When Your Family’s Biological Clock is Ticking

Like many young girls growing up, I was taught that “good girls” sat up straight, kept their legs crossed (or closed as it would turn into during my teen years) were seen and not heard and kept their noses in the books.  Much to my father’s dismay I was a tomboy, so I never really followed any of these “rules” to the letter, but the gist of the lesson was clear: books, not boys were to be my focus.

For the most part I heeded this sage advice.  I went to really good schools, excelled in most classes and got involved in more organizations and committees than I could count.  I only had one boyfriend that I dated from ninth grade until I went off to college and on and off thereafter.  I spent nearly 4 years avoiding boys like the plague in college and spent the majority of my time with friends and doing what “good girls” did…which was to study.

This all made my family happy.  They were delighted to see me thriving and that I would be getting my degree on time.  My first year or two out of college all seemed well and they were happy with the young person they raised.  I was a college graduate, working and making a decent life for myself.  Yep, all was right with the word, then the dark clouds started to roll in.

All of a sudden I started getting asked questions like:

“When are you getting married?”

“When am I going to be a grandmother/grandfather/great grandmother, etc?”

“Why don’t you have a man yet?”

At first I ignored them and then they started to turn up the heat.  In addition to the aforementioned questions, I started hearing this from my paternal grandmother:

“I would like to see some great-grand babies before I go home to see the Lord.  I’m only holding on to see my first grand give me my first great-grand.”


What kind of a low blow was that?  How do you respond to your damn near eighty-year-old grandmother telling you something like that? What happened to keeping my legs closed and being a “good girl?”  Do they not understand that having a baby out of wedlock like they want isn’t that simple?  I need to find a man for goodness sake!  When did my degree and 401K become a green light for my legs to spread and the sperm to enter?  Who said these things make me ready to be a mother?

It’s not that I don’t want to have kids.  At nearly 40, I probably need to get on that before my cute Cabbage Patch Kids become my babies for real.  However, I want to do it the “right way.”

I want to see the world a bit first, have a good and stable career and gain enough self-control to stop randomly dipping into my savings for that “emergency” pair of shoes.  I want a man/husband that is in it for the long haul and has the same outlook and standards on life that I do, without any of that “baby daddy” drama stuff.  Achieving these things takes time, which if you ask my grandmother and science, I’m running out of.  Apparently, after thirty you’re old and “men don’t want an old woman,” but I digress.

I guess I’m just a part of that new category of women who are waiting later in life to settle down and have a family.  Sure, it would have been better to have had kids young while I could take advantage of that Teyana Taylor “snap back” and sure I would have had more energy to run around with them, but I would’ve also had less life experience to share.  If I’m going to be responsible for molding and shaping another life, then I need some points of reference.

I need to experience life to the fullest and do some—if not all—of the things I dream of so that I can back up those demands of “Go to school.  It’s what’s best for you!” Or “Stay away from that boy he’ll just break your heart.”

Now I know I will never know and experience everything in life, but I want to still have something under my belt. I also don’t want the wonderful experience of motherhood to be marred by daydreams of experiences lost and regrets.  I don’t want to ever look at my child and think, “What if…?”

As I settle into motherhood and maybe even married life, I want to do so knowing that I lived a life that made me happy and did the things I wanted to do so that I can then focus on the new and even more exciting chapter that is in front of me.

So yes, I will be having babies, but when the time is right for me and not before.  I’ll be doing things my way and no one else’s. Now if I can just keep granny from “seeing the Lord” for just a little while longer, sheesh!


Danielle T. Pointdujour is a Senior Editor for EBONY and JET. You can follow her writing, musings and global adventures on her blog Hotel Whisperer and on Twitter and Instagram.