Children. Bringers of joy and the purest souls in the universe. Love in human form. Innocent wonder twinkles in their bright eyes like beacons of light, reminding all of us of a simpler time when the only politics we knew were of the playground variety (to be fair, playground politics could get dicey). But seriously, is there anything on the planet more precious than a child’s laughter? I mean, how could ANYone look at a child and not want one or two or ten for themselves? Well get comfortable and I’ll tell you…
Over the years I’ve given this controversial subject more thought than one might imagine. I’ve even contemplated going against everything in my nature and reproducing anyway, mostly to please others and comply with their agenda. I understand the belief a lot of people have that one of the main purposes in life is to have children. I think that’s a deeply held belief that has roots not only in religion, but at a time in history when populating the earth was paramount to the survival of the human race. I salute our ancestors and thank them for all the sex they had so that we could be here today. But for much longer than I’ve been around, there’s been this assumption that being female means you were born to breed. The issue I have with that is that every instinct I have screams at me that this is not my path nor my purpose. I adore children and have worked with thousands over the years but I’ve known since I was very young that I am not meant to be a vessel for another human. I’ve curated a life in which my happiness does not revolve around whether or not someone calls me “mom”, and I am completely at peace with that.
I can’t begin to count the number of times someone has either mentioned me having kids or asked when (not if) I’m going to have kids. After admitting that I won’t ever have to fill out pre-school applications, I’ve been met with raised eyebrows, blank stares, huffs and puffs, and occasional downright hostility. I understand the temporary shock but I always wonder what a person might think if someone said to them, “wait, you WANT to have children? Are you crazy?? Well, don’t worry dear you have plenty of time to change your mind and talk yourself out of the worst decision of your life”. I’ve gotten just about every kind of talking to imaginable from people trying to convince me that having a child is somehow my responsibility to our species or, at the very least, the thing that will make me feel fulfilled and accomplished as a woman. Am I less of a woman if I don’t push another human out of my vagina or have one explode out of me Alien-style? Ok, ok, I’ve never actually seen a c-section but I have seen 80’s movies with women giving birth and it. looks. rough. A guy I knew a long time ago once said (out loud) that even a woman who has given birth isn’t a “real” woman unless she’s had a vaginal birth. Yes, ladies and gents, these people exist and are walking amongst us like regular folk. If that’s the case then I guess I can assume that to him I’ll never be a woman at all, “real” or otherwise, right? Wrong, twittledick. I’m in a place now where I’d be able to articulate to him why his argument is extremely misogynistic, patriarchal, contrived, and unintelligent and ask him to kindly crawl back up into his own asshole from whence he came. But I certainly didn’t have the voice then. And I can’t help but wonder…(oh Jesus I AM a Carrie ??♀️)…do a lot of women hear the same sentiment or something similar for so long that they just surrender to someone else’s will because they’ve been taught that it’s not ok to have their own?
One of the places I work at has really sweet maintenance workers and every once in a while I’ll run into them and strike up a conversation. On more than one occasion I’ve been asked if I have children. When I say no, they put a consoling hand on my arm and get this look of deep concern on their faces and say they are sorry and remind me “not to worry because you can still have children in the future”. This actually happens. Although sometimes “children” is replaced with “husband”, the resulting look of concern is the same. So why are people so concerned with other’s reproduction habits or lack thereof? Do they have kids because it’s just what we’re supposed to do? Do they love their children so much that they can’t imagine someone missing out on the greatest gift of all? Do they believe that a person who doesn’t follow the bible’s mandate to “be fruitful and multiply” is actually committing a sin? Are they worried that we will go the way of the dodo and become extinct in their lifetime? Are they juuust a little resentful of the choice they made and would really love some company in their self-made misery? It might be something else entirely but regardless, just because it’s ok to think these things, it doesn’t mean it’s ok to question and shame my life decisions when they don’t match up with your vision. It’s about autonomy. It’s about making the healthiest and smartest decisions that we can for ourselves based on the information we have in the moment. And ultimately it’s about being supportive and ok with the decisions of others and sending them love, not judgment. We just don’t know why people make the choices they do, and it is simply none of our business.
I’m choosing not to touch on tangential thoughts regarding logical reasons a person can have children but maybe shouldn’t but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. My body, my business. Not my body, not my business. I like it. Maybe I should make t-shirts.
To be very clear, I have deep sympathy and compassion for women who want to conceive but can’t for whatever reason. My heart breaks for those that so desperately want children and circumstances make it difficult or just won’t let them. I gently send love their way and hope they find peace and serenity in unquestionable heartache.
But I won’t apologize for not having children. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. When I’m older would you rather I regret not having children or regret having children? If I’m honest I don’t think I’ll have many regrets at all, regarding children at least. That time I got a perm is a different story….