Saturday, January 4, 2014

Women Are More Than Wombs; Not All Women Need To Have Babies

   Of course, I am a mother, and I love being a mother. I value and cherish my time with my child and am thankful that I have her, but there is something that I would like to address here. I have a lot of friends, and I am not the type of person who limits myself to friends who only have beliefs, desires, and lifestyles similar to mine. I would miss out on so much if I did that.
   There are a few of my female friends who have absolutely no desire to have children what-so-ever. They are focused on other things and like their lives, and feel no need to bring a baby into the world. But they often get told that once they have a child, they will change their minds; that women are meant to have children; that they don't know what they are missing. This attitude is even worse for the married ones, "Why did you get married if you don't want kids?" Like a person can't love and respect and want to spend their life with someone if there are no children involved? Children are not the glue that holds a marriage together, and if that is what you are using your children for I submit that you are placing a horrible burden on said child.
   The thing is, there as so many options for a woman today. Why should a woman be confined to having a child if that is not what she wants? If the human race were in danger of dying out, maybe this would be a different story, but this is not the case. I am not going to spout nonsense about not all women have maternal feelings, because to me, that implies a lack in the woman, and that, I believe is not true. There are many childless Aunties out there who seem to me to show a great deal of what could be considered 'maternal' instinct, but they choose not to have children because they have others goals and other dreams. What is wrong with that? In a world so full of opportunity and choice, why should woman all make the same choice, all have the same goal? To me, this does not imply a lack, but instead, merely a different path than my own.
   To me, women who choose not to have a child, but who choose to instead give their energy to following a career, these women give my daughter another example of what her choices are. In my mind, this does not limit their femininity, but instead offers another side of that femaleness. When we see men, we do not think that only the athletes are male, we do not see that only the soldiers are male, and certainly, we do not see that only the fathers are male. Why should only mothers be female? Of course, I feel that good mothers are to be respected, and I feel that many aspects of motherhood are NOT respected in today's society, but the women who decide not to be mothers, I see them disrespected as well. They are told they will change their minds, they will be lonely in old age, they will regret. They are held in judgment because they decide not to be mothers, as much as stay-at-home mothers are judged for not having careers. But I have addressed my feelings towards the disrespect of mothers; both stay-at-home and working. Now is the time where I address the disrespect towards women who do not want children.
   I do not think that these women will regret not having children; not if they live their lives to the fullest and do what they set out to do. I do not see them as being lonely in old age. Not all family is related by blood, and certainly, not all family comes from the womb. And I value the fact that a woman today can make a choice, and choose not to be a mother if that is her wish. If my daughter grows up and has children,  I think she will be a wonderful mother, but right now (and at the age she is, I know that this can change) she doesn't talk about growing up and having children. She doesn't play with dolls and has never tenderly nursed a baby doll, dressing and changing and feeding it with the love and care and interest that I have seen my niece display with her baby dolls. From the second grade, my daughter has wanted to some kind of scientist. The type changes yearly, but the scientist part remains. She has coveted encyclopedias of scientific fact the way other children covet Harry Potter. She has reveled in science experiments and rejoiced over the fact that finally, in 6th grade, she finally gets to have a daily science class.
   I do not want my child to grow up thinking that women have to have children in order to be women. I want her to grow up believing that having a child is yet another opportunity for women, but I do not want her limited to that one opportunity. If she spends her life furthering the knowledge of scientific fact (or some other goal), and not having children, I will not see her womanhood wasted. She will have brought something of value to the human race; every bit as much so if she decides that she will have children.
   So you see, I submit these arguments that not all women need to have children not only for the sake of my beleaguered friends, who may never want children, but also for the future of my own child, so that she will be truly free to decide what path is the right path for her. We are all  more than a womb. 

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