Motherhood... Or Not?
Since the beginning of time, it has been the belief that womanhood is equivalent to, or not complete without motherhood. Women have been marked as the designated domestic providers. We are traditionally in charge of cooking, cleaning, and the birthing and raising of children. In 2017, women are rejecting this standard more than ever. The number of women choosing not to have kids has almost doubled since 1970. Despite all of the logical reasons behind this decision, it still comes with a lot of judgment.
Let’s start with the obvious; women are much more career driven today than they were 40 years ago. Many women do not want to sacrifice their career in order to have children. Becoming pregnant can very easily diminish a woman's hard-earned respect in the workplace, especially one that is male-dominated. Not to mention paid time-off is not always offered to new mothers. It can be incredibly challenging to manage a full-time job while expanding your family. When women with demanding careers do make the decision to have children, they are faced with two options; either clock in less, or overwork yourself ragged.
Having children is a life-changing event, and not always in a good way. Women who avoid having children may do so because of the sacrifices that come along with it; you see your friends less, there is less time for hobbies. Free-time in general is practically nonexistent. Some women describe choosing not to have kids in order to maintain intimacy with their partner. Kids can be a huge stressor on relationships, diminishing space for romance or sex. Kids can limit your time to travel, try new things, and have varied experiences. Overall, you come second. Self-care can be challenging, because all of your care now goes to your child.
This is not to say that raising children does not have its perks! There are, of course, pros and cons to every decision. Many women feel that it is a part of their destiny, or describe it as something they have always looked forward to. Whether you want kids or not, the choice does not make you less of a woman.
However, it is unfortunate that women who are child-free face all of the accusations that they do. It is considered cold, and selfish. Women are told they will regret their decision, or change their mind. There is this dated idea that a life of fulfillment for women is only obtained through motherhood and that a family is only complete with kids. Child-free women disagree and argue that there is freedom in the decision they make. Making the conscious and well-thought decision to opt-out of motherhood is entirely practical. The reality is, our planet is overpopulated and dying. Perhaps it is not as selfish as people say to avoid bringing a new child into this environment.