Why does society still view childless women like me with suspicion?
(Link): Why does society still view childless women like me with suspicion? by E. Day
- Remarks like Leadsom’s go far beyond the usual cut-and-thrust of the political arena and reveal how (Link): childless women are still viewed with innate suspicion. This, in spite of the fact that women in their mid-40s are now almost twice as likely to be childless as their parents’ generation. One in five women born in 1969 is childless today, compared with one in nine women born in 1942.
- But there remains a taboo, a retrograde belief that (Link): we are in some way unnatural for not fulfilling our biological destiny. How else to explain the fact that the first question many people ask when I meet them is whether I have children, followed by an uncomfortable pause when I say that I don’t. “But why?” I can see them thinking. “What’s wrong with her?”
- ….Because the truth is I don’t have children, but it’s not for want of trying.
- It’s not anyone’s business is it? But then stuff like this happens and you think, well, if I don’t talk about it, it just perpetuates that unspoken sense of shame – the curse of childlessness hanging around your neck like the Ancient Mariner’s albatross.
- In 2014, (Link): I had IVF after trying – and failing – to get pregnant for two years. I had two rounds. It was invasive and painful and emotionally draining.
- ….[After attempts at using IVF] In fact, I got pregnant naturally a few months later. I had a scan at seven weeks that showed the baby’s heartbeat and was told the risk of miscarriage was now below five per cent. But I was one of the five per cent. I miscarried at 12 weeks. I spiralled into a period of numbness that I later realised was grief.
- …Not being able to have a baby when you desperately want one gives you a profound degree of empathy and insight into other people’s lives. It’s an empathy distinctly lacking in our modern-day political process and it’s a quality I feel would serve any prime minister well.
- But I’ve lost count of the number of times people have insensitively assumed I don’t want kids (“Oh, I thought you just wanted to focus on your career,” is a regular refrain) or that I’ve been told I’m somehow a lesser person because of my inability to procreate.
- …To say that I or any of these other women [who are child free or have biological problems conceiving] are less invested in society or are somehow lacking is incredibly insulting and why Leadsom’s comments became so toxic, so quickly. Yes, having and raising of children is a major life event. But so is divorce. So is the death of a close friend. So is being made redundant. So is dealing with cancer. We are all shaped by events. There is no hierarchy of experience. We cannot measure how much our life has been altered by one thing and not another.
- ….And what about fathers for that matter? Why isn’t their childlessness perceived as a bar to the top offices of state? (Link): When (childless) Chuka Umunna put his name forward to run for the Labour leadership last year, I can’t recall anyone even asking the question.
(Link): Mother Entitlement – Selfish, Self-Centered Mothers Complain that They Are Not Getting ENOUGH Mother Worship from Culture, Church, or Family on Mother’s Day and Some Moms Complain About Churches Showing Compassion to Childless Women
(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