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Stop Asking Couples When They Are Having Kids

“So, when are you having kids?” my aunt asked me. At that point, I was 30 and had just been married for a few months. I didn’t even know if I wanted kids, much less when I was having them.

So I simply said, “I have not decided if I want to have kids.” I would spend the next hour listening to stories of women who regretted not having children because they had put it off until it was too late, and women who had difficulty conceiving because they had waited too long or because of their own biological issues, almost told as an implicit way to tell me that I was going to regret it if I didn’t hurry and work on producing kids right away.

This would be my life for the next few years, where I would receive constant, invasive questions surrounding “When are you having kids?” from relatives, friends, and nosy people, followed by a routine, almost ritualistic pressurization to have kids.

If you think that it ends after you have a kid, it doesn’t. The people who had previously told you to have “just one kid” when you were indifferent to the idea, will now tell you to have a second one, along with reasons why you should do so. This repeated questioning and attempt to shape people to fit their expectations seem to never end.

The problem with asking “When are you having kids?”

I understand why people like to ask this question. Find a partner, settle down, get married, and have kids. This is the life path that we’ve been taught to follow since young. This is the life path we’ve been told is the way of life.

This is especially so in the Chinese culture, where having kids is seen as the ultimate goal in life. There are even sayings built around this notion, such as 生儿育女 (shēng ér yù nǚ, which means to birth sons and raise daughters) and 子孙满堂 (zǐ sūn mǎn táng, which means to be in a room filled with children and grandchildren, used to signify the epitome of happiness).

Multi-Generation Chinese Family at the Park

A multi-generation family, often used to depict a vision of happiness in the Chinese culture

So after you get married, people automatically assume that you should have kids. “When are you having kids?” they ask, as if expecting you to give them a straight answer.

The problem with this question is that it’s rude. It’s invasive. It’s also presumptuous.

1) Having kids is not the only path to happiness

To begin with, having kids is a personal and private matter. Whether people want to have kids or not is none of anyone’s business, and people most certainly shouldn’t be opening conversations with “When are you having kids?”, as if the only goal of a person’s life is to have kids. Even if it’s for the intent of having a heart-to-heart, a question like “Do you have any plans for kids?” would be more appropriate.

But in case one needs specific reasons to understand why such a question is invasive, the first thing to understand is that everyone has their own path in life. This path is not always the same for everyone. Some people want kids, while some don’t. Some think that having kids is the greatest joy in life, while some see them as a burden.

Having kids is a lifelong commitment and takes a tremendous amount of work and time. Anyone who has kids, and has raised them by themselves, would understand this. There are significant ups and downs that come with having a kid. For some, the ups do not justify the downs. For these people, it is better to remain childless, rather than have children just to fit society’s mold. To assume that everyone should have kids, just because others think that having kids is great and amazing, is rude and disregards that person’s own preferences in life.

For example, Oprah Winfrey is an inspiring woman and humanitarian who chose not to have kids, and has dedicated herself to her personal purpose of serving the world. Oprah hosted her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show for 25 years, founded a leadership academy for girls and became a mother figure to the girls in attendance, and started her own television network. These are things that most do not get to do in their lifetime. Through the years, she has inspired millions and become a champion for people worldwide. As she says,

“When people were pressuring me to get married and have children, I knew I was not going to be a person that ever regretted not having them, because I feel like I am a mother to the world’s children. Love knows no boundaries. It doesn’t matter if a child came from your womb or if you found that person at age two, 10, or 20. If the love is real, the caring is pure and it comes from a good space, it works.” — Oprah[1]

Is she not being a responsible or purposeful person (or woman) by choosing not to have kids? Definitely not. In fact, I dare say that she lives a much more purposeful life than many in the world, including people who choose to have kids.

There are many famous celebrities who have chosen not to have kids as well.

  • Chelsea Handler is a talk show host who chose not to have kids. She has said honestly in interviews that she doesn’t have the time to raise a child, and she doesn’t want her kids to be raised by a nanny.[2][3]
  • Betty White is an actress and comedian who chose not to have kids because she’s passionate about her career and she prefers to focus on it.[4]
  • Ashley Judd is an actress and political activist who chose not to have kids because she feels that there are already so many orphaned kids in this world. To her, her resources can be better used to help those who are already here, and I respect her for such a noble choice.[5]

And then there are others, such as Cameron Diaz, Chow Yun Fat, Marisa Tomei, Renée Zellweger, and Rachael Ray. These people choose not to have kids for different reasons, such as because they’re already pursuing paths deeply meaningful to them, because they do not wish to be tied down with a child, or because they just don’t feel a deep desire to have kids.

Not having kids has not prevented these people from being happy in life, and there’s no reason to assume why people must have kids in order to be happy. People need to stop painting the narrative that one must have children in order to be happy. There are plenty of people with kids who are unhappy, and plenty of people without kids who have found inner fulfillment in life through other ways. There is no one path to happiness, and everyone needs to realize that.

2) You may cause hurt and pain

Secondly, you never know what others are going through.

Some people may want kids, but maybe they are facing fertility struggles. For example,

  • Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan went through three miscarriages before having their firstborn.[6]
  • The Obamas had a miscarriage before they had their daughters via IVF.[7]
  • Friends star Courteney Cox had a total of seven miscarriages before having her daughter, as she has a MTHFR gene mutation which raises the risk of miscarriage-causing blood clots.[8]

About 10% of women have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant,[9] while 13.5% of known pregnancies end in miscarriages, with the figure rising as the maternal age rises.[10]

For some people, the journey to conceive is fraught with deep pain, struggle, and losses as they experience miscarriages, undergo round after round of invasive fertility treatments, and wait in hope of the double blue lines on their pregnancy kit each month.

And then there are people who cannot have their own biological children due to issues with their reproductive system, which could have been there since birth.

Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, and family

Barack and Michelle Obama had a miscarriage before they had their daughters via IVF

While you may be think that you’re being helpful or funny by asking people when they’re having kids, your question may well trigger hurt and pain. As Zuckerberg said,

“You feel so hopeful when you learn you’re going to have a child. You start imagining who they’ll become and dreaming of hopes for their future. You start making plans, and then they’re gone. It’s a lonely experience.”[6]

3) Not everyone is in a place to have kids

Thirdly, having kids is simply not a reality for some people due to their circumstances in life.

Some people may lack the financial resources to have kids, a reality in a place like Singapore.

Some people may be facing problems with their marriage, in which case their priority should be to work on their marriage, not to have kids.

Some people may be so burdened with caring for their dependents that they are unable to consider kids, at least not at the moment.

And then there are people facing chronic health issues, issues that you don’t know and can’t see, which make pregnancy difficult due to the toll it would take on their body.

4) Some people could still be thinking

And then there are people who are neutral to the idea of having kids, like myself when I just got married. These people need time to think it through, because having kids is a permanent, lifelong decision with serious consequences. There’s no reason to assume that having a kid should be an automatic decision, because you’re bringing a whole new life into this world. This is a decision that will change your life forever, as well as the life of the child you’re bringing into the world. I personally think one of the worst things someone could do is to simply have kids for the sake of it, and then afterward give their child sub-standard care, something which I feel many people do.

For those yet to have kids, they need the space to figure out what they want, not have people breathe down their neck day in and out about having kids.

My experience

For the initial years after I got married, I wasn’t thinking about kids. Firstly, having a child is a lifelong decision, and I wanted to enjoy married life before diving into a decision as serious as that. Secondly, my husband and I were happy spending our lives with just each other — we didn’t feel the need to have kids, not in the way my culture obsesses about it. Thirdly, my husband was dealing with some personal problems and I was fully focused on supporting him through these. These were issues that we needed to sort through before considering kids, if we were to want kids.

Yet I kept getting nudges to have kids, even though I never said anything about wanting them.

“So, when are you having kids?”

“This person’s baby is so cute, isn’t it? Why don’t you hurry up and birth a baby?”

It was as if I was some vehicle, some production machine to have kids, where my own views in the matter didn’t matter. The most frustrating thing was that I kept getting this question, while my husband would never get it (as a man), not even when we were in the same room together.

It was as if my sole reason for existence as a woman was to have kids, and until I had them, I was regarded as unworthy or incomplete.

The decision to have kids

Yet the decision to have children is a personal one. It is also a complex one. It is a decision that will permanently change the lives of the couple.

It is not a decision that one should be pressurized into making because their mom wants to carry grandchildren or their aunt wants to play with kids. It’s a decision that a couple should make because they genuinely want to nurture another life.

Because when a child is born, the people bugging others to have kids aren’t the ones who will be caring for the baby 24/7, whose lives will be set back by years (even decades) as they care for a new life, or who will be responsible for every decision concerning the child for the next 18-21 years.

It will be the couple.

And the people who aren’t ready, who were pressured into having kids because they were told that it was the best thing to do, may have to deal with regret as they are stuck with a decision they cannot undo. Because there are people who regret having kids, and we need to be honest about that. These people regret, not because of the child’s fault, but because they were simply not ready to have kids, be it financially, emotionally, or mentally. Unfortunately, the children are the ones who eventually suffer, from living in dysfunctional households to dealing with issues of violenceabuse, and anger.

We need to recognize these realities, and not make parenthood seem like it’s some magical band-aid that solves a lack of purpose or life’s pressures. Things don’t magically get better because people have kids; existing problems usually worsen as having a child puts a big strain on a couple’s lives. Digging into people’s plans to have kids, and pressurizing them into one of the biggest life decisions they can ever make, will only stress them out and perhaps push some into depression. As this redditor shared,

“I have a friend who went through 6 years of miscarriages and fertility treatments before the doctors figured out the problem and she had her son. The nosy ladies at her work and her in-laws questioned her constantly. The depression from that made it harder for her to conceive.”

Stop asking couples when they’re having kids

So, if you tend to ask others when they’re having kids, it’s time to stop that. It’s rude, insensitive, and it disregards people’s privacy. It’s also none of your business.

The reality is that if people want kids, they will work on having kids. They don’t need you to prod them about it.

If they don’t have kids, it’s either because

  1. they really don’t want kids,
  2. they are not in a position to consider kids right now, or
  3. they want kids but they are facing some struggles.

For people in group (c), they aren’t going to share such deeply personal experience over some afternoon coffee chat, and certainly not by you asking, “When are you having kids?”

The best thing you can do is to give people their personal space. Understand that having kids is a personal decision, and people don’t have to share or explain anything. Respect that others have their right to privacy. Respect that people are individuals on their own path, and this path may not involve having kids. And this doesn’t make them incomplete or lesser in any way.

Instead of asking women or couples, “When are you having kids?”, talk to them like how you would to a normal person. There’s no reason why conversations should suddenly revolve around childbearing after marriage; it’s not like a person’s identity changes to revolve around having kids. A person still has their own passion, goals, and dreams. Talk to them about what they’ve been doing. Understand their interests. Know them as a real person, not some random being here to fulfill society’s checklist.

If you’re really interested in someone’s plan to have children, like I mentioned in the beginning, you can simply ask, “Do you have any plans for kids?” If they wish to share more, they will do so. If they give a half-hearted or evasive answer, then take the hint and move on.

Ultimately, having kids or not doesn’t change one’s self-worth. A woman is complete with or without kids. A marriage doesn’t need kids to be deemed complete. Having kids should be a conscious choice, not a result of external pressure. Don’t judge people by whether they have kids or not. Some people will have kids, and some people will not have kids. Some will have kids early, while some will have them later in life. All of these are different paths and there’s nothing wrong with them.

For Me

My husband and I eventually decided to have a baby and gave birth to our beloved baby girl. Yet other people’s comments and nudges to have children didn’t make me want to have children; it only made me want to avoid these people, because having a child is a personal decision between me and my husband and has nothing to do with them. It was after we settled down and enjoyed married life without kids, and took time to actively pursue our goals and interests, that we finally felt ready to try for a kid.

