Cultural Discrimination Against Childless and Childfree Women – and link to an editorial by a Childless Woman / A few things you shouldn’t say to a childless woman, by Wendy Squires
Before I include the editorial, I’d like to remind anyone who reads this that I am a conservative.
One of the most irritating things I have seen on politically conservative blogs is that any time the blog owner runs a link to an editorial like this one, one about childless women, immediately, 99% of the conservative readers assume that the childless woman is a secular feminist who hates men, family, and traditional morals. Some probably harbor a secret feeling that all women who are not crazy about babies sacrifice them to Satan, so strong is their hatred and odd-ball suspicion of women who do not marry and have children.
It does not seemingly occur to these idiots – some of whom again are my fellow conservatives – that sometimes conservative men and women (such as me) do not have children, and will never have children, because we are sterile, barren, infertile, are not married and don’t wish to conceive outside of wedlock, or are just are not interested in being mommies and daddies.
That is, there is no sinister motive or evil reason why conservatives and Christians do not have children. There is no sinister reason for why we are not interested in having children. There is no hidden agenda. But many conservatives and some Christians assume there must be an evil agenda or some perverted reason why other people don’t want kids.
Yes, it is possible to be Christian, conservative, Republican, pro- life, pro- traditional values, pro- family and not have children, or have no interest in having kids.
It is simply not true that all childless or childfree people support abortion or are liberal, democrat, or atheist, or hate children.
But you should see the amount of automatic hatred and vitriol that spills out of conservative people’s keyboards when commenting on childfree/childless testimonies. These types of conservatives are just as narrow minded and hate-filled as the liberals and secular feminists they claim to disagree with.
One common insult by conservatives I see tossed at childless women who write these editorials about the discrimination they face as being childless is that they are “bitter.”
Sure, sometimes childless or childfree women sound angry (but even if they sound friendly because they are in fact friendly and content, it doesn’t stop critics from calling them “bitter” anyhow), but the reason they sometimes sound angry (bitter) is not from the state of being childless, but because they are damn sick and tired of being continually insulted directly or indirectly by our child-crazy culture that assumes a woman is flawed, selfish, or strange if she does not have children, or is not interested in having any.
There is nothing wrong with choosing to forgo motherhood. A woman’s worth is not wrapped up in pro-creating.
Here is a link to the editorial along with most of its content:
Not all women can have babies or want to have babies
There are two words for the woman who reached over the table, grabbed my hand and in a consolatory tone announced, “It’s a tragedy you never got around to having children. It’s the most wonderful thing a woman can do.”
Those words are “shut” and “up” (the printable response) or, more charitably, “think” and “first”. Because it doesn’t take Freud to work out this statement was patronising, assumptive and just plain insensitive.
The would-be Buddhist in me told me these were her issues. This woman was jealous that I exist happily without children. The thought of a life without being a mother is too dark for her to contemplate. She couldn’t cope without ticking that box and believes I should feel the same. She was projecting her own issues on me, transferring her pain.
But I still wanted to thump her. Hard. Not just for me, but for all childless women. I’m talking about sisters on IVF; the ones who can’t carry to term; those who’ve suffered stillbirth or the loss of a child; the infertile; those with infertile partners; the ones hoping and waiting on a committed relationship; the ambivalent; the never intended to and don’t feel the need to justify the fact.
Most of the childless women I know do find peace with their circumstances, even if it takes some time. Until, that is, someone comes along and demands their curiosity itch be scratched as to why no kids or, worse, declares you emotionally or spiritually unfulfilled with uncalled for comments such as the one I endured.
I believe children are a gift and not a given in life, and those who receive should be grateful. They should not be offering from on high “Oh, it is such a pity”, “a tragedy”, “you would have loved it”, consolations to those without – even if well intended. People need to stop and think what they are really saying to another with “you don’t know love until you have a child”, “I wasn’t complete until I had kids”, “you are nothing without family” or the deplorable “don’t you like children?”
A guised compliment does not a sympathetic or empathetic person make. And being a mother doesn’t necessarily mean you are a good one or in a position to inform someone else that they would be. A woman’s reason for being childless is her own. It is no one else’s business to fill in the blanks.
A friend of mine who is a well-known celebrity understands this. I was watching when she was interviewed on TV once. The male host skipped through her bio with the clanger, “You decided to choose career over family …”
I will never forget my friend’s face, frozen in a smile that hid the angry tears I knew were welling. I was aware she had not chosen career over family as he so rudely surmised, but that she had miscarried her much-wanted baby late term and was told she would never have another as a result. Like most women there was a backstory to her situation, one that didn’t need ignorant supposition to aggravate.
I was with a girlfriend who had recently been told to give up on IVF and witnessed her pain when the “you don’t know love until you have a child” remark was dropped at a party. I have often wondered if those making the comments were aware of how they may feel if the roles were reversed and childless women asked: “What on earth made you want do that?” or “it’s not all rainbows and unicorns being a mother, you know”.
…. These women [her childless friends of various ages] are living with statistics showing they have little to no chance of conceiving, and are destined to join the ranks of the fastest-growing family type in Australia, childless. The Bureau of Statistics predicts that by 2031 the proportion of families with children will be overtaken by couples without, by 38 to 43 per cent. Yet this teetering majority is barely heard in our “working family” skewed society. There are no tax breaks if you are childless. None. Yet they too pay for education, baby bonuses and infant healthcare that their family will never call on.
The simple fact – not that it is anyone’s damn business in the first place – is that most childless women today feel the decision was taken out of their hands through lack of financial and emotional security. According to a study in Australia’s Journal of Population Health, many childless women in their 30s want to have children, but can’t due to reasons ”beyond their control” such as not having a partner, stable relationship, or partner that wants children.
Perhaps in future when judging another woman on her life choices or publicly applauding your own, these statistics should be kept in mind. Not all women are awarded the same opportunities in life and not all women want or need them. Surely we can all agree on mutual respect and consideration of circumstance as a safe middle ground.
Related posts this blog:
(Link): Totally Obnoxious Parent: Childless Couple Who Donates to Childrens Charities Lambasted by Snotty Adult Sister for Not Showering Her Kids with Christmas Presents – Parents Who Discriminate Against the Childless or Childfree
(Link): Homosexual Father Arrested for Raping His Nine Year Old Son, Filming it For Perverted Friends, Lets Friend Rape His Kid, Resulting in Kid Getting STD – Parenthood Does Not Make People More Godly or Mature