To all the women who do not have or do not want to have kids, thank you. Thank you for not having kids because people think you must. Thank you for not having kids merely because you have a uterus inside of you. Your reasons are your own and it’s nobody’s business. Just as men should not use their sexual organ simply because they have one but when they think and feel it’s appropriate, women need not reproduce simply because they are equipped to do so.
The ‘Having Kids’ Advocates
As for people claiming you are selfish, those people usually come in three categories:
- Self-righteous women who have/want kids and want to feel holier than thou;
- Mothers or mothers-in-law who are aching for grandchildren so they can get back at you for the shit you or your spouse put them through – just kidding, they want to make sure they propagate their awesome genes;
- Some dude who has no friggin clue what the hell period-pain is like let alone pregnancy and beyond.
Whether it’s sharing the pain, creating a legacy or fulfilling your supposed mission on earth as a woman, it’s not up to anyone but you to decide. To the other woman, it’s someone else’s kid and she gets to stand by and tick off the I’m-better points in some fictitious parenting-skills competition. The mothers and mothers-in-law, well maybe they want the nostalgia of little people running around so long as it’s not their own. For a man, it’s sex. Again. And genes. Boring!
It’s Not Just ‘Having Kids’
I love that the world has absorbed the entire saga of motherhood into the simplicity of ‘having kids’.
For the ignorant, here’s the breakdown of what ‘having kids’ is like:
- Nine months of pregnancy, including but not limited to raging hormones, weight gain, moodiness, stuffy nostrils, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, boneheads judging your mental ability by the size of your belly, yawn and etc.
- Countless hands and tools thrust up your vagina for various checkups and tests.
- A chicken-on-steroids-sized baby squeezed or sliced out of you.
- Recovery from tearing or having 6 layers of human tissue hacked through.
- The pleasure of sore nipples, a sagging belly, sleepless nights, constant waking, breast-or-formula arguments, etc…
- Worry about whether you’re a good mother or not.
- The mental anguish of ‘getting it right’ on pretty much any parenting decision you make.
- Regular guilt trips from friends/aunts/mothers-in-law/neighbors for not having enough babies/too many babies/spending enough time with them/feeding them enough/feeding them too much/giving them sugar/not giving them sugar/spoiling them/giving them iPads/staying home/going to work/overparenting/underparenting …
- Having your career on hold not because you have to but because child-birth creates a bi-polar split between you and yourself, creating the perpetually frustrating situation of wanting to dedicate every waking hour to this magical creature you created, wanting to change the goddamn world with the amazing work you’re doing, and the reality of passing out nearly brain-dead from exhaustion and fatigue having done neither.
- Dealing with countless thoughtlessly-opinionated people who call you selfish or incompetent for wanting anything at all for you, selfish for leaving the kids with a nanny to go shopping/to work/to socialize, wanting alone time, wanting space, needing silence and not looking like a friggin air-brushed super model 3 months after raging hormones and procreation have had their way with you.
Most women who consider having kids know that the hard part is not having kids despite what I just described. The hard part is raising kids. Raising them into great humans. Some people choose to do it, some people choose to make the world a better place in other ways.
Why We Need You
Most of the kidless ladies I know are doing amazing things. They have foundations that teach youth leadership, they support disadvantaged indigeneous populations with business skills, they teach at universities, they work in companies, they are loving aunts and thoughtful daughters, they are concerned wives and courageous business owners, they are friends, they are talk-show hosts and lovers. And they are whole and complete just as they are.
Person for person, they are positively impacting so many more lives than I am and I’m grateful. As I see it, we’re a team and we have different jobs to get done.
So thank you for being the line of sanity we moms cling to, thank you for being the porthole out of our Disney-themed homes, our bedazzled-birthday bashes and depressingly common diaper-discussions to a world of intellectual dialogue, caffeinated drinks, thought provoking conversations, and witty not potty humor.
Thank you for not having kids because you have two hands that help me with mine. Thank you for having the patience and love to tolerate my kids for a couple hours because you actually get 8 hours of sleep, are working in a fulfilling career and haven’t been watching your son pick boogers from his nose for the last 30 minutes.
Thank you for knowing so clearly that you do not want kids, because it frees you up to bring awesome gifts for my kids, it frees you up to be a great friend and listener when I’m two-kids-down-and-one-who-just-won’t-cooperate exhausted. I respect you knowing who you are and what you need in order to remain you, and I admire you for doing it. And I need you!
I would never go back on my choice of having kids, I was ready when hubby and I decided on getting pregnant, and if you gave me a magic wand right now, I promise I wouldn’t change any of it. I wanted the whole deal and I’m glad I am where I am. But I also want my friends on the other side: the girls I go out for drinks with, those I go adventuring with, the girls that read fabulous books and give me the cliff notes, the girls that come over with gifts and play with my kid with a long-windedness I lost after month 3 of baby number 2.
Ladies don’t go anywhere, don’t change anything, just keep being you and doing your thing. I love you.