In the meantime, I hope all of you are doing well. There are other things that I’m working on, other things that are happening that I look forward to sharing in time to come. Sending lots of love to you, and remember that whatever life challenge you’re facing, you have it in you to overcome it. I’ll talk to you guys soon! 🙂

Worlds best mindset fan !

By Leo Babauta

Let’s say you want to be more disciplined about your day … you might tell yourself, “I’m going to wake every morning, meditate for 15 minutes, plan my Most Important Tasks, and then get started and follow the plan. No doubts about it.”

And then your plan gets hit by distraction or interruption, and you feel bad about it.

You try again the next day, start out well, but then at some point, you get off track and feel discouraged.

Three days into this attempt, and you feel like you are completely undisciplined, and you give up the effort.

What went wrong?

The problem is that the plan was set up to fail at some point, and then you’d feel failure, feel bad about it, feel discouraged. You might be able to withstand this discouragement and negative feedback for a little while, but no one withstands it forever.

Negative feedback loops will cause us to not do the activity.

Positive feedback loops will cause us to stay with it for much longer.

Think about the design of your plan to change your behavior: is it designed to give you positive feedback or negative feedback? Most people ignore this component entirely.

What Positive Feedback Looks Like

What we want is to design a plan that gives us some kind of reward or positive feeling, some kind of encouragement. And we want it to give us this encouragement regularly.

Some examples of positive feedback:

  • I do the habit and get a check mark and a ding! from my habit app
  • I exercise and get to tell my friends about it
  • I successfully complete a language lesson and feel a sense of accomplishment
  • I have a coach who gives me encouragement
  • I get a positive grade for a quiz
  • I feel gratitude towards myself for meditating
  • I get a high five from my friend after our hard run together
  • My team gets praise for our accomplishment in the company
  • I check off something from my task list

Notice also that many of these examples will have negative feedback built into them as well: I get a bad grade, my habit app streak ends, I feel embarrassed that my friends know I haven’t exercised for a week, my task list is neverending and makes me feel overwhelmed, my coach might criticize what I did today, I forgot to do the language lesson and feel bad about it.

So if most systems have both positive and negative feedback built in … what can we do?

We have to design a better system.

A More Positive Design

We need a system that will always encourage us to go in the right direction.

When we go in the right direction, we feel accomplishment!

When we go in the wrong direction, we get encouraged to turn it around.

A key principle: There is zero wrongness and judgment associated with this — when we judge ourselves or beat ourselves up, it’s discouragement or negative feedback. Instead, we never make ourselves wrong. We always have compassion.

Here’s an example … let’s say I want to write every day. I might design a plan like this:

  • I only have to write 1 sentence a day for the first 3 days. It’s so easy I can’t say no. I am practically guaranteed success.
  • After I write my 1 sentence for the day, I acknowledge myself for the effort and give myself gratitude for showing up and practicing.
  • When that becomes super easy, I change it to 2 sentences a day. If I feel like writing more, I can. Same thing: acknowledgement and gratitude.
  • I focus on small victories — encourage myself for any possible positive action! I am also encouraged to share any victory at all with others who might be encouraging (like my Sea Change Program or Fearless Training Program).
  • If I get off track — my plan is to catch myself after a “slip-up” and give myself compassion for whatever resistance or discouragement I felt (compassion is a kind feeling), and then to pick a small victory to get the next day (any possible small victory will do, maybe just opening my doc and writing one word). I can acknowledge myself and give myself gratitude for catching this and choosing a small victory to aim for. Find something to learn, and get back on track.

This system is designed to give my encouragement no matter what. Victories, gratitude, acknowledgement, learning, practicing getting back on track.

Principles of Positive Feedback Design

As you can see above, there are some simple principles we can incorporate into our design:

  1. Try to not make yourself wrong, judge yourself, discourage yourself. You probably will (most of us do), but catch yourself and give yourself compassion, and see if you can remove this wrong-making.
  2. Aim for small victories. As small as possible.
  3. Encourage, acknowledge, give gratitude.
  4. Scale as needed: scale up if you’re really feeling it, scale down by doing less if you’re feeling too busy or tired.
  5. Have a way to encourage yourself if you start to get off track. Compassion, learning, finding the smallest possible victory to start getting back on track.
  6. Use others for positive encouragement if it’s helpful.

I encourage you to redesign your habit changes, your attempts to get more disciplined and focused, or any kind of change you’d like to make. Encourage, encourage, encourage!

The post Positive Feedback Loops appeared first on zen habits.

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Does self-care ever feel overwhelming or like another thing on your to-do list? Maybe you feel like you desperately need self-care, but you’re never sure exactly what you need in the moment. This leads to a quick Google for “self-care ideas” which gives you a million suggestions that leave you feeling more stressed out than when you started.

Learn about the seven pillars of self-care and take the self-care quiz to see which type of self-care you need right now.

There’s a lot of information out there about self-care, and it’s a complex topic that only makes things more confusing. All you know is that you need to take care of yourself, but you’re not sure what that should look like.

I have a simple solution to avoid overwhelm: look at self-care in terms of seven pillars. Seven might sound like a lot, but once you know them, you can better recognize what needs work in your life instead of trying to do everything. Plus I’ve created a self-care quiz you can take to see which type of self-care you need right now!

Overview of the Pillars


The seven pillars of self-care work together to bring a sense of wholeness to your life. I previously wrote about the five dimensions of self-care in this post, but I’ve added two other elements because I felt like they were missing from the original list: recreational and environmental.

7 pillars of self-care

The pillars of self-care:

  1. Mental
  2. Emotional
  3. Physical
  4. Environmental
  5. Spiritual
  6. Recreational
  7. Social

How to use them:

Seeing this list might feel overwhelming. You might think you have to find some kind of perfect balance between them all.

You don’t need to focus on finding a perfect balance between them all. Instead, you might need to focus on one area for a day, a week, maybe even a month. When you’re ready, you can focus on others.

What’s most important is noticing which one area needs attention so that it doesn’t start dragging the other areas down with it.

