Child-free and Guilt-free: Surviving the Cult of Motherhood

Trust me, I get why women want children. From a young age, we’re told that it’s the end all be all of our lifetimes. Some people may feel that they need the extra motivation, and some people may feel that they got done everything they needed to before children. And of course there are biological reasons for people wanting to reproduce as well- keeping the human race going- but, I just don’t want them.

On top of that, it goes against my personal morals to have children. Let’s look at it this way: the planet is dying, we’re over populated, child birth is still a killer, religion still dictates that women should pop out some children, and women still take on a disproportionate amount of child care. That along with my genetics (and honesty my boyfriend’s family tendency towards high cholesterol and his scoliosis) counts us out as genetically compatible to have children. I don’t have the energy, the time, or the health.

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My boyfriend and I on a vacation, alone, that we enjoyed without children.

I used to  feel some kind of pull towards popping out some rugrats, but then I took a look at my life and think “wow, wouldn’t this be cool forever.”

It’s not that I hate women who have children or look poorly on their choices, it’s just that I feel that motherhood is somewhat a cult in America. Especially young motherhood.

As I’ve gotten older, the arguments about sexual education and reproductive health have become more divisive, and a long with that, so have the ideas of whether or not it’s okay to be child-free. While it seems on the surface that we’re becoming more okay with it, we’re really not. Let’s dig into that.

I’ve been called selfish, sinful, told I’ll “change my mind”, “what if your boyfriend wants children?”, “what if you get married?”,”you don’t want to give your parents grandchildren?”

In all reality, the way people view parenthood is a lot like a cult. You can’t dissent, and if you do dissent, then people will try to find a way to stop you, make you feel ostracized, or simply exclude you.

Why do people feel that the only way to be successful in life is to pop out a few rugrats? Why is my worth as a woman wrapped up entirely on whether or not I can reproduce?

We are socialized from a young age to believe that we should be mothers. Men are socialized, less, to believe they must be fathers. My hypothesis? The religious influence rules heavily over this issue.

Religion plays a huge role in child rearing. This is one of my biggest issues with the pushy nature of people over the reproductive choices of other people. There are entire religious deviant art pages, as well as multiple Christian websites, but even secular op ed sites like Newsweek are choosing to opt into this bizarre trend of policing the choices of other people because it’s “selfish.”

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At a Paul McCartney  concert, at which there were many children screaming not having a fun time at all. 

There’s another rumor going around the land of compulsory motherhood that goes like this: “You don’t appreciate all your mother did for you?”. The answer is no, I do actually appreciate what my mother did for me. Just because I don’t want children myself doesn’t mean I’m not grateful to have been born. In fact, it’s just a recognition of all of the sacrifice my mother made for me.

 

I recognize that some may see the choice to not have children as selfish, but think about it: it’s better for me to be a non-mother than to be a mother who is unfit, who neglects her children or walks out. I’m not cut out. I don’t have the patience. I would be a terrible mother, especially as someone who is artistic by nature. In reality, being child free is the least selfish decision I could make.

People may think I’m attacking mothers, but that just isn’t the case. I think it’s a woman’s choice whether or not to have a baby; that being said, from a feminist analysis, one may be able to say that motherhood is compulsory.

When something is compulsory, it can sometimes seem that it’s the right choice, when in reality it has just been socialized as the norm. Support for this argument comes from the many women who regret their children, including this article from well known magazine Marie Claire.  Almost all of the women make a statement on how they felt that motherhood was just what people do. I know it’s hard to figure out your true feelings vs. what you’re supposed to do.

In short, I leave women who choose to have children alone, and I wish they would just leave us alone. I wrote this blog in order to address a real problem, though it is an unpopular opinion, it’s my life. It’s the women who decide to be child free who get to choose what they get to do. As long as you and your partner are on board the same ship, there should be no issue. Other people’s lifestyles are none of our business, and to my childfree ladies, keep rocking it

 

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3 thoughts on “Child-free and Guilt-free: Surviving the Cult of Motherhood

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  1. I get the “selfish” thing often being a married child free woman reaching the big 3.0. I feel it’s the exact opposite. My mom is schizophrenic. my dad is schizophrenic, my brother is schizophrenic and then there’s me. My gene pool is like the Ganges, I don’t want anyone swimming in it!

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