Childless, not Worthless
Not being a mother does not make you less of a woman
Some women simply know they don’t want to be mothers. They have reasons varying from scarcity of resources, to hereditary diseases and overflowing orphanages.
Others want nothing more than to be mothers, then find out they (or their partners) are biologically incapable.
These women are faced with a whole new set of double standards and societal prejudices.
A woman in her early 20’s seeking sterilisation will probably be told things like “you’re too young to make this decision” and to “wait until after you’ve had one or two kids” by her gynaecologist, parents, friends, and even complete strangers. “You will regret your decision,” they will say. “You will change your mind,” they will opine.
Saying these things means questioning her capacity to make life-changing choices, despite being an adult.
It presumes that the woman who doesn’t want children, doesn’t know herself and doesn’t know what she wants. They seem to think they know her better than she knows herself.
It implies that a woman who doesn’t want to be a mother, is somehow not natural and cannot therefore be taken seriously.
“When are you two finally going to have a baby?,” hears the woman who cannot naturally conceive and hasn’t told anyone but her husband. She feels betrayed by her own body, while the world at large asks ignorant and insensitive questions, because...“well, you’re married...why don’t you have
“It’s the next step,” they declare, as if a woman’s life is set out in a plan she can download from library archives.
Not being able to have a child of your own body has some women questioning their worth, their marriage and their purpose.
Considering options like IVF draws unwanted, unasked for, and sometimes mortifying, opinions. These women have to listen to off-hand comments like “you could always adopt” from people who had no trouble giving birth to their own children and could not possibly fathom the disappointment.
Statements like “you don’t know what you’re missing” and “there is no greater joy in life than having a child”, insinuate the life of a woman who doesn’t have kids is somehow worth less. Is somehow less fulfilling. Is somehow tainted and lacking.
Not having a child does not make you less of a woman, and not wanting one in the first place does not make you a monster.
In a TED Talk published on December 7, 2017, Christen Reighter said: “I’ve always believed that having children was an extension of womanhood, not the definition.”
You cannot be a mother without also being a woman, but you are a woman regardless of whether you are a mother or not.
Your worthiness and identity as a spouse, an adult or a woman, is in no way tied to your uterus.
Society will one day catch on and realise a single fact: whether a woman wants a child or not, when a woman will have a child or not, and how a woman will have a child or not, is absolutely up to the woman concerned and is not up for discussion, unless that woman asks for an opinion.