“Separating children from marriage? Sure, we do it, and perhaps we must.”

Olive thinks that we should separate childbearing from marriage entirely because part of the reason why so many people get pressured into marriage when they aren’t ready is so they don’t “run out of time” to have kids. D.A. Wolf agrees, but with one caveat that came when her life was turned upside down by two kids despite her plans.

This is a comment by Olive and D.A. Wolf on the post “A Perfect Age for Marriage?

Olive says:

I think women should separate childbearing from marriage, especially if they took the time to get educated and build a career. There’s no need to find a husband to do that, just a willing man. If that fails, there are sperm banks too.

What’s important is that under no circumstance should a woman put pressure on a man to procreate. I’m still a die-hard romantic in this regard, and I feel that a man should be doubly more willing to have children than to get married. I couldn’t care less if a man wanted to marry me or not, but I certainly want to hear that he’s chosen me to be the mother of his children.

D. A. Wolf responded:

I agree with Olive on this one, but with caveats.

Separating out childbearing from marriage is what an intelligent woman will do — I believe — certainly a woman who is considering becoming a “choice mom” rather than one making the terrible decision of whether or not to continue an unplanned pregnancy.

I was, at one time, a single 32-year old woman wondering exactly that. At the time, I made a decent living, but there was no man in the picture. I knew I had a few more “good years” ahead, and frankly, I wasn’t particularly interested in marriage – unlike most of my friends. Motherhood, to me, was also something I hadn’t set my sites on in the way most women do.

Still, at that age, I felt compelled to consider my options, and concluded that raising a child alone — with all the unknowns and no family support system — (note, I say raising a child, not giving birth to one) — that was a 20-year undertaking I couldn’t imagine, and I wanted any child I had to know two parents if possible, and not one.

It’s ironic that just a few years later I was in fact raising two children on my own … Precisely what I hadn’t wanted …

And having lived through the experience of slugging out parenting day in and day out, while trying to pay the bills and raise decent young men in a chaotic world, I will return to that caveat I mention to Olive.

Pregnancy, babies, even toddlers are one thing. Raising a child? It really does take that village, and in my opinion, as many good, strong role models as possible to do it right. Theoretically, there is stability and greater likelihood of that in marriage. But that’s theoretically—or—looking at the glass half full, that’s the case for 50 to 60% of the population (making some assumptions).

Separating children from marriage? Sure, we do it, and perhaps we must.

Forcing women to feel inferior if they do not marry (or remarry)? It pushes some into marriages that are disastrous, with lifelong consequences.

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  1. The problem with just finding “a willing man or a sperm bank” is that you not only make sure a child doesn’t have a father, you also take away half of the grandparents, aunts/uncles, and cousins your child can have. Those are people who will love your child as family, and who may sometimes be called upon to help you out. “It takes a village” is kind of vague, but grandparents are not. My feeling on intentional single mothers is that it sometimes seems they have a need to prove that they alone are enough. I guess if you have a huge extended family and lots of resources, well, then maybe you can get through. I think it’s probably a very rough life indeed if it’s you and your child against the world.

  2. The Wet One says:

    Yeah, a man here. So you can totally disregard what I have to say if you wish.

    For my part, I think that a married couple is the best situation to raise a child. Not because it’s natural, or moral or any of that, but simply because it’s its hard to do. Many hands make light work.

    For women who don’t find a worthwhile man before they run out of their best years for childbearing, that’s a bit of a quandry and I have no comment on that.

    For single moms out there, they need all the help and support they can get. However, they are not entitled to it. Society just isn’t set up that way, and we’re a long ways off from people supporting women and kids just because they’re women and kids. As one ex-girlfriend put it, she won’t tolerate any other woman in my picture because she expects all my resources and efforts to be expended on our children and on her. I feel pretty much the same way towards another woman’s children. They ain’t mine. Cold. Harsh. Fact.

    Such are the angles that one must consider when making their way through life.

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