I'm Child-Free and I'm Not Ashamed
Why Does Society Hate Child-Free Women?
Today is Mother’s Day, and I am reminded again of how our society still hasn’t caught up to the year 2021. In a year where “a family” come in all sizes, shapes and forms, I am still told that I am “abnormal” because I’m a woman and don’t have children. Why do child-free women still have to deal with complete strangers asking us questions about our life and choices? When someone finds out we haven’t procreated yet, we get a sad pity look followed by a reassuring comment to not worry, it will happen soon. Please, I beg you to NOT be those people! Do not ask why a woman hasn’t had a child yet and don’t follow it with that comment! For all you know that woman could have been trying for several years to have a child and they could have had several miscarriages or they could have been told they are completely infertile and will never have a child of their own.
I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked completely unwarranted questions about why I don’t have children, why I don’t want children, and the worst of all the person that tells you that “you should have a child because you will die alone”, or better yet the classic question of “who’s going to take care of you when you get old and sick?” That question makes me angry, because first of all if you are having a child for the sole reason of having a caregiver when you get old and sick or having company to watch you die then you do not need a child, at all, ever. How selfish (and ignorant) can you be to just assume that your child is going to take care of you if you get old and sick. Did you ever think that maybe your child or children will be busy with their family, school, or life? Maybe your child moves away or moves to another country to live. Are they supposed to put their life on hold to come be your caregiver and nursemaid? I always tell these people that is why they have home healthcare, paid caregivers, nurses, etc. Who’s to say that you won’t outlive your child? What if they have health or medical issues and can’t be your planned caregiver?
Society is still way behind when it comes to this issue. Everyone always assumes that a female will have a child or children eventually. Even our television shows and most movies are deceptive and ridiculous. They may start off with the female star being child-free and getting ahead in her life, school, career but then it’s like the writer’s can’t help themselves and have to have the lead suddenly decide out of nowhere that instead of being steadfastly child-free that she has suddenly had a urge to become a mother. Society tells us that this is normal and the expected thing to do and what we should do. Society also tells us that if we don’t want a child then there is something wrong with us, that we are a “bad” or somehow “selfish” person. The most selfish thing to me would be to have a child when I really don’t know if I want one in the first place. It would be selfish of me to bring a child into the world when I’m just having one to make my husband/partner happy, or make a soon to be grandparent happy. It would be selfish for me to decide to have a child almost as an experiment to see if I actually do like kids after all only to decide that I really don’t and then your child grows up knowing that you never really wanted them, liked them and that their very existence was a burden to you.
This isn’t the 1960s or 70s anymore, we need to tell society that there is absolutely nothing wrong with a woman who does not want children of their own! It doesn’t mean we hate children or we are “not normal”. There are many reasons for my decision, including my medical issues, genetics, the world in general, overpopulation, personal choice, no time, the expense, the responsibility, etc. I promised myself if I ever had a child that I would NOT be like my parents. They were both incredibly selfish and immature and should have never had a child in the first place. In fact, my mother did not even like children and she actually never wanted a child at all. She had one because it was an “accident” and my father wanted children and she had never told him her true feelings about children before they were married. I always knew that my mother hated me when I was younger, she even told me that she hated kids in general. My mom ended up having medical issues and she soon got a complete hysterectomy after I was born in 1983. My parents were fighting all the time and ended up going through a nasty divorce when I was 8 years old. My mother also had mental illness and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I always promised myself that if I ever had a child that I would be the best parent possible and I would never put my child through everything that I was subjected too.
The decision to have a child or not is a deeply personal and private decision. We should not have to deal with nosy people telling me what to do with my uterus. I can at least understand older people asking questions since they are from a different generation but I cannot understand media and society from today telling us all to procreate or risk being “abnormal”, “odd” or “lonely”. Society still pushes an outdated and ridiculous agenda when it comes to females having children. Does anyone ever ask a man when he’s going to have a child with someone? Are men called abnormal, odd, selfish, etc. if they decide they don’t want children? Of course not. It should be perfectly acceptable if a woman decides that she wants to be a dog or cat-mom instead of having 3 kids. If a woman says that she doesn’t want kids, the questions should end there. It should not be followed by your horrible beliefs that a woman is here to only procreate, that she must be selfish and horrible, that she is going to die a horrible death alone and that she won’t have a nurse or caretaker either. I don’t want your outdated comments or advice that I never asked for because truth be told you were probably a horrible mother and your children probably moved as far away from you as possible because you felt that your children owed you something just for being born.
If you are a woman and you are having deep feelings that being a mother isn’t for you, go with your gut instinct. Think about why you feel that way. You can love children and still not want to be a mother yourself. You could even have a so-called “mothering instinct” and it doesn’t mean you want children. If you have that instinct, maybe you just have a natural caretaker or nursing mentality. It means that you would be a great nurse or maybe you might be a natural working with kids. Again, it doesn’t mean that you are selfish or that there is anything wrong with you for not wanting to bring a kid into this world. The human race is not going to go extinct tomorrow because some women decide not to have a kid. You can be a parent or parent-figure to animals, plants, step-children, nieces, nephews, etc. You should never get pregnant because you think it’s the so-called normal thing to do, or get pregnant just to make your significant other, partner, parents or family members happy. Those are all the wrong reason and trust me no matter how much you tell your child that you love them, kids can sense if they are wanted or not and they know if you consider them an inconvenience.
Maybe society and media will catch up to real life soon. Until then, live your best life and live your truth. Don’t be pressured to change who you are or be made to think that you are the odd or abnormal one because you’re not. We are just vastly under-represented in media, popular culture and society in general. It also depends on your environment and where you happen to live, your culture, religion, etc. We get pressure to change who we are and our decisions from a lot of different places. I live in Georgia, and trust me everyone here has children. However, I know that I am doing the right thing and making the right decision for myself. Maybe one day it will be normal to portray women with no children as a natural and normal thing in society. Until then.