Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Childless Feminist

A few weeks ago I posted a link to The Current Conscience, a blog by LA feminist and writer, Yashar Ali (yes, he is a man!).  I Don't Want to Have Kids.  There were 13 likes and 10 comments.  The article struck a chord with many of my friends, particularly those who are women.  It felt good to see that many women felt like I did:  frustrated, pressured and not valued for our choices. So for today's blog I thought I would write down all the things people have said to me about my choice, my very personal choice, to contribute to society in a different way than my friends and family who have children. 

"That's the biggest mistake you'll ever make."
"It's good you know you'd be a bad parent."
"You're too young to make that decision."
"You're not too old" (Told this at 42 & 43 years old)
"There's nothing better in this world than having children."
"But you'd make such a good mom."
"But being pregnant is so amazing." 
"Who will take care of you when you are old?"  This question assumes that ALL children care for their aging parent, and this we know is not the case.

I would love to have readers add to this list.  My sister, who is 28, and her fiance, are starting to feel this same pressure.  What's frustrating about this is that she is 15 years younger than me, yet she is getting the same exact pressure from society.  Why do we continue to remain stagnant or even go backwards as a culture?  I also wonder if I would be questioned the same way if I was in a relationship with a woman rather than a man?  Is this compulsory heterosexuality at work or some other term we haven't coined?  Compulsory motherhood? 

Take for instance the recent debates about contraception.  Really?  In 2012 a hot button topic of the Republican race for President is going to be whether women should have the right to contraception or not?  It makes me sick.  Our Ophthalmologist recently told us of a study she read (she is the mother of twins) that the happiest people in U.S. society are actually couples without children.  Remember the term DINKs?  Apparently as much as people claim that having children is the "best thing ever," it turns out the happiest people are those without the pressures of children.  

Yet I remain proud that I have chosen, with my own free will, and in deep discussion with my partner, that we will choose to be a wonderful Aunt and Uncle to our nieces and nephews.  We will continue to value the precious time we have together as a couple.  


Koby said...

Here is one to add to the list: "Why can't you be like everybody else and just have kids?"

As the ony one of 20 cousins in a large Italian family not to have my own children, I was asked all those well meaning but no less insulting questions back in the 70's & 80's. It was assumed that there must be a mental and/or physical reason that I did not have children. It never occured to them that it was my choice. Consequently I NEVER ask the question: "So, when are you going to have a baby?" I have been happy with my choice. But I also got a bonus because I have you - even though I did not have you! Luv, Koby Stepmom

Shannon said...

Do NOT believe anyone who tells you that being pregnant is awesome or that kids make you happy - they LIE. I say this with the greatest affection for my kids - wouldn't trade them for the world, but sometimes I envy you and your choice. Every parent does - I think maybe they say these things to you (not to hold them blameless though - they shouldn't say these kinds of things) out of guilt for sometimes wanting to be child free.