Misaligned Expectations

I feel pressured to consider marriage and having children as a checkpoint in life

More stories from Sophie Delaney

We Heard You
May 18, 2023

Kara Simpson

Sophomore Sophie Delaney holds two baby dolls Feb. 23 in Room 151. Delaney feels there’s a pressure for women to have children and get married as soon as possible.

Would dying alone really be that bad?

Picking someone to spend the rest of your life with shouldn’t be treated as a task to put a checkmark next to. People shouldn’t feel rushed to find the “right person,” or even any person at all.

Don’t even get me started on my family’s assumptions about me having children.

So often, something is casually mentioned about my future wedding, future husband, future children. 

I can’t think of a time when a family member asked me if I actually plan to get married or start a family. Instead, they just assume I will follow the footsteps of almost every other woman I know: have some man put a ring on my finger that is destined to stay there until the day I die and, along the way, push out a few babies I will love forever but only if they fulfill my unrealized dreams.

Not every parent is a good parent. Not every partner is a good partner. Not every person needs to get married and have children to become a respected member of society.

I think I’m a good person, but I know I’d be a bad parent. I think recognizing that is one of the best things someone can do. No child deserves a bad parent and I don’t want to be part of that problem. There should be no shame in that. Having children isn’t for everyone.

Adults will occasionally say something starting with “when you get married,” or “once you have children of your own.” I usually default to smiling and nodding until the topic changes. It’s unrealistic for me to decide what exactly I plan to do when I’m an adult. I’m just not ready.

That’s why it makes me so uncomfortable whenever I’m pushed into those conversations. The other person doesn’t even consider that I might not have the same plans that they have for me.

I want to make my own decisions, whether that is getting married, having a life partner or staying single. I could have my own children, adopt or have none at all. I could even do something completely different.

As long as I’m the one making that choice.