By Kanisha Parks

“I want to be married with at least two children by the time I’m 28.”

At least, that’s what 14-year-old me said. You know how it is—you have all of these life expectations for yourself set long before you even reach adulthood, (many of which are shaped by societal “norms”). You probably knew who and what you wanted to be, what you wanted to do, how much money you wanted to make and when, etc. I mean, these were the kinds of conversations we had during lunch. But things change.

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Here I am now: 26, happily single, unconcerned with marriage or a relationship and completely unbothered about exactly when those things will even happen for me. Many of the girls I went to school with have already either gotten married, had children, or both, and while I’m happy for them it didn’t make me feel like I was doing something wrong. But sure, there are still times when I do ponder, “Hmmmm…I wonder when I’ll get married . . .”
It’s almost an unspoken rule in our society that women should be married and at least working on kid #1 by the time they’re thirty. According to the Huffington Post, research even suggests that there are reasons why we should get married in our twenties. But clearly, all women don’t want the same things.

These days, many women choose to focus on themselves and their careers first. Celebrities who had children after 35 include Jennifer Lopez (38), Mariah Carey (41), Halle Berry (41, 47) and who could forget Janet Jackson (50). Sure, it can be assumed that celebrities have the money to pay for IVF, surrogacy and other costly methods that help women have children. Gabrielle Union married Dwayne Wade when she was 41 (after being married previously), and admits that she has since struggled with infertility and had 8 or 9 miscarriages.

Still, other celebrities like Rihanna (30), Tracee Ellis Ross (45), Naomi Campbell (47), Oprah Winfrey (64), have not married or had children and look perfectly happy. It’s obvious that women can and do have full lives with or without marrying and/or having children.

So at 26 no, I don’t think women should feel pressured to find their “perfect match” and start pushing out babies. For me personally, I’m focused on God, working, saving, and enjoying my life! Yes, I want to get married and have children but I know that God already knows the plans He has for my life and those things will happen when He decides.

Jasmine Ahnie, who is a 26-year-old actress, says:
“I’m not at all concerned about when I’ll get married. I think because of the nature of my career choice, I’m more career-focused right now. Entertainment is such a fast moving industry and I want to be somewhat established before I decide to start a family. One reason is so that I’m sure I’ll be financially stable enough to start a family, and the other reason is so that I am able to stay focused and pursue my goals without having the responsibility of having a family to take care of.”

She also doesn’t feel like women in their 20s should feel pressured to get married or have children, but should do whatever makes them happiest. “It all depends on each person’s life. If the woman is already established in her career in her 20s and feels financially, emotionally, and physically ready to start a family then I think she should! I think it all just depends on those types of situations and whether the woman is actually READY to get married/have children and not based on what people or society thinks.”

Amber Cobern, a 26-year-old social worker, says: “I used to feel like I could go without being married as long as I was in a healthy, happy, committed relationship, but the older I’ve gotten the more I would like to be married. I’m also hoping for two children!

In my early twenties a timeline for getting married never worried me. I’ve always known that if I did get married I’d want it to be in my late twenties. I’m a firm believer in holding off for marriage until you feel secure in your own identity and are stable financially as well. Seeing people around me get married does sometimes make me think, hmm am I falling behind or something? But then I easily remind myself that I’m making choices that are best for me! And that marriage isn’t the only thing to aspire to in life. I’d like to be married by 30 at the latest. And I can’t see myself having children past 35/36. I honestly think that your twenties are a key time to get to know who you are and what you want out of life. I think young women should absolutely be dating, getting their education, finding their passions, pursuing their careers, and just living life! However, I would never judge another woman’s choice or path if it differs from my own mindset.”

On that note, do what’s best for you and enjoy your life, sis!

Does getting married and having kids in your twenties concern you?

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