We’ve all experienced throngs of annoying relatives or sometimes our own parents, saying stuff like “When are you giving us good news?” and “Your biological clock is running out”, regardless of how inappropriate it may be. In some families, a woman’s worth is determined by the number of children she produces. (And we’re not even getting into the whole gender-of-child debate just yet.) With rigid patriarchal notions in place, it can often seem like all women are good for is reproduction. And while giving birth is an important part of life, is that what really determines a woman’s identity? And where does that leave women who can’t conceive naturally?
Unpopular opinion, but we’re just going to say it – it’s okay to not want to have children. It’s about time we acknowledged that women are well-rounded individuals, not baby-making machines. Not to mention the fact that the whole ‘have kids because your biological clock is ticking’ and ‘a woman isn’t complete until she’s had a baby’ trope is sexist and dated AF.
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And well, having children is hard. Not only is it a lifelong commitment, but it also means raising an actual human being and hoping they don’t turn out a serial killer. Also, it’s a huge financial, physical, and emotional commitment that some people just don’t want to undertake – and that’s fine. It’s their body, their choice – and we, as a society, need to take into account that not everyone wants to have children. A lot of people have very valid points for not wanting to have children, and we spoke to them to fully understand why they’re choosing to not be a parent. Here’s what they had to say:
“I’m choosing not to have kids, simply because I don’t want to have to deal with the pressures that come with having a baby. I feel everyone is going to be over-involved in the process, and I simply don’t want to have to bear the brunt of their criticisms constantly. Basically, I don’t want my life to turn into a rendition of Rosemary’s Baby. Plus, it’s expensive – and as for hanging out with children, can’t I just be the cool wine aunt?”
“My partner and I don’t want babies because we want to live our lives on our own terms. We’re the kind of people who’d rather up-and-leave for a vacation at any point in time, and we feel that spontaneity is something we’ll have to part ways with if we have children. We do have to deal with the usual incessant questioning about why we’re not adopting or seeking alternative methods by some accepting family, and yes, there are pressures on us, but this is just something we’d rather not do, and we’re at peace with our decision. Why can’t everyone else respect it too?”
“I think the first time I realised I don’t want a child is when I heard a few of my friends talking about how they had baby fever, and couldn’t wait to be mothers, and I couldn’t relate to that impulse at all. I think women having their identities defined by being birth-givers is redundant, and I’m at a point where I’d rather focus on developing myself. I can’t take the responsibility of another human being just yet. Also, the world is messed up – why would I want to bring a child into it in the first place?”
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Also, this isn’t to say one option is better than the other – it’s just about making choices that are right for you, and having the power to make them. Your uterus, your choice!
*Names have been changed to retain anonymity