Now that we’re a little less overwhelmed, let’s explore the pillars of self-care in more detail:

The 7 Pillars of Self-Care


1. Mental Self-Care

Mental self-care

Mental/intellectual self-care is about cultivating a healthy mindset through mindfulness and curiosity. Mental self-care is important for developing a healthy mindset, growing your skills, reducing stress, and enhancing your knowledge and creativity.

Examples of mental self-care:


2. Emotional Self-Care

Emotional self-care

Emotional self-care involves taking care of matters of the heart with healthy coping strategies and self-compassion. Tapping into emotional self-care helps you understand yourself more, better deal with challenges and setbacks, and develop healthy emotional responses.

Examples of emotional self-care:

  • Watching a deep movie
  • Listening to your favorite songs
  • Writing down positive affirmations
  • Asking for help when you need it
  • Setting boundaries to protect your time and energy

3. Physical Self-Care

Physical self-care

Physical self-care involves taking care of your body with exercise, nutrition, good hygiene, and proper sleep. When you practice activities for your physical well-being, you can increase your energy levels and boost your self-esteem.

Examples of physical self-care:

  • Eating meals at regular times (breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
  • Drinking more water
  • Taking vitamins daily
  • Getting 7-8 hours of sleep
  • Trying a new workout class or video (here’s a playlist)

4. Environmental Self-Care

Environmental self-care

Environmental self-care involves taking care of the spaces and places around you. The more you take care of your immediate environment, the more it will help you to thrive and feel a sense of belonging where you are.

Examples of environmental self-care:

  • Arranging your workspace to be more comfortable
  • Exploring somewhere new (even if it’s in your own town)
  • Decluttering your living space
  • Going outside for a walk
  • Appealing to your five senses (e.g. light a candle, adjust the lighting, put on comfortable clothes, sip a warm drink, and put on your favorite playlist)

5. Spiritual Self-Care

Spiritual self-care

Spiritual self-care involves taking care of your soul through activities or practices that provide a sense of purpose, direction, or meaning to your life. Dedicating time to spiritual self-care can help you find more meaning in life, feel more grounded, and develop a sense of belonging in life.

Examples of spiritual self-care:

  • Spending time in nature
  • Finding a community to contribute to (online or offline)
  • Identifying your values & what’s meaningful to you
  • Volunteering or contributing to a cause you believe in
  • Connecting to a higher power (whatever that means to you)

6. Recreational Self-Care

Recreational self-care

Recreational self-care involves taking care of your inner child with hobbies, fun activities, and new experiences. Recreation is important because it lets you get away from the pressure of your to-do list and simply enjoy the pleasures that life has to offer.

Examples of recreational self-care:

  • Taking time for hobbies and creative activities
  • Going on an adventure by yourself or with others
  • Taking time to do absolutely nothing (and enjoying it!)
  • Playing board or video games
  • Switching up your regular daily routine

7. Social Self-Care

Social self-care

Even though self-care is about you, it’s important to connect with other human beings on a regular basis. Social self-care means cultivating healthy relationships and connecting with people who get you. Seeking out positive social connections helps us create a sense of belonging and acceptance. 

Examples of social self-care:

  • Spending time with people whose company you enjoy
  • Calling or seeing your relatives
  • Writing a letter to a friend (pen-pal style!)
  • Talking to a support group
  • Chatting in an online forum or community

Which pillar do you need to focus on? Take the self-care quiz!

Self-care quiz

If you’re not sure which pillar of self-care you need most, take the self-care quiz to find out what to focus on first.

My hope is that this quiz will become a tool you use whenever you feel indecisive or unsure of the type of self-care you need. Come back to it whenever you need it!

Take this quiz here. Feel free to let me know your results in a comment below!

The post The 7 Pillars of Self-Care and How To Use Them appeared first on The Blissful Mind.

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Her biggest fear, the unthinkable… It happened. But instead of being the nightmare she imagined, it became the answer to her prayers. You may remember hearing about her on the news. 

At 13-years-old, Bethany Hamilton lost her arm to a 14-foot tiger shark. But just four weeks later, she was back in the ocean, re-learning how to surf, and would later go on to win a national title.

In her words, “You don’t need easy, you just need possible.”

Bethany’s story has inspired millions through the blockbuster movie Soul Surfer, and the award-winning documentary, Unstoppable. (I also featured her story in Everything is Figureoutable about not letting any excuse hold you back!). I love how this Soul Surfer continues to face new fears and take on bigger waves — both in the ocean and the world.

In this MarieTV, we talk about how to overcome devastating setbacks, the power of following your fear, and why it’s never too late to follow your dreams.


The game is not to try and eliminate problems, it's actually to be strong enough to handle them. @bethanyhamilton 
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You’ll also learn:

  • How to handle an unexpected loss.
  • Why “working harder” won’t solve your problems — and what to do instead.
  • The power of owning your story (and sharing it the right way).
  • What science has to say about living a long, joyful life.
  • Why it’s never too late to restart those half-finished goals.
  • What really fuels success (spoiler: it’s NOT motivation).
  • The BIGGEST wave Bethany ever surfed — and why she craves it.

If you’re ready to brave the waves of your life with strength and grace, this episode is a must-watch. And don’t miss Bethany’s special gift to our MarieTV community below this video.

View Transcript

Check out this episode on The Marie Forleo Podcast

Listen Now

DIVE DEEPER: Learn how to be your bravest self with Brené Brown & never let fear stop you again with Koya Webb.

Bethany is a shining example of how you can overcome adversity and stay true to yourself. But, she never claimed it was easy. She braved the surf again because “My love for surfing outweighed my fear of sharks.”

If you want to find the courage to face your fears? Let your passion make you brave.

Now, let’s turn this insight into action.

Don’t overthink this — just go with your gut-level response. In the comments below, share your answers to these two questions:

  1. What is one dream or “big wave” in your life that scares you?
  2. What could you accomplish if you let your love for your dream outweigh your fear of failing?

