Don’t frown at me when you read this article. I am talking about motherhood; the choice of motherhood. I am not sure how many of you may agree with me when I say motherhood is a choice. Not just celebrities, every woman without a child is scorned for not having one or delaying the process. I don’t understand why people don’t think it is all about choices. Most often, women are expected to answer the concerns and queries of others regarding parenthood. The concerns range from their doubts about our ability to conceive to irregularities in our menstrual cycle, to gaps in our marital relationship, to financial insecurity in raising children. The fun part is that no one questions a husband in this case.
In the online world, we celebrate Mother’s Day with the utmost glorification. On this day, we see that social media is flooded with shared posters, videos, reels, and open letters to mothers. A huge number of women are honoured and thanked for being mothers, sacrificing their lives for their kids, and caring for their children until the end of their lifetime. Every prospective mother should be given a chance to get wished on this special day. Alright, what if a woman does want this Mother’s Day wish? What if a woman doesn’t wish to enjoy the daily joy of motherhood or supermom status?
Motherhood is a choice
An increasing number of women, including me, who are biologically fit, do not want to become parents. Don’t ask the reasons. All you need to do is to accept their decision and choice of motherhood. Whether they don’t feel that motherly feeling or think having a kid is too much responsibility to bear; it is quite okay; let them lead their happy, choosy life. Sometimes, they merely don’t want to add to the rapidly increasing population when so many kids around them are starving to death due to the lack of proper care or nutrition. Though it is not their or my responsibility to convince you, what you need to know is, it is their choice, my choice, and maybe your choice too.
It is natural to have motherhood sentiments like the feeling of nurturing, loving a child, and caring for them. But it is also natural to live a life without having kids. If someone doesn’t wish to conceive a child spend sleepless nights pampering their baby to nap and experience postpartum depression, it is their choice. Having a lot of admiration and respect for the effort parents put into raising their children, I would say that there are women who have never felt any maternal feelings or motherhood emotions. Never assume that these ladies without maternal emotions don’t love kids. They may like kids, would love to play with them, and care for them; but, they may not have felt the instinct or desire to become a parent. Of course, they will be someone’s lovable aunts or elder cousins, enjoying good times with children.
Not just motherhood defines womanhood
The concept of motherhood has always been held so highly for ages, and it is so intertwined with womanhood. Every woman is seen as a future mother. Being a mother is considered an obligation rather than a choice. It is perceived that every woman will have a maternal instinct. From childhood, every girl grows up listening to those around her saying how she is going to be a mother and what she will do as a mother. Every time she is told that she will understand a mother’s pain and concern only when she becomes a mother. And this whole society loses its temper when a woman says she doesn’t want children. People think that only motherhood defines womanhood. Motherhood may be a wonderful experience that many people look forward to in life. However, a woman who doesn’t want to be a part of this parenthood journey is stereotyped and regarded as undesirable. Whether she is incapable of conceiving or she doesn’t want to be a mother, none of these things make them less of a woman, and just being a mother doesn’t change someone’s worth, beauty, or qualities.
Whenever my parents ask me about not having kids, even after seven years of marriage, I clearly mention what I want in life and what I don’t. And I am cent percent confident that my choice of not having children doesn’t make me feel any less of a woman. To me, motherhood is a choice I made in my life.
Child-free Women and Society
A married woman without children in her twenties or thirties is expected to have babies anytime soon. If she has crossed her thirties, she is committing a crime against the family and society. Because society thinks a “normal” woman should have children and raise them, sacrificing all their happiness and priorities. If she speaks up, they would ask if she is trying to be supernatural. In some communities, people consider women without children as bad omens. I don’t know how all these customs started and when these people will “grow up.” Changes should happen in society. They should start accepting this as a normal thing, like other human processes. Women should have the guts to think and decide whether motherhood is really their cup of tea. No one is supposed to suppress a woman’s happiness by trivialising her choice or underrating her desires and passion. Several women are happy with their motherhood and want to dedicate their entire life to nurturing kids, but don’t try to put this stereotype on every woman’s head.
Why motherhood might not be the right choice for everyone?
As a woman who doesn’t want to have children, I had discussions with many of my friends regarding this. I know a good number of my friends who are mothers today, never thought if they really wanted to be mothers. This patriarchal society has never let them choose their choice of motherhood. Isn’t it ironic that in a world where we are redefining societal customs and norms, a majority of us still stand by obsolete constructs of marriage and parenting, especially motherhood? The fair point is that a lot of couples nowadays decide not to have kids and stay child-free. Holding mutual respect for each other’s decisions, they now stand up for themselves and voice against society’s concerns.
Reasons why I say motherhood is a choice, not an obligation
- Motherhood is not everyone’s cup of tea. Some cannot even think of having kids for physical, emotional, or biological reasons. Let them live as per their own choice.
- Raising a child requires good financial stability. Giving birth to a child doesn’t mean you have fulfilled the responