A Brand New Pressure For You
Just in case you didn’t have enough stress right now, I wanted to turn your attention to a recent article where its sole purpose seems to be to make you feel guilty.
Time magazine just wants you to consider as you struggle with family building (or consider putting it off) that your biological clock also affects grandparents. What? You aren’t living your life for your parents? Then you’re DOING IT WRONG.
The article wants to remind you that you inability or lack of desire to procreate affects the older generation. Susanna Schrobsdorff writes,
While we were worrying about our biological clocks and our careers, it didn’t occur to us that another biological clock was ticking down: that of our parents’ health. And while medical science keeps coming up with new ways to prolong fertility, thwarting the frailties of old age is harder.
And yes, everything she says is true, but that doesn’t mean that it should have weight. Would any sane parent really want their child to enter parenthood just to please them before their child is ready to do so? It makes as much sense as a person grabbing a partner before they’re ready to marry just to please their parents. And yes, I’m aware there are people who do this, but that doesn’t make it a sound idea we should be recommending to others.
This article got under my skin because of course I’m cognizant of generations aging. If I’m aging, then everyone else is aging, too. I’m too aware that when I’m racing a clock for myself, I’m racing it for everyone else who is running alongside me.
A lot of factors go into the timing of parenthood, and adding the age of grandparents into the equation in order to enjoy a longer period of health (which, again, isn’t a given) pushes past the boundaries of reasonableness. Which Schrobsdorff grudgingly admits,
If I had thought about all that, I might have gotten pregnant a few years earlier, just to give my kids that little bit of extra time with my parents in their prime. Of course, it’s not as if my sister and I could have chosen exactly when we met the men who became our children’s fathers.
Schrobsdorff’s cry of “Don’t forget grandparents in the high-pressure calculus of modern life” isn’t a helpful take on the equation. It’s just one more reminder of another contingency we’re letting down in a situation that is mostly outside a person’s control.