Stop Pressuring Women to Be Moms: It’s Insulting to Assume We All Want The Same Thing by R K Bussel
- I used to wonder why my childfree friends were so adamant about what they didn’t want—but I get it now
- We talk a lot about freedom of choice when it comes to reproduction, but there’s still one choice that women face an unconscionable amount of backlash over: the decision not to have kids. In an essay for (Link): Marie Claire, writer Starre Vartan details the opposition she’s faced in the dating and medical arenas over her choice to remain childfree, with a gynecologist telling her “That’s what we’re here for” and two boyfriends deliberately removing condoms during sex in a disgusting attempt to force her to change her mind:
- “I…explained how terrified I was, physically and mentally, to be pregnant, to care for needy small humans. Two different, otherwise wonderful, handsome, and brilliant men said they ‘understood’ after I opened up about my fears. And then they each promptly sabotaged the birth control that I was very strict about.”
- Assuming that all women automatically want kids is insulting—to everyone. It insults those who do plan to have kids or are parents already by diminishing the sheer amount of physical and emotional labor that goes into the undertaking. It insults those who don’t want kids, or aren’t sure, by elevating motherhood above every other option….
- …Nobody wins by coercing someone else into becoming a parent, or making someone feel guilty, damaged or ostracized for not wanting kids.
- …Here’s another news flash: those who are childfree may very well enjoy kids, but not want to have their own, just as you can be an animal lover and not want to be a pet owner. But with children, it’s assumed, as Bryant writes, that because you can, you automatically should, as if your maternal instincts will go entirely to waste otherwise….
- ..But pressure to have kids is a problem for more than just the adamantly childfree; those subtle and not so subtle questions and hints, from family members, friends, coworkers or strangers take a toll. In a moving essay, (Link): Margo Lockhart details her inability to process the fact that her daughter wasn’t gung ho to become a mom, writing “I have been guilty of expecting my daughter to have children without really asking her if that is what she saw for herself.”
- …Having kids isn’t something we should expect people to decide on a whim, or because it’s expected, or because of their gender.
- …This baby pressure is tied directly to reproductive freedom, because how free can we possibly be when we are bombarded with the idea that we should want kids, or it makes us somehow less human, less womanly, less loving? It could even lead to more abortions, if men like Vartan’s lovers consider birth control something they can use or not at will.
- Women should not have to detail for anyone their reasons for not wanting kids, nor should they be shamed or railroaded into having them. What purpose does that serve—to either make women feel guilty for not having kids, or push them toward doing something they know in their hearts isn’t really for them?
- ..Too many people are all too happy to assume that what’s right for them is what’s right for everyone else, rather than simply making peace with the fact that some women (and men) want kids, some don’t, some aren’t sure and some may change their minds. Those options are all fine; what’s not fine is claiming that, say, because you love your kids, everyone will love having kids, or because you regret not having kids, all women will.
(Link): Pro-Life, Yet Anti-Celibacy, Anti-Childless Christian Site Tweets Story about Mother Who Slit New Born Infant Son’s Throat to Save Her Sex Life (Christians equating single or childless / childfree women to women who murder their babies)
(Link): Hypocrisy: Conservative Christians / Catholics Pressure Women To Feel Their Only Worth is in Becoming Mothers, But If Women Try to Use Medical Technology to Get Pregnant, the Women Are Condemned by The Same Groups
(Link): “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” – one of the most excellent Christian rebuttals I have seen against the Christian idolatry of marriage and natalism, and in support of adult singleness and celibacy – from CBE’s site
(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