Some Title About How Badass Childless Women Are
I have never a day in my life wanted children.
I toyed around with the idea for a time in my early 20's when several of my friends were getting pregnant. My spouse at the time desperately wanted kids (which was news to me, after we had been married several years). And I just... didn't. I never have. I didn't like babysitting when I was a teenager, I didn't like having to work in the nursery at church when I was a tween, and I didn't "awwww" over people's babies as a child. And not much has changed.
I was always really okay with my lack of desire to procreate. But once I got married (stupidly young), it became the #1 question on people's minds. And over 10 years, a divorce, and a bunch of other changes later, it's still one of the biggest questions I get: "Do you have kids? Why not? When are you going to have kids? Your biological clock is ticking, young lady! One of these days you'll wake up and realize your life is meaningless without kids!" First of all, a big "fuck you" to all those people. Secondly, I felt compelled to write this article. This one goes out to all you badass childless women out there. I see you. You're amazing.
To start off, if you are unable to find meaning in your life without having to procreate, it might be time for some self-reflection and reassessment. People tell me all the time, "oh life is just meaningless without kids!" and that makes me really sad. Not because I don't have kids, but because apparently there are folks that rely on that one thing to bring meaning to their lives. That's kinda heartbreaking! I also think this is why women so often fall into the "mommy and nothing else" trap, and why it's sooooo hard for them to let go when their kids grow up. Because their children sort of become their entire identity and source of meaning (this is not all mothers, I know). But that's neither here nor there. Back on track. There's nothing wrong with having a kid. It can be a really beautiful, cool adventure. And it can, and will, restructure your world. But that does not mean that there is no meaning outside of that. It simply means that your priorities have changed. They should change, at least some. But life is still beautiful, inspiring, and worthwhile without having to walk around for almost 10 months with a parasite and then push a small homo sapien out of your vagina. Again, that is a beautiful thing, but it's really far from the only meaningful thing in life.
Some women don't want to have children. Guess what? That's fine. Between overpopulation, the advancement of climate change, how hard at least the American government and capitalistic society makes it on women to have children and still support themselves, and women just actually being allowed to want different things, not having children is a totally reasonable and acceptable choice. It can be a really, really smart choice, even. And, ok, that even gets broken down into a few categories. There are women who just do not want kids. Ever. Just 100% not interested. And that's fine. There are women (like me) who just do not want kids. But, I guess are kinda open to the idea if things change, as unlikely as that seems. And that's fine. And there are women who don't want kids... right now. Because of their living or financial situations, or because they still have single adventures they want to have, or because they want to finish school first, or any of a thousand other things. And you know what? All of those are perfectly fine. And normal. And none of them make a woman broken, or crazy, or selfish, or narcissistic, or immature. It's not something she needs to grow out of, or just meet the right man, or whatever other bollocks. The only thing it means is that a woman is listening to herself, assessing her situation rationally, and making intelligent and informed life choices for herself. 'Cause y'all... there's no backsies on children! And it's not just an 18-year commitment, it's a whole lifetime.
So point number three is a really big one, that's going to sound very aggressive. Oh well.
Who on God's green earth do you think you are to question a woman about her reproductive choices? It's really, really fucking rude. A simple "Do you have any kids? " is acceptable, then move on! There is so much more to an awesome woman to talk about other than her uterus and what she's doing with it. Also, reproduction is a very personal choice. Some women are just really tired of being asked about, and then judged for their choices. Some women might be interested in procreation, but are concerned about genetic conditions, or that their mental/physical health might preclude them from being good mothers. Some women are infertile. Some women have lost children. You have no idea what's going on in a woman's mind, body, and heart, so don't be presumptive. For people like me, it's mostly just irritating having your choices questioned all the time (though I fall into a few of those other categories, too. I'll leave you to guess which ones). For others though, it can be a really hurtful question, bringing up a long struggle, or a loss, or something else entirely. So leave women and their choices alone. And hey, this definitely goes for people who are distant acquaintances; your bartender, your neighbor, the person on Twitter. But this also goes for people closer to you. If someone wants to share, they will. Don't drag it out of them. And for the love of deity, don't berate them for their choices. Stop telling us how we'll regret not having kids. How we're being selfish. How we just haven't met the right guy yet. How we better hurry or our eggs will die. How life is just MEANINGLESS without kids.
Spoiler, my life is full of ups and downs, good times and hard times, but it is absolutely saturated with meaning. And if I had a child, I wouldn't be able to do half the things I do, even if I was well and able-bodied. Children can be great, I'm told, but they are definitely limiting. Whether it's traveling abroad, or just trying to go out to dinner and a movie, having a career or just maintaining hobbies, adding children into the mix brings a lot of logistics and extra expense. For some people that's workable, but for many, it is not. And sure, you can do other things, compromise, but what if you don't want to? What if you don't want to go camping in Pennsylvania... because you wanted to go backpacking across Europe? Or sure, you can go to Disney World, but what if you really always dreamed of scuba diving off the coast of Australia? You can technically still do this with kids... but boy is it a lot more complicated! Also, women who have children are statistically less likely to advance in their career fields, make less money over their lifetimes, and are less likely to be taken seriously as professionals. They are judged by society for whatever choice they make. For educated, driven women who are on a certain path, this is a huge problem! You can totally have a career and a kid, but as a woman, it's almost impossible for it to be the same as before/without a child. Not everyone is career-driven, but for those of us who are... well... that means giving up our dream - a dream we've worked really, really hard for. Or sacrificing part of our dream. Same goes for those with travel aspirations, academic goals, etc. And if you're really worried about a woman missing out on meaning in life... why the hell would you try to get her to give up on her dreams?
I don't know if you've noticed, but women are amazing! They're smart, and strong, and beautiful, and compassionate. And it's so unreasonable to blanket-statement subject a group so powerful and incredible to a life where they are societally held back from academic and career success. Of course, there are total badasses who are mothers and get degrees, have careers, travel the world. Totally! But they have to fight so much harder than they should. And while they are amazing, statistically they're oddities.
I have had a few men tell me how much they can't wait to find a wife and have kids. They want to partner with a smart, educated, driven, world-changer of a woman, someone who is confident and sexy and challenges them intellectually, but also want her to risk that all to provide them with offspring. I don't think they see it that way, but that's the reality.
And here's the deal on that. Having a life goal of having kids is fine, whether you're a man, woman, or nonbinary. But when you look at a woman and think "I want her to be the mother of my children," eh... I mean, I get it, but we have more value than that. We are more than just future-mothers. We are worthy of being loved, adored, and in relationships outside of our providing offspring. We have immense value as people, as romantic partners, as friends, as bosses, as creators, sculptors of reality. The fact we (some of us) can also have children and the ability/desire to raise them is bonus points.
So here's the deal, badass ladies. Are you childless and pursuing your dreams, aspirations, goals, and just living life to its fullest? You're amazing, and making smart choices for yourself! It takes a lot to stand up to the judgment and pressure of society for your choices, but you're doing it with grace and power and I love it! I love you. You inspire me! I'm so glad we're on this awesome journey together. Be strong, kick ass, take names, take no shit, change the motherfucking world! Because you can. And if the day comes that you ever decide to have kids, you'll still be awesome, and incredible, and on an exciting new journey, and you'll still inspire me.
And men, do you like, or love a woman? Does she inspire you, encourage you, make your life better? Love her for who she is. Tell her how amazing she is! Absolutely adore the shit out of her because she's incredible. And if kids are down the road, that's cool. It's important to be honest about your desires. But don't let that cloud your affection for a woman. Because she is worthy of your time and affection just for being her, not just for what she can give you.