We Need To Talk About Pressuring Women To Have Children
As someone who does not want to have children, I am often met with "oh, you'll change your mind someday," or, "oh but you'd be such a good mother," and so on.
It's frustrating (we'll get to why) mostly because that is a decision that should really not be anyone's business in the first place, let alone one forced upon someone.
Also, more and more women are making the same choice, so why are people so invested in what grows in our uteruses?
I have been in a relationship for six years now so aside from people looking at us and tapping their "watches" telling us to hurry on up and get married already, I've also been met with people telling me to give my mother a grandbaby.
Now, I'm sorry, but I feel I was not put on this Earth to just breed. Being a mother is just something I am not called to as something that will give me a sense of purpose.
That is not to say I don't like children. I LOVE kids. In fact, I am an aunt to my two-old nephew and a fresh new baby niece and it is honestly so much fun. However, whenever I am with them I sometimes try to think, like many do, "can I see this being my life too?" I often sit there and try to force myself to picture it and I just can't.
So imagine the frustration when it's something that I have clearly stated I don't want and am so sure in, only to be consistently patronized by people.
This is nothing against people who are parents at all, you're doing something I could never do and that's incredible; however, for me, I can't imagine anything derailing my life and the things I want to do and accomplish more than having a child.
It's just simply not for me and I don't understand what is so hard for people to hear and simply be okay with.
Decreasing Birth Rates
Back in 2019, MLive reported that the birth rate was at a "record low" not only in Michigan but in the United States as a whole.
On top of an already record-low birth rate in 2019, we went into 2020 not expecting a global pandemic. That gave a lot of people time to reflect on what they want but, for some, it gave people that necessary time to start a family if they wanted.
It will be interesting to see the data when it becomes available because based solely on my social media feeds, it looks like there may have been a baby boom.
CLICK HERE for Michigan's birth rates over the years as compiled by MDHHS.
So Why Aren't People Having Babies?
Economic factors are always a major reason to not have children.
Many people of child-bearing age can barely afford to buy a house (haven't you heard millennials killed the market?), are strapped by mountains of debt, and just the simple fact that taking care of ourselves is expensive, adding an expense like a child just isn't feasible for many.
People want to see women have these children so badly, they don't stop to think if that person has the emotional, physical and financial resources to be able to give that child a good life.
Also, let's not even get started on what I can only assume the absolute Hell pregnancy and giving birth is on a woman's body.
Huffington Post recently wrote a very eye-opening piece titled "More Women Are Saying No To Motherhood. Will Society Ever Listen?"
They cited one woman in a previous story who was met with "why not?" when she told people she did not want children and made the point of "Why don't we ask the other question: 'Why are you choosing to have a child?'"
For many women, having a child is like "crossing the finish line" when it comes to their goals in life, and that's great. However, for others it could just be that's what they think they're "supposed" to do.
Why is it other women who maybe don't have those reasons (or others) are questioned for simply wanting different things?
That would be like someone telling me they are afraid of heights and then me critiquing or questioning why they don't want to go skydiving.
What To Say To People Who Doubt Your Decision
Piggybacking off that last remark, what if someone asked you your absolute worst fear, you told them, and they acted like you were some evil person or a "spinster" for not wanting to participate in what scares you most?
It's not that I am scared to have children, I know I would be a kick-ass mom if I had to be...but I don't have to and I don't want to.
I can be a kick-ass aunt, I can be the best partner I can be, the best friend, the best "dog-mom," and so forth.
We really need to stop making women feel like being a mother is the biggest thing a woman HAS to aspire to.
This is not the 1950's anymore and the idea of a "nuclear family" was a fantasy sold to us long ago that was made to look good on TV.
So please, stop asking. You never know if someone is intentionally choosing not to have children, just lost a child, can't have children or is struggling to get there.
Every woman is going through something you know nothing about. Every woman has goals and dreams they would like to achieve.
We are not selfish, we are not greedy, we are not lonely, we are not irresponsible, we are not immature. We just don't want to bring a life onto this planet that either is not wanted or that we could not provide for.
You don't need reasons, you should be able to say "I just don't want to" and it should be met with the same "oh, right on" as when someone starts another wildfire for a gender reveal.
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