Remember, even though our culture loves to feature high highs and low lows, most of our successes and failures will NOT be as dramatic as national surfing titles and shark attacks.

As Bethany says, “You never know when your next success will be. You can will yourself to succeed as much as you want, but a lot of times you just have to keep putting along until it happens.”

Keep going for your dreams because the world really does need that special gift that only you have.

P.S. Want more peace and less chaos in your life? Bethany Hamilton is offering a special gift to viewers of MarieTV. Learn More about Bethany’s Be Present course and use the code MARIE to sign up for free.

XO

The post From Shark Attack to Super Mom: The Bethany Hamilton Story appeared first on .

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Stop Asking Couples When They Are Having Kids

“So, when are you having kids?” my aunt asked me. At that point, I was 30 and had just been married for a few months. I didn’t even know if I wanted kids, much less when I was having them.

So I simply said, “I have not decided if I want to have kids.” I would spend the next hour listening to stories of women who regretted not having children because they had put it off until it was too late, and women who had difficulty conceiving because they had waited too long or because of their own biological issues, almost told as an implicit way to tell me that I was going to regret it if I didn’t hurry and work on producing kids right away.

This would be my life for the next few years, where I would receive constant, invasive questions surrounding “When are you having kids?” from relatives, friends, and nosy people, followed by a routine, almost ritualistic pressurization to have kids.

If you think that it ends after you have a kid, it doesn’t. The people who had previously told you to have “just one kid” when you were indifferent to the idea, will now tell you to have a second one, along with reasons why you should do so. This repeated questioning and attempt to shape people to fit their expectations seem to never end.

The problem with asking “When are you having kids?”

I understand why people like to ask this question. Find a partner, settle down, get married, and have kids. This is the life path that we’ve been taught to follow since young. This is the life path we’ve been told is the way of life.

This is especially so in the Chinese culture, where having kids is seen as the ultimate goal in life. There are even sayings built around this notion, such as 生儿育女 (shēng ér yù nǚ, which means to birth sons and raise daughters) and 子孙满堂 (zǐ sūn mǎn táng, which means to be in a room filled with children and grandchildren, used to signify the epitome of happiness).

Multi-Generation Chinese Family at the Park

A multi-generation family, often used to depict a vision of happiness in the Chinese culture

So after you get married, people automatically assume that you should have kids. “When are you having kids?” they ask, as if expecting you to give them a straight answer.

The problem with this question is that it’s rude. It’s invasive. It’s also presumptuous.

1) Having kids is not the only path to happiness

To begin with, having kids is a personal and private matter. Whether people want to have kids or not is none of anyone’s business, and people most certainly shouldn’t be opening conversations with “When are you having kids?”, as if the only goal of a person’s life is to have kids. Even if it’s for the intent of having a heart-to-heart, a question like “Do you have any plans for kids?” would be more appropriate.

But in case one needs specific reasons to understand why such a question is invasive, the first thing to understand is that everyone has their own path in life. This path is not always the same for everyone. Some people want kids, while some don’t. Some think that having kids is the greatest joy in life, while some see them as a burden.

Having kids is a lifelong commitment and takes a tremendous amount of work and time. Anyone who has kids, and has raised them by themselves, would understand this. There are significant ups and downs that come with having a kid. For some, the ups do not justify the downs. For these people, it is better to remain childless, rather than have children just to fit society’s mold. To assume that everyone should have kids, just because others think that having kids is great and amazing, is rude and disregards that person’s own preferences in life.

For example, Oprah Winfrey is an inspiring woman and humanitarian who chose not to have kids, and has dedicated herself to her personal purpose of serving the world. Oprah hosted her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show for 25 years, founded a leadership academy for girls and became a mother figure to the girls in attendance, and started her own television network. These are things that most do not get to do in their lifetime. Through the years, she has inspired millions and become a champion for people worldwide. As she says,

“When people were pressuring me to get married and have children, I knew I was not going to be a person that ever regretted not having them, because I feel like I am a mother to the world’s children. Love knows no boundaries. It doesn’t matter if a child came from your womb or if you found that person at age two, 10, or 20. If the love is real, the caring is pure and it comes from a good space, it works.” — Oprah[1]

Is she not being a responsible or purposeful person or woman by choosing not to have kids? Definitely not. In fact, I dare say that she lives a much more purposeful life than many in the world, including people who choose to have kids.

There are many famous celebrities who have chosen not to have kids as well.

  • Chelsea Handler is a talk show host who chose not to have kids. She has said honestly in interviews that she doesn’t have the time to raise a child, and she doesn’t want her kids to be raised by a nanny.[2][3]
  • Betty White is an actress and comedian who chose not to have kids because she’s passionate about her career and she prefers to focus on it.[4]
  • Ashley Judd is an actress and political activist who chose not to have kids because she feels that there are already so many orphaned kids in this world. To her, her resources can be better used to help those who are already here, and I respect her for such a noble choice.[5]

And then there are others, such as Cameron Diaz, Chow Yun Fat, Marisa Tomei, Renée Zellweger, and Rachael Ray. These people choose not to have kids for different reasons, such as because they’re already pursuing paths deeply meaningful to them, because they do not wish to be tied down with a child, or because they just don’t feel a deep desire to have kids.

Not having kids has not prevented these people from being happy in life, and there’s no reason to assume why people must have kids in order to be happy. People need to stop painting the narrative that one must have children in order to be happy. There are plenty of people with kids who are unhappy, and plenty of people without kids who have found inner fulfillment in life through other ways. There is no one path to happiness, and everyone needs to realize that.

2) You may cause hurt and pain

Secondly, you never know what others are going through.

Some people may want kids, but maybe they are facing fertility struggles. For example,

  • Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan went through three miscarriages before having their firstborn.[6]
  • The Obamas had a miscarriage before they had their daughters via IVF.[7]
  • Friends star Courteney Cox had a total of seven miscarriages before having her daughter, as she has a MTHFR gene mutation which raises the risk of miscarriage-causing blood clots.[8]

About 10% of women have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant,[9] while 13.5% of known pregnancies end in miscarriages, with the figure rising as the maternal age rises.[10]

For some people, the journey to conceive is fraught with deep pain, struggle, and losses as they experience miscarriages, undergo round after round of invasive fertility treatments, and wait in hope of the double blue lines on their pregnancy kit each month.

