Ask Elaine: 20-something feels pressure to pick between kids, career


Hi Elaine: I am 25 years old and love my job and myself. Working as a journalist makes me happy. But I feel the pressure of choosing my own career or starting a family. I don’t want to look up and regret it. Many women say that being a mother is the most fulfilling aspect of life. But being a mother and being professionally successful both seem to be in demand, and I hear many women say it’s one or the other. I find myself avoiding relationships and miss out on intimacy and social fulfillment. But as the eldest of six children, I spent a lot of time alone growing up, so I had a deep sense of independence. I grew up feeling bullied and isolated because I was constantly challenged as to how independent I was. . that’s my job. However, I would like to know how to overcome this pressure of having children or choosing my own career.

intersection: You made it very clear that you weren’t ready to choose between your career and your family. You have plenty of time to discover what you want out of life. And as you gain experience, you will be able to make more informed choices about what you want. We all have different priorities in different seasons of life. But basically, I don’t think these two options of hers are against each other. Stay on the path you are most passionate about and trust that when the time comes to reprioritize, your pure desires will guide you. No doubt it was instilled by the opinions of others.

Some women choose between children and careers, but just because it doesn’t feel right doesn’t mean you have to. More than 71% of mothers in America work. You can absolutely do both if that’s what you want. There’s also a thriving community where voluntarily childless women live their best lives and if you’re interested in going that route must be used.

But this is not a question of having children or not. Underlying your question is the idea that you didn’t make a decision and now you have to. Let’s unpack it.

There is no one or both scenario here. At least it doesn’t have to exist. You can design your life to accommodate one or the other, or both. We must stop perpetuating these false dichotomies that pressure women to think restrictively about their lives and identities.

I’m curious, who are the women at 25 who say you have to make a choice in the first place and why do you believe them over your own instincts? Decide what you want and balance that advice with different perspectives. Set boundaries with those whose opinions fuel your insecurities and seek out women who live the lifestyles you’re interested in. The choices you make can be fulfilled in many different ways. . If you don’t pay attention to the input you trust, you can easily “should” yourself throughout your life.

On a practical level, if fertility is a concern and you can afford it, freeze your eggs to free up mental space and literally and figuratively put your decisions on the shelf for later review. You may consider putting

In the meantime, not knowing if you want children is no reason to avoid a relationship. Many people have healthy relationships without knowing if they want children. A person who only wants to be with you if they agree to have children early in the relationship is not the right partner for you. Be open about where you stand in building your family and keep the dialogue going along the way.

Have a question for Elaine? Submit it here.

On the other hand, if abstaining from both dating and sex is your way of avoiding the possibility of getting pregnant and being forced into a lifelong role you’re unprepared for, by all means, do what makes you feel safe. I believe that the choice of when, whether or not to become a mother, or how to become a mother should be yours alone, but the reality is that depending on where you live, this right I know some readers will be offended that I’m here, but I have to say that this topic doesn’t exist in isolation.

Whatever you do, don’t force yourself to make life choices before you’re ready. Making lifelong decisions based on fear of missing out is never a good idea. Keep questioning your beliefs. Continue to dismantle fear. Keep designing the life you really want to live. Because you are the only one who has to live it. Hope this helps.

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