how no one will put a baby into me because I wear too many stripes?
Stage 3: Anger
Well, how the hell is what I am or am not pushing out of my lady business any of their business? And also, how are they telling me one second that I need to hurry and have a baby, and the next that I'm irresponsible and that's why I have no money? How the hell does that one work, Mom and Dad? Aren't babies kind of notorious for needing things to eat and wear and poop on and live inside? How can they go on and on about how I need to have a baby, while treating me like a baby myself? AND WHY AREN'T THEY SAYING ANY OF THIS SH*T TO MY BROTHER?
Oh, I am going into the family room and giving them a piece of my mind, and I don't care WHAT they are watching on ABC Family, this takes precedence.
Step 4: Yelling
"Why do you think you're the boss of my body?! I'm a grown woman! I'm a mature adult, and I know how to run my own life! Why do you even want a baby so bad? What do you need them for? Do you eat them to maintain your evil witch strength? I HATE YOU I HATE THIS FAMILY I WISH I'D STAYED HOME TO WORK OVERTIME AT MY JOB!" [Door slams; My Chemical Romance poster from high school falls off bedroom wall.]
Step 5: Bargaining
Okay, okay, what if I tell them I'll freeze my eggs? I could say that with a straight face. Maybe I'll even do it, but even if I don't, they can't, like, check, right? What if I tell them I'll definitely have a baby within the next ten years? That'll give me enough time to figure this out on my own, right? Oh my god, figuring out a fake answer to placate my parents seems to have actually overtaken figuring this issue out for myself. Funny, that.
Step 6: Mourning
Okay, well, maybe I don't ever get to have a conversation with either of my parents again that doesn't involve them pointedly mentioning someone I went to high school with who now has four kids and "looks great, so don't put having a baby off because you're vain — trust me, the sooner you have them, the easier it is for your body to bounce back." This is my life now, and perhaps it is best to just accept it.
Step 7: Lying
"Okay, fine, Mom and Dad, I'm havin' a baby! Yup! Your rude, relentless hounding on the issue finally convinced me! It had literally never crossed my mind to consider my future and whether I might want a family — until you brought it up 18 times in the past 72 hours, and now I finally get it. Yes, please, set me up with your friend's son who lives in Tampa but visits New York a lot, I am sure we have many things in common and will immediately fall in love forever, and give you these babies that you desperately crave. Yup. Just as soon as I finish this round of Candy Crush, gonna go do all of that."
Step 8: Exhaustion
What can they possibly be hoping to get out of going after me like this incessantly? Is this genuinely how babies are born? Oh my god, is this how I was born? Someone just kept asking my parents when they were going to have a baby, and they eventually just had one to shut them up? That's a horrible thought...and wouldn't it be even more horrible if I actually gave in and had a baby before I was ready, because of all this familial pressure? I am officially checking out of family life. I cannot handle a second more of this.
Step 9: Acceptance
I may be stuck in my parents' house right now, but I am a grown woman with my own life, my own body, my own desires, and my own priorities, and I'm not gonna let anyone wear me down or make me feel shitty about them. Besides, even if I had a kid, my folks would just be hounding me about when I'd have my next kid, or how I was raising them. There's no way to please people on these issues.
The next time someone in my family asks when I'm going to have a baby, I'm gonna hold my head high and say, "Oh, really soon — just as soon as I figure out how they get them up there in the first place."
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