Why do women think it’s OK to berate me for not wanting children?
I’ve never wanted children. As a child my mum would give me dolls to play with and I hated them. I always played with stuffed animals instead. I remember pushing teddy bears around in the pram she got me. I don’t like children. I didn’t even like them when I was one… And I don’t remember a whole lot from my childhood apart from all the stuffed animals, wondering why my parents wouldn’t buy me an Action Man and dressing up in my mums wedding dress then pretending that I’d ran away from my wedding to join the mafia. I don’t think I was very good at being a child and I have no interest whatsoever in raising one.
My mum always said I’d get over it. She said I’d change my mind when I met the right man… I never understood that. And although meeting my exboyfriend/boyfriend/whatever did change my mind about wanting to get married (although maybe I would have jilted him and entered a life of crime, we’ll never know) I never changed my opinion on kids. In fact, he has a kid already and if anything that just put me off more. Anyway, after seeing how terribly I still react to babies and children in my mid-twenties, when my friends are all getting broody (or up the duff), my mum’s given up hope. She’s accepted that motherhood just isn’t for me; although I suspect part of her still hopes I’ll have a miraculous turnaround.
Now, I’m not like the wicked step mother that my ex boyfriend/boyfriend/what-the-fuck-is-he sometimes like to make out. I’m hideously awkward with kids and will do what I can to avoid them, but I’m certainly not cruel or nasty (however, if you’re a stranger and your child bothers me and I’m not in a rare benevolent mood, I will tell them to go away and make horrible faces at them if they don’t leave me alone immediately). Kids just aren’t for me and that’s that. My friends can accept it, my friends with kids can accept it, my family can accept it… why does it bother people who’s life I am not a part of? Please tell me, angry strangers, why does it effect you? I may also point out that nobody gives a man any grief for having the same attitude toward kids.
Today in work my boss was complaining about not getting any sleep since baby #2 came along. I shook my head and stated that I’ll never understand why people choose to have children (not that baby #2 was a choice, I remember the look on his face the day he told us they were expecting. The look of a broken man regretting the old line ‘but I can’t feel anything when I’m wearing one!’). My colleague, who doesn’t have any children herself at the age of 50 apparently by choice, took issue with this. First she said “Well, if your mum and dad hadn’t decided to have you, you wouldn’t exist.”
What’s your point?
Then she told me that there’s lots of reasons people decide to have children:
- Because they love children
- Having children enriches their lives
- To carry on the human race
Wait, what? Couples actually decide to pop out a sprog just in case there aren’t enough humans around already? Hmm not so sure about that one. Yes, of course there’s a biological drive there to reproduce, but I really believe we’re past all of that. If we were simply giving in to our natural instincts then we’d be pregnant every time we’re horny ffs. And why haven’t I, and many other people, got that instinct? No, I believe these days we’re more programmed by society than biology. Anyway I accept that people do want children, and for the reasons above. Most people like kids. Most people want to raise a little clone of themselves. It brings people joy and enrichment along with sleepless nights and shitty nappies. I accept it, but I can’t understand it. I can’t empathise with my friend who chose to give up sunday morning lie ins, afternoon naps, money to spend on herself, holidays where all she’s responsible for is her bar tab, for 4am starts, cycles of sickness (when one gets sick, everybody gets sick), holidays more stressful than staying at home, working a full time job to pay 80% of her wages out to the child minder. I can’t understand it! But that’s what she wanted, that’s what works for her and I accept that. I don’t question her choices, she doesn’t question mine. So why the fuck did my colleague need to argue with me and tell me that I’ll change my mind? The same old “oh I knew somebody who was just like you! And now she has THREE kids!”.
Oh, really? Fuck me! That’s the first time anybody’s ever told me that. This changes everything! Obviously, there are no women in the world who do not have children through choice. How silly of me!
Fucking idiotic. Yes, of course I may change my mind. I might also change my mind about never going to work on a cruise ship, but I don’t hear you arguing with that?? Then the guy in our office says that he doesn’t like kids but he ‘supposes he’ll have them one day to carry on his seed and that’. She didn’t bat an eyelid at that. So, me? I’m stupid to acknowledge that I’m selfish, irresponsible and hate taking care of things therefore should not become a mother to please somebody else, cause I might change my mind (I’ll also require a total personality transplant to successfully raise anything to be mentally stable)! But a man can be totally apathetic towards fatherhood, choosing to reproduce only out of pride and ego, to carry on his ‘legend’ and that’s just totally fine. ‘Cause you know the way men and women have completely different brains and feelings and all that.
A grown woman recently told me that ‘you can’t know what love is until you have your own child’. I know a lady who can’t have children (and chose to tell people that her and her husband just never wanted any) and it breaks my heart to think that there are people out there spouting irresponsible shit like that to people vulnerable enough to believe it. To think that this lady, who really did want kids, has had to listen to the same rants as me and be told time and time again that ‘I knew a woman just like you’ and ‘you’ll change your mind!’, it’s shocking. And it only ever comes from other women. A man has never openly passed judgement on me for not wanting children.
So, ladies who think you’re better than me for having or wanting to have children, and my friend’s middle aged cousin in particular, who started a fight with me at a hen do for not wanting kids because one of her sister’s kids died (?!), get off your high horse and go eat a dick.
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