Informal Feminism

{August 7, 2011}   My Choice About Children

I had a good friend of mine up this weekend. I was in Women’s Studies with me and we share a lot of the same views on life. Whenever we get together we have interesting conversations about a variety of topics. This weekend during the course of the discussions we talked about our mutual view that we do not wish to have children. I am going to clarify for you immediately, I like children and I have a few in my life that rank high on the important scale including my partner’s eight year old son and one of good friend’s daughter who is a year and a half. These are children who I have no problem being a part of life or taking a role in their lives. However, I do not wish to have my own children.

When I make this statement I usually receive a sideways glance or the comment ‘you will one day’ or ‘give it time’. It is these comments that drive me crazy because to these people there is no doubt that I will have children one day. I know my own opinion on the issue and it’s been the same since I was a young teenager, I do not want to have my own biological children and it is not something that I have doubts on in my own mind. As a stated before I like children and I think I am pretty good with them, they seem to like me back. When people see me with babies they lament my choice to not have children with the echoing phrase “but your so good with them, how could you not want your own”. The fact that I enjoy playing with the children in my life does not mean that I am destined to be a mom myself.

A woman who states that she does not want children is often looked down upon, as if we are not good enough as women to be able to maintain a family as well as the other parts of our lives. We are opting out of what many people feel to be a huge and fulfilling part of their lives; this opting out gives people the perception that we are selfish and destined to be spinsters. I have spent a lot of time taking about how we need to give our mothers more respect because they work so hard for us. Women who choose not be mothers don’t really get much acknowledgement. We are seen as less womanly because we choose not to participate in that motherly role. Men who decide not to have children do not face the same stigma as women because they are not seen as taking an active role in their children’s life by society already.

I think it is hard to be a woman who declares that they do not wish to have children because now there is an instant stigma. My decision is not something that I have a desire to put a maybe on, as in maybe I will have children one day, just to make people feel more comfortable. I do not want to be perceived as a bad, lonely, selfish person because of this decision but I am. People instantly do not think I have struggles of my own or that my issues are not as serious because I don’t have or want children. I have known a lot of women who have had children and talk about their fulfillment because of it but I choose to find my fulfillment in different ways. I would also like to state that this is not a choice that I make because I want to drink and party and I do not intend to seem selfish because of this decision. In fact I drink very little and my version of a party is a nice night by the fire with friends. I am just a woman who has chosen a path that doesn’t include having my own biological babies and I wish to not be judged because of that choice.


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