A voice cut through the loud and chattering hullabaloo of the market. “Aunty Tasha?” I looked across the table in surprise.
“Oh, hey you…”
“Wow, it’s been a long time since I saw you last.”
She smiled, “how are you?”
“Ah somewhere between blah and meh,” I laughed.
“Afta, yu gat hamas bebe na, uncle blo wea?”
Over and over, I am asked to answer the same question. And the thing is, it’s not even a surprise, it’s such a common question. But why do we still hold such value in the belief that women should be raised to marry and bear children? I don’t have an issue with marriage, except for the increasing pressure that is placed on a woman when she reaches a certain age to be married. As if her worth is somehow tied to wearing a wedding ring, and that being single after a certain age is seen as a problem.
But the truth is, there is no problem. There is nothing wrong with being single, strong and independent. Your life is yours to be lived, even if that looks a little different to what a lot of people consider to be ‘normal’. People will tell you all that yeng-yeng and see you as “old” because you are moving past the age where a lot of people do get married. And yet here you are, independent, smart and taking care of yourself. When you know exactly who you are, enjoying what you have is a satisfied success.
Growing up in a society that places great emphasis on marriage and children is a lot of pressure and has engulfed many women into thinking they are not worthy, not good enough, feeling unaccepted for their decisions of wanting something else.
I remember at 24 I was told it was time to consider settling down. And at 25 I was told again that I must have a child before 30. And I was like, really? Is that all people expect from young women these days? Is that the only way to measure a woman’s worth?
So now what? God forbid being single, getting married and bearing children at 30?
Deciding on marriage is not as easy as picking an apple from a branch; it does not happen overnight. Neither is deciding to have a child as simple as walking down the street, finding a random guy and saying, “hey, I want you to give me a baby.”
While everyone is telling you; you better find someone, you better get married, you better have children. You hardly hear people telling you, this is how you’ll know if you are ready for such a commitment. And most women today, we want to hear that. It is never about age or what society expects from you; but the question you must ask yourself; am I ready?
And the moment you have your answer, you’ll experience this overwhelming peace with every decision you make.