Latina Mommy

It Happens—Family Pressure to Have Kids

Having my boys was the bravest decision I have ever made—not to mention the best! I love them to pieces, but I also recognize motherhood isn't for everyone.

After reading an opinion piece in New York Magazine by Glynnis MacNicol, I threw myself into a total thought frenzy! MacNicol talks about turning 40 and still feeling guilt-free about not wanting to be a mom. According to her, motherhood just wasn't her calling.

My own sister recently decided against having children of her own, and told me being involved with my children is satisfying enough. Not only that, but my one amiga has confided in me about how her puppy and niece make up for not having children of her own. As much as my amiga loves spending time with her niece, she happily drops her back off at home at the end of a long activity-filled day.

I can kind of understand why it's tempting to not have children, but coming to the conclusion that you don't want kids is one thing, and breaking the news to la familia is another. Despite her strong stance on not wanting kids, I know my sister feels tremendous pressure from my parents to start a family of her own. You know—those traditional Hispanic values!

We have this idea of a nuclear family with multiple little ones as being a powerful force in our cultura. God forbid you're over the age of 30 and haven't walked down the aisle yet! That's enough to send the extended family into chisme central territory.

For Latinas, forming a nuclear family when you are in the bloom of your childbearing years can be a melodramatic tema (theme) in a Hispanic household. It's Latina women like my sister and my amiga who are redefining what family is and can be! They are moving away from tradition, while embracing a concept of family which suits their lives and not someone elses.

I'm grateful that my little ones have my sister and friend in their lives—they bring them so much joy. Starting a familia should be a decision a person makes on his or her own, so let's rejoice always in knowing that what matters is being with family, whichever way you choose to define it.

Were you pressured to start a family?

Check out how Latina Mommy, Yesenia Almonte, takes pride in her son's curly hair!

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Photo via Yesenia Almonte