And If They Don't Change?
This is not a feminist rant. It is instead the exploration of why people cannot accept someone's decision, from a female specific point of view (as you will find out).
In 1999/2000, my childhood interest in having a baby doll was found dead after the birth of my second sibling: my brother. I remember being in the hospital for some of the bits and pieces of his arrival, holding and nurturing a baby doll that was made to be extremely life-like. It was a baby boy, of course for the anticipated arrival of my new brother (something my parents probably did to help me start to adjust to the changes coming), and it never cried.
In 2004/2005, as part of our fifth grade year, we created flour-sack babies as part of a health/sex education class project, a pure example of wrongly timed education in my opinion as a bunch of immature fifth graders were throwing sacks of flower around or thinking of how they would "self destruct" the flour baby once the project was over. I remember dressing mine up, keeping it on my hip usually, and being mostly annoyed by it every now and then. It was a burden more than anything, but did I honestly learn anything from it? Consciously, I don't think so; subconsciously, it might have created my innate desire to never have children (??).
As the years progressed my mindset on children began to grow stronger; my mother volunteering me for babysitting jobs until she realized that I'm probably not the most ideal person to leave kids with because well, I hate them. At one point it became an actual aversion, where I didn't want to stand anywhere near a child under the age of twelve. They were usually gross, smelled gross, and had gross things dripping from their hands or face. The more women who I watched get their bellies rubbed by random people or how they would make you stare at their stomach until the alien inside them kicked them and the mother SMILED. Don't even get me started about childbirth....
Finally, as I reached the age of twenty-four, I could feel my mother finally accepting that she was never going to get grandchildren out of me. Part of me does feel apologetic for my decision because I know how much she values family and how much joy it would bring her to spoil a new family member. I do honestly believe that she has come to terms with my decision, I also believe that she holds a small, tiny reserve of hope that one day I might change my mind. That'll be the day Momma!
So why am I writing this then? Sure plenty of women, men, couples - they are choosing to not have children either, for a plethora of reasons. Some do not want to pass their family genes down to yet another child, some find they have no desire, some have no choice in the matter as nature has decided for them. It may make me selfish to not want children simply because it will take away from my life in ways that I am not ready to sacrifice. I know myself well enough to know that I will feel robbed.
Where the frustration lies with this topic is that folks still do not believe the words coming from my mouth when I have made it known that I do not want to have children, by any definition. They say things like "well in five years you might change your mind", "you're going to be different in even a couple of years, you don't know if that will stay that way", "you'll change your mind, you're still young". No one readily accepts that I have made that choice for myself; they don't understand that I already looked into getting my tubes tied and to my horror found that I could suffer from a life threatening pregnancy if it happened. They don't hear me when I say that I have been taking birth control since age sixteen and that I never plan to live without it.
Women are allowed to not want to put our only body through that special type of hell; to not want to experience sleepless nights or always accommodating for a child; to not desire to feel that "special bond" that mothers swear by in birthing your own blood. We are allowed to not want children.
. . .
Take a moment to stop and smile when a woman tells you what her decision is, or maybe what she hopes to have in life, whether it may be with children or without. Smile at her to let her know that whatever choice she has made, is the right one for her.