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Can a Woman Be Happy Without Children?

Sexism in Motherhood

Photo by Simon Rae on Unsplash

I've written in previous articles about my views on motherhood. Since a child, I always wanted a little baby to take care of. This is part of the reason I was a bit overbearing when it came to raising my brother. I would treat him as my own child and chastise him, leading to me getting a talk about how I am not the mother. As I have grown and developed, the thought of childhood keeps getting pushed farther back. I'm always on the fence; do I want a baby or not?

In all honesty, I am pleased right where I am now in life. I have a fantastic career, a loving boyfriend, as well as phenomenal people supporting me. It might seem selfish to some, but I don't want to add a kid to this mix. I love being able to spend all my time with my boyfriend or go out whenever I feel like it. While I love my niece, I love being able to hand her off and go on with my own day. Do you want to know what I have realized? This is not selfish and should never make me less of a woman.

Throughout the years I have noticed a switch in conversation with people. I now get asked on a near constant basis when I am going to have a child. As if my clock is ticking at 25, strangers push their opinions down my throat till I suffocate. My boyfriend, on the other hand, has never been asked this question once (unless I was right there with him, in which case it is still directed towards me). Why is he not being pressured? Technically he is older than me, so shouldn't he be getting asked these questions too?

While it isn't as taboo nowadays, it is still difficult for society to look at a woman who does not want kids. It makes us look like workaholics, selfish, or even missing something in our life. This is quite honestly the most sexist thing I have ever been faced with. It is normal for a man to go through life without children but despicable for women. At what point do we stop and assess what we are pushing on people?

What these people are saying, in laments terms, is that they would rather you birth a child that you don't want or are not ready for than live a life for yourself. There is a problem in society if we are willing to look down on an individual for not doing something rather than creating a child out of a pressurized situation. If you are not 100% committed to a child then, in my opinion, that is selfish. Your views should never be forced onto my body. Ever.

“Well, you just don't know what you are missing. You cannot truly love until you have had a child.” I wish I could say this was a made up dialogue. You are right, I don't honestly know how I would feel if I had a baby because I don't have one. Yet, I wake up content and happy with my life every day. I don't go to bed feeling a hole in my heart or feel like I'm missing out. Trust me, every woman thinks about having a kid at some point in their life (just like every man does). While some can't reproduce, others just chose that this was not the life for them.

This is not insulting to you or your opinion. What a woman does with her body is her own right. She is not selfish or missing out. At the end of the day, her decisions don't impact your day to day life, so why try to belittle her? A woman can, in fact, be happy without a child, just like a man. “You were made to have children.” Yes, but so was a man. It takes two people to create a child. You don't see people lining up to criticize them for their choices.

One day I might change my mind and want to start a family. For right now, I have absolutely no urge to have a child. If I want one later in life (and am unable to), I will look into adoption. My 'clock' won't keep me from making decisions. I also know people have strong opinions on this as well. “It won't be the same, they are not your flesh and blood.” Again, are you telling this to a man? So many marriages break apart, and you find another partner. While they did not help in the creation of your children, they love them as their own (most of the time). No matter how I have a child, I will love them fully and completely because I chose to have them.

Your opinion won't make me love a child. If I were to become pregnant right now, I would care for my baby and love him or her thoroughly. That being said, bringing a child into this world because you want me to will put a hardship in my life that I am not ready for (or need). That is my perspective, and I am entitled to it. I know a lot of families who had 'accident' babies and don't regret anything (and that's fantastic). I never look down on another human being for their choices, so don't look down on me for mine.

This sexist double standard needs to stop. I should not feel awkward or ashamed of myself for wanting the life I have. In fact, the question alone can be triggering. For all you know, a woman is not having a child because she is unable to and you bringing it up is only reiterating that fact for her. The fact that some women are scared to tell their parents they don't want children is sad. I know I personally change the topic during the holidays because some of our family members (my mother excluded) make me feel like less of a person for not 'expanding the family line.'

If you are a woman who does not want a child, then I am happy for you. You deserve the most joyous of lives, no matter what that looks like. What you do or don't do with your body makes no difference to me. Don't let other people pressure you into thinking you are less of a female because you don't possess that need. We are all unique individuals with different wants and needs. Next time you want to tell a woman that she is missing out, remember how sexist you are about to be and stop yourself. Opinions are great, but keep them off my uterus. 

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