And then there are people who cannot have their own biological children due to issues with their reproductive system, which could have been there since birth.

Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, and family

Barack and Michelle Obama had a miscarriage before they had their daughters via IVF

While you may be think that you’re being helpful or funny by asking people when they’re having kids, your question may well trigger hurt and pain. As Zuckerberg said,

“You feel so hopeful when you learn you’re going to have a child. You start imagining who they’ll become and dreaming of hopes for their future. You start making plans, and then they’re gone. It’s a lonely experience.”[6]

3) Not everyone is in a place to have kids

Thirdly, having kids is simply not a reality for some people due to their circumstances in life.

Some people may lack the financial resources to have kids, a reality in a place like Singapore.

Some people may be facing problems with their marriage, in which case their priority should be to work on their marriage, not to have kids.

Some people may be so burdened with caring for their dependents that they are unable to consider kids, at least not at the moment.

And then there are people facing chronic health issues, issues that you don’t know and can’t see, which make pregnancy difficult due to the toll it would take on their body.

4) Some people could still be thinking

And then there are people who are neutral to the idea of having kids, like myself when I just got married. These people need time to think it through, because having kids is a permanent, lifelong decision with serious consequences. There’s no reason to assume that having a kid should be an automatic decision, because you’re bringing a whole new life into this world. This is a decision that will change your life forever, as well as the life of the child you’re bringing into the world. I personally think one of the worst things someone could do is to simply have kids for the sake of it, and then afterward give their child sub-standard care, something which I feel many people do.

For those yet to have kids, they need the space to figure out what they want, not have people breathe down their neck day in and out about having kids.

My experience

For the initial years after I got married, I wasn’t thinking about kids. Firstly, having a child is a lifelong decision, and I wanted to enjoy married life before diving into a decision as serious as that. Secondly, my husband and I were happy spending our lives with just each other — we didn’t feel the need to have kids, not in the way my culture obsesses about it. Thirdly, my husband was dealing with some personal problems and I was fully focused on supporting him through these. These were issues that we needed to sort through before considering kids, if we were to want kids.

Yet I kept getting nudges to have kids, even though I never said anything about wanting them.

“So, when are you having kids?”

“This person’s baby is so cute, isn’t it? Why don’t you hurry up and birth a baby?”

It was as if I was some vehicle, some production machine to have kids, where my own views in the matter didn’t matter. The most frustrating thing was that I kept getting this question, while my husband would never get it (as a man), not even when we were in the same room together.

It was as if my sole reason for existence as a woman was to have kids, and until I had them, I was regarded as unworthy or incomplete.

The decision to have kids

Yet the decision to have children is a personal one. It is also a complex one. It is a decision that will permanently change the lives of the couple.

It is not a decision that one should be pressurized into making because their mom wants to carry grandchildren or their aunt wants to play with kids. It’s a decision that a couple should make because they genuinely want to nurture another life.

Because when a child is born, the people bugging others to have kids aren’t the ones who will be caring for the baby 24/7, whose lives will be set back by years (even decades) as they care for a new life, or who will be responsible for every decision concerning the child for the next 18-21 years.

It will be the couple.

And the people who aren’t ready, who were pressured into having kids because they were told that it was the best thing to do, may have to deal with regret as they are stuck with a decision they cannot undo. Because there are people who regret having kids, and we need to be honest about that. These people regret, not because of the child’s fault, but because they were simply not ready to have kids, be it financially, emotionally, or mentally. Unfortunately, the children are the ones who eventually suffer, from living in dysfunctional households to dealing with issues of violenceabuse, and anger.

We need to recognize these realities, and not make parenthood seem like it’s some magical band-aid that solves a lack of purpose or life’s pressures. Things don’t magically get better because people have kids; existing problems usually worsen as having a child puts a big strain on a couple’s lives. Digging into people’s plans to have kids, and pressurizing them into one of the biggest life decisions they can ever make, will only stress them out and perhaps push some into depression. As this redditor shared,

“I have a friend who went through 6 years of miscarriages and fertility treatments before the doctors figured out the problem and she had her son. The nosy ladies at her work and her in-laws questioned her constantly. The depression from that made it harder for her to conceive.”

Stop asking couples when they’re having kids

So, if you tend to ask others when they’re having kids, it’s time to stop that. It’s rude, insensitive, and it disregards people’s privacy. It’s also none of your business.

The reality is that if people want kids, they will work on having kids. They don’t need you to prod them about it.

If they don’t have kids, it’s either because

  1. they really don’t want kids,
  2. they are not in a position to consider kids right now, or
  3. they want kids but they are facing some struggles.

For people in group (c), they aren’t going to share such deeply personal experience over some afternoon coffee chat, and certainly not by you asking, “When are you having kids?”

The best thing you can do is to give people their personal space. Understand that having kids is a personal decision, and people don’t have to share or explain anything. Respect that others have their right to privacy. Respect that people are individuals on their own path, and this path may not involve having kids. And this doesn’t make them incomplete or lesser in any way.

Instead of asking women or couples, “When are you having kids?”, talk to them like how you would to a normal person. There’s no reason why conversations should suddenly revolve around childbearing after marriage; it’s not like a person’s identity changes to revolve around having kids. A person still has their own passion, goals, and dreams. Talk to them about what they’ve been doing. Understand their interests. Know them as a real person, not some random being here to fulfill society’s checklist.

If you’re really interested in someone’s plan to have children, like I mentioned in the beginning, you can simply ask, “Do you have any plans for kids?” If they wish to share more, they will do so. If they give a half-hearted or evasive answer, then take the hint and move on.

