I can’t ever remember a time in my life when I wanted to be a mother. While I don’t feel that childfree women need to explain their reasoning to anyone, I will give you a bit of insight into my decision. I’ve had tokophobia my entire life. I can’t even see pregnant people in real life or on TV without getting as freaked out as someone does who has a fear of spiders. If I see a birth scene on on film or T.V. I have to turn it off or else i’ll have nightmares for weeks. It looks no different to me than human torture scenes, which I also can’t watch. The very idea of someone having a large human growing, eating and moving around in their body is the most disgusting thing I can imagine. Then it’s only way out is by tearing their vagina in half or having to be sliced open for surgery while awake (equally horrifying). No thank you.
Aside from all of the horrific physical aspects of having children, I generally don’t like being around them. I don’t find kids cute and want to stab out my eyeballs when they cry around me. Whenever I see a person with small children, I wonder why anyone would do that to themselves by choice. It looks miserable. It looks like the end of a fun and freedom. Given the option of a childfree life with free time, extra money, ability to travel at a whim, stay out until 4am and sleep all day when I feel like it, i’m not sure why anyone would choose the latter. I can hardly remember to feed myself most of the time. While I appreciate that some women see it as a goal to have children, I am not one of them. Getting pregnant would be a living nightmare that I do everything to avoid.
In my early 20’s I went to several Dr’s to ask about getting my tubes tied and was turned away by all of them. As a young women adamant that I never wanted a child, I was laughed off and told I would change my mind. Because of the fact that many women had had the procedure done and then sued years later, I was not allowed to make my own reproductive decision. I wonder if a man wanting to be steralized faces the same discrimination….probably not. Faced with my only other solid option, I struggled through the jungle of hormonal birth control pills. Dealing with the weight gain, mood swings and even the fact that the hormones blocked my ability to properly absorb my thyroid replacement pills. I’m now 35 and Dr’s still are not helpful with getting a tubal ligation. At one visit I was told that I should just “wait until I hit menopause”.
The descrimination of women who don’t want children isn’t just in the Dr’s office. It’s also in society, and sadly shaming often comes from other women. In conversations with women, i’ve been asked how many kids I want. When I tell them ZERO, eyebrows raise and an awkward silence happens. It’s like I just lost my membership to a club I didn’t know I was a part of. Often they respond in shock “Really? But having kids is so great-it’s different when they are your own. I’m sure you’ll change your mind”, completely disregarding my choice as if it were invalid. I had one women go as far as to tell me I should freeze my eggs because I would surely want children in a few years now that i’m married. I’ve gotten so sick of these responses that I’ve started to get more outrageous with my answers. I’ll flat out say “No, I hate children”, or “Do you want to know a women who drowns her kid in the tub?” Usually that shuts them up, but sometimes I still get waved off as if I can’t possibly be serious. At Chistmas last year (after being married only a year) my own Mother flat out asked “when are you going to have a baby?” It never ends.
One of the most despicable notions about women who don’t want children is that we are selfish. This is pretty rich coming from people who chose to have a child instead of adopting a living one who needs a home. On the flip side, I believe bringing a child into an overpopulated world in which global warming will be so bad it might not be inhabitable soon, actually IS selfish. Many people have children for the wrong reasons or because they feel pressured to be like everyone else. I would rather regret not having a child then regret having one.
So, why as a 35 year old women who doesn’t want a child am I treated like one when I firmly stand my ground? Why is my choice less valid than a man saying the same thing? And why am I doubted, questioned and second guessed? Just because I have a uterus doesn’t mean I want to grow something in it. Not all women want to be mothers. Those of us who don’t don’t owe anyone an explanation. And no, we won’t be changing our minds.