Let’s be honest, motherhood sucks!
While we still have free speech (since we don’t know what fascist law we’ll face tomorrow), let’s be honest about what it means to be a mother in our society.
I’m not here to criticize mothers or to discourage those who wish to become one. However, we must understand the “Why” behind being a mother before we can decide if childless women are toxic and a danger to our society.
I was chatting with my forty-seven-year-old aunt the other day. She’s single and rich, never married and childless. She has turned down many suitors and lives by herself in a big mansion.
I advised her to adopt a child now she has entered menopause and she’s not dating anyone at the moment to consider the possibility of accidental pregnancy.
I told her she needs an heir who will inherit all the wealth if not her assets will be passed down to people who never contributed to her success.
Yes, I said all that.
I have come to realize that men don’t often take care of their wives when they are old. They rather remarry a younger woman who will continue to dote on them when their old wives can’t do much as they used to when they were young.
Judging by the experiences I have seen, when couples get old, the woman is usually cared for by her children, and not her husband.
When I hear women say they don’t want kids, I quickly interject my opinion on what’s best for them.
“That’s a big mistake. Have at least one baby girl who will take care of you,” I’d say. Yah me! The master of know-it-all.
Looking back on my conversation with childfree women, I asked myself, “Why do I think they are making a mistake for not choosing to be mothers?”
“Is this my believe as a person or an ideology that is ingrained in my head?”
Honestly, I thought really hard about my comments. It keeps popping into my head when I see posts and videos about childfree women by choice.
My belief that every woman should have a child even if they don’t have a husband was learned. Everything we think is right or wrong is learned behavior and can be unlearned if they hurt you and put others in harm’s way.
Motherhood, a woman’s safety net
I was nineteen when I got pregnant. I found out I was pregnant in the hospital, three months after my accident. When I missed my period for the first two months, I complained to my doctor and nurses and they said it was normal due to the trauma caused by the accident.
I didn’t think there was a chance a fetus could survive under my circumstances, with all the drugs I was pumped with to relieve pain and induce sleep, so I relaxed my mind. By their third month, my body started changing. I would vomit when I perceive drugs and I noticed pains in my left stomach.
After close observation, one of the nurses I had become friends with advised that we do a pregnancy test. The result came out positive.
That day, I cried bitterly.
I told my boyfriend (my daughter’s father) that I wanted an abortion. My mum was against it. She even threatened my boyfriend that she will hold him responsible if anything happens to me.
But I was persistent and told her I couldn’t raise a baby in my condition. I didn’t know what my fate would be if I never walk again as the doctors said.
When we got to the gynecologists. We did some x-rays and further tests. The doctor said I may never have another child if I had an abortion. I was in a dilemma. The chances of my walking again were slim to none. And if I lost my child, I may never have another one after I recover.
I thought about the difficulty of living the rest of my life in a wheelchair and the possibility of my boyfriend leaving me. So I decided to keep my baby.
Raising my daughter in a wheelchair wasn’t easy for me. Sure, I had my parents and siblings doing most of the job and my boyfriend only supported me financially, but I was left alone with my girl during the day when they go about their business.
I had dropped out of school. I broke up with my boyfriend and my friends moved ahead of me career-wise. The pressure of being a young disabled mother got me depressed after two years.
Being a mother stole years of life. Even when I got strong enough to manoeuvre the wheelchair, I couldn’t go back to school because there was no one to take care of my daughter. My mom made it very clear to me that I have a responsibility for my child too and that I had to make the sacrifices necessary.
Like me, most women choose motherhood out of selfishness. We don’t want to be alone and we are scared of dying without a loved one by our side so we bring kids into the world to fill that need. But then, the reality of motherhood sets in, and some regret their choice to be a mother.
While you are changing diapers, missing out on friends and work events because you are babysitting your child. Or when you spend hours of sleepless nights trying to stop them from crying or feeding them, you wish you could go back to being childless.
Don’t get me started on how they mess up the house right after you’ve arranged and cleaned the whole place. And the noise when you are trying to get a quick nap.
If you are juggling between work and home, you wear out from the stress of doing school runs, attending your child’s social activities and showing up to work late. Now, if you are a wife and a mother, that is three times the burden single mothers go through.
Dealing with a man is a fully packed burden on its own. If you think dating is hard, wait till you sign the papers and become a married woman. Social expectations of married women drain the life out of women. Wives are expected to feed their husbands, clothe and pamper them like children. They practically enslave themselves to their husbands.
I’m not saying motherhood or marriage is outright bad. There are some happy marriages and I feel proud being a single mother, however, we brag about the good so much and we don’t speak of the bad which gives people a false idea of what to expect until they become a mother or wife.
Motherhood doesn’t define womanhood
Women are defined by their capacity to reproduce. We think women without children or partners have problems.
A woman without a child is seen as worthless and that can make the woman angry. To be seen and treated “as a lesser human being” by society can trigger anyone.
Childfree women battle stereotypes that are not only degrading but inhuman as well. They are accused of hating children because they don’t have one. We ignore the fact that some of these women are victims of their circumstances.
Life happens to anyone and some of the child-free women had to stay childless to save their lives due to one health challenge or another.
On the other hand, we regard mothers as saints without flaws. We think mothers should be humble, loving and submissive. And she’s happy because she sacrifices herself for her family‘s peace and joy. We think a woman who isn’t a mother won’t know what unconditional love is so we make a mockery of them.
We shame childfree women because they do not fit into the status quo.
But of course, selfishness is toxic to a hypocritical society.
I mean if you are doing something that makes you happy, even if you are not hurting anyone with your actions, then you are selfish and invariably toxic.
Toxic means anything that is harmful to human life. And selfishness isn’t toxic unless it endangers someone’s life. So why should we say childfree women are a danger to society when all they have done is what mothers have done, be selfish?
We all make choices out of selfish reasons. Whether you are a woman or a man, whether you procreate or not, our decision to be a mother or father (or neither) is based on how it benefits us.
The patriarchal culture of pushing for a nuclear family is outdated, unethical and immoral. No one should be forced into a relationship or procreate if they don’t want to, and whatever their reason may be is nobody’s business.
Jessey Anthony is a motivational speaker, fitness coach and relationship expert who helps people become confident in themselves in any challenges they face in life. Sign up to my newsletter & more cool stuff.
This article appeared here.