Ultimately, having kids or not doesn’t change one’s self-worth. A woman is complete with or without kids. A marriage doesn’t need kids to be deemed complete. Having kids should be a conscious choice, not a result of external pressure. Don’t judge people by whether they have kids or not. Some people will have kids, and some people will not have kids. Some will have kids early, while some will have them later in life. All of these are different paths and there’s nothing wrong with them.

For Me

My husband and I eventually decided to have a baby and gave birth to our beloved baby girl. Yet other people’s comments and nudges to have children didn’t make me want to have children; it only made me want to avoid these people, because having a child is a personal decision between me and my husband and has nothing to do with them. It was after we settled down and enjoyed married life without kids, and took time to actively pursue our goals and interests, that we finally felt ready to try for a kid.

In the meantime, I hope all of you are doing well. There are other things that I’m working on, other things that are happening that I look forward to sharing in time to come. Sending lots of love to you, and remember that whatever life challenge you’re facing, you have it in you to overcome it. I’ll talk to you guys soon! 🙂

who else loves this

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immune system

Having a robust immune system is vital for tackling many infections and diseases. We have seen how the COVID 19 pandemic has affected older people who have relatively lower immunity than the younger lot. Those who possessed a strong defense mechanism seem to have an upper hand in staying protected from this virus.

In this article, we will discuss some steps on how we all can boost our natural immunity to stay healthy at all times. The tips given below are easy to implement in daily life and one would see the results in their health pretty fast too. These steps are critical for staying strong in this testing time of coronavirus pandemic. So, let us get started,

Boost Your Immune System

  • Workout Daily

Regular exercise helps a lot in flushing bacteria out of the lungs and airways, thereby tremendously reducing the chances of getting cold, flu or other illnesses. Also, physical activity causes a change in antibodies and WBC, boosting the body’s immunity to fight infections and diseases. These benefits help you to stay strong even during this crucial time of the pandemic. 

Daily physical activity up to 20 minutes is enough to keep you strong and fit. Morning is the best time to do physical workout as it helps burn more fat, as the stomach is empty during that time.

  • Sleep for 7-8 Hours

Sleep provides strong support to the immune system. Studies have shown that people who consistently miss out on quality sleep, are not only likely to get sick after being exposed to the virus, but also take a longer time to recover.  Although stocking up on a lot of sleep can never guarantee to prevent all infection and diseases, it still ensures that your body is armed to defend against the illness that can come its way.

To doze off fast at night, the best thing you can have is increased light exposure during the day. You should know that your body has a natural time-keeping clock known as the circadian rhythm. It is essentially an internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and provides the body with energy during day time. Natural sunlight ensures that your cardiac rhythm always remains healthy.

  • Quit Smoking

Smoking is a habit that harms the immune system quite badly, making it less successful in fighting disease. Moreover, smoking compromises the balance of the immune system, increasing the risk of several immune and autoimmune disorders. 

One should know that unlike other addictions, smoking is not something that can be gotten rid of overnight. It requires a proactive approach to beat this addiction slowly but surely. One of the ways to do it is by using a great substitute to the traditional cigarettes called e-cigarettes. This is a device that will help you to control the nicotine intake and fight the withdrawal symptoms effectively as well.

  • Practice Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is one of the best methods to improve the immune responses in human beings. Apart from immunity, meditation also helps in boosting cognitive function and also to reduce blood pressure. All you need to do to be mindful is to be aware of the current situation you are in.

We, as human beings have a tendency to remain in the past or in the future. This not only affects our mental health but also affects us physically, as a lot of stress gets accumulated within.

One of the easiest ways to meditate is to be aware of your breath. This technique is also called Vipassana which helps in disciplining your thoughts and to improve the focus.

  • Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking plenty of water throughout the day has tons of benefits associated with it. Firstly, water helps in carrying oxygen to your body cells, resulting in the proper functioning of the systems. It also flushes out harmful toxins from the body making you healthy and radiant. 

You can also add lemon in your drinking water which helps in preventing the common cold and the degeneration of cells. Drinking between four to eight ounces of water is ideal for being in a healthy and strong condition.

  • Consume Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits are great immunity boosters. They have huge amounts of Vitamin C in it which plays a vital role in preventing infections and other illnesses. Citrus fruits include Lemon, Orange, Grapes, Guava which you can easily adopt in your daily diet too. The VItamin C in the fruits produce the white blood cells in the body which act as front line warriors in fighting diseases.

Though you can consume citrus fruits any time of the day, it would be best that you avoid eating it immediately after a meal, owing to the risk of acid formation.

All in All

You have just seen some of the best tips to improve your overall immunity. If you can practice some self-discipline and try to implement these steps in daily life, you will be in a much better position in beating this dreaded coronavirus. It would be best if you can adopt a positive mindset in life as it is the best mantra for overcoming all kinds of obstacles in life.

About the Author

Lynda Arbon is a passionate and enthusiastic health blogger. She likes keeping herself updated on health trends and blogs. Her favorite pastime is learning history and solving crossword puzzles. Follow her on Twitter.

%%focuskw%% | Self-Improvement Tips to Boost Your Immune System For Tackling Coronavirus

Always love anything about method

Her biggest fear, the unthinkable… It happened. But instead of being the nightmare she imagined, it became the answer to her prayers. You may remember hearing about her on the news. 

At 13-years-old, Bethany Hamilton lost her arm to a 14-foot tiger shark. But just four weeks later, she was back in the ocean, re-learning how to surf, and would later go on to win a national title.

In her words, “You don’t need easy, you just need possible.”

Bethany’s story has inspired millions through the blockbuster movie Soul Surfer, and the award-winning documentary, Unstoppable. (I also featured her story in Everything is Figureoutable about not letting any excuse hold you back!). I love how this Soul Surfer continues to face new fears and take on bigger waves — both in the ocean and the world.

In this MarieTV, we talk about how to overcome devastating setbacks, the power of following your fear, and why it’s never too late to follow your dreams.


