“Oh, you’ll change your mind!” That’s what I usually hear when I tell someone I don’t want children. That, or “Accidents happen…” said with a snarkish knowing smirk. To that I reply, not on my watch. If so required I will go throug a tubal litigation just to ensure that I don’t become pregnat. Why is it that all females are unreasonably expected to automatically want dozens and dozens of kids? Why are we expected to reproduce the moment we get married? Just think about all those relatives poking the bride at the wedding reception asking how soon they’re going to have kids. You know it’s happened to someone you know… maybe even you.
In this day and age the role of women has changed. No longer are we tools of reproduction confined to the kitchen with a toddler on one hip and another tugging at our pants leg while we’re cooking dinner for our husband who sits smoking his pipe and reading the New York Times in the living room. These days women have careers and lives outside of the home. Now, I am in no way demeaning any woman who makes the choice to stay at home with her darling children. Motherhood is a very demanding and possibly rewarding 24/7 job and I truly admire the woman who can do it. I also admire the women who choose to work outside of the home as well, they’re taking on double duty with the consequence of not seeing their children as often. The women who fill these roles are truly amazing. But not all women fit into these roles.
There are good reasons for not wanting kids. Perhaps you are not in the proper circumstances economically to do so and you make the choice to wait or simply decide against children permanently. Why should you be subjected to the attacks of well-meaning in-laws demanding when they’ll get their first grandchild? Maybe you simply don’t have the temperament to be a mother. I certainly don’t. I would be a terrible mother and for that reason I will not be having children. I refuse to subject any child to what would be a horrific childhood mothered by me.
I’ve often been decried as selfish for not wanting children. It’s my duty, I should be carrying on the family lineage and not worrying about how I’m going to pay for the child’s education or what kind of a mother I would be. There is nothing selfish about not wanting kids for the right reasons. If anything, purposefully bringing a child into this world when you are not prepared to care for them financially, emotionally, or mentally is selfish.
Here is my basic point. Respect all women’s reproductive decisions. Respect the decision to become a stay-at-home mom and the decision to work outside the home while also caring for children. Plese also respect the decision to not have children. Nothing is more insulting than to see the obvious judgment on people’s faces. It’s demeaning and it needs to stop. So the next time you ask someone when they’re having kids and they respond, “Not.” Don’t reply with a knowing comeback and don’t give a fake “That’s nice, but what the hell is wrong with you” smile. Simply accept their decision and move on. After all… it is pretty much none of your business.