The game is not to try and eliminate problems, it's actually to be strong enough to handle them. @bethanyhamilton 
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You’ll also learn:

  • How to handle an unexpected loss.
  • Why “working harder” won’t solve your problems — and what to do instead.
  • The power of owning your story (and sharing it the right way).
  • What science has to say about living a long, joyful life.
  • Why it’s never too late to restart those half-finished goals.
  • What really fuels success (spoiler: it’s NOT motivation).
  • The BIGGEST wave Bethany ever surfed — and why she craves it.

If you’re ready to brave the waves of your life with strength and grace, this episode is a must-watch. And don’t miss Bethany’s special gift to our MarieTV community below this video.

View Transcript

Check out this episode on The Marie Forleo Podcast

Listen Now

DIVE DEEPER: Learn how to be your bravest self with Brené Brown & never let fear stop you again with Koya Webb.

Bethany is a shining example of how you can overcome adversity and stay true to yourself. But, she never claimed it was easy. She braved the surf again because “My love for surfing outweighed my fear of sharks.”

If you want to find the courage to face your fears? Let your passion make you brave.

Now, let’s turn this insight into action.

Don’t overthink this — just go with your gut-level response. In the comments below, share your answers to these two questions:

  1. What is one dream or “big wave” in your life that scares you?
  2. What could you accomplish if you let your love for your dream outweigh your fear of failing?

Remember, even though our culture loves to feature high highs and low lows, most of our successes and failures will NOT be as dramatic as national surfing titles and shark attacks.

As Bethany says, “You never know when your next success will be. You can will yourself to succeed as much as you want, but a lot of times you just have to keep putting along until it happens.”

Keep going for your dreams because the world really does need that special gift that only you have.

P.S. Want more peace and less chaos in your life? Bethany Hamilton is offering a special gift to viewers of MarieTV. Learn More about Bethany’s Be Present course and use the code MARIE to sign up for free.

XO

The post From Shark Attack to Super Mom: The Bethany Hamilton Story appeared first on .

best mindset super fan right here

%%sitename%% | The Self-Improvement Blog | Self-Esteem | Self Confidence

immune system

Having a robust immune system is vital for tackling many infections and diseases. We have seen how the COVID 19 pandemic has affected older people who have relatively lower immunity than the younger lot. Those who possessed a strong defense mechanism seem to have an upper hand in staying protected from this virus.

In this article, we will discuss some steps on how we all can boost our natural immunity to stay healthy at all times. The tips given below are easy to implement in daily life and one would see the results in their health pretty fast too. These steps are critical for staying strong in this testing time of coronavirus pandemic. So, let us get started,

Boost Your Immune System

  • Workout Daily

Regular exercise helps a lot in flushing bacteria out of the lungs and airways, thereby tremendously reducing the chances of getting cold, flu or other illnesses. Also, physical activity causes a change in antibodies and WBC, boosting the body’s immunity to fight infections and diseases. These benefits help you to stay strong even during this crucial time of the pandemic. 

Daily physical activity up to 20 minutes is enough to keep you strong and fit. Morning is the best time to do physical workout as it helps burn more fat, as the stomach is empty during that time.

  • Sleep for 7-8 Hours

Sleep provides strong support to the immune system. Studies have shown that people who consistently miss out on quality sleep, are not only likely to get sick after being exposed to the virus, but also take a longer time to recover.  Although stocking up on a lot of sleep can never guarantee to prevent all infection and diseases, it still ensures that your body is armed to defend against the illness that can come its way.

To doze off fast at night, the best thing you can have is increased light exposure during the day. You should know that your body has a natural time-keeping clock known as the circadian rhythm. It is essentially an internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and provides the body with energy during day time. Natural sunlight ensures that your cardiac rhythm always remains healthy.

  • Quit Smoking

Smoking is a habit that harms the immune system quite badly, making it less successful in fighting disease. Moreover, smoking compromises the balance of the immune system, increasing the risk of several immune and autoimmune disorders. 

One should know that unlike other addictions, smoking is not something that can be gotten rid of overnight. It requires a proactive approach to beat this addiction slowly but surely. One of the ways to do it is by using a great substitute to the traditional cigarettes called e-cigarettes. This is a device that will help you to control the nicotine intake and fight the withdrawal symptoms effectively as well.

  • Practice Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is one of the best methods to improve the immune responses in human beings. Apart from immunity, meditation also helps in boosting cognitive function and also to reduce blood pressure. All you need to do to be mindful is to be aware of the current situation you are in.

We, as human beings have a tendency to remain in the past or in the future. This not only affects our mental health but also affects us physically, as a lot of stress gets accumulated within.

One of the easiest ways to meditate is to be aware of your breath. This technique is also called Vipassana which helps in disciplining your thoughts and to improve the focus.

  • Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking plenty of water throughout the day has tons of benefits associated with it. Firstly, water helps in carrying oxygen to your body cells, resulting in the proper functioning of the systems. It also flushes out harmful toxins from the body making you healthy and radiant. 

You can also add lemon in your drinking water which helps in preventing the common cold and the degeneration of cells. Drinking between four to eight ounces of water is ideal for being in a healthy and strong condition.

  • Consume Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits are great immunity boosters. They have huge amounts of Vitamin C in it which plays a vital role in preventing infections and other illnesses. Citrus fruits include Lemon, Orange, Grapes, Guava which you can easily adopt in your daily diet too. The VItamin C in the fruits produce the white blood cells in the body which act as front line warriors in fighting diseases.

Though you can consume citrus fruits any time of the day, it would be best that you avoid eating it immediately after a meal, owing to the risk of acid formation.

All in All

You have just seen some of the best tips to improve your overall immunity. If you can practice some self-discipline and try to implement these steps in daily life, you will be in a much better position in beating this dreaded coronavirus. It would be best if you can adopt a positive mindset in life as it is the best mantra for overcoming all kinds of obstacles in life.

About the Author

Lynda Arbon is a passionate and enthusiastic health blogger. She likes keeping herself updated on health trends and blogs. Her favorite pastime is learning history and solving crossword puzzles. Follow her on Twitter.

%%focuskw%% | Self-Improvement Tips to Boost Your Immune System For Tackling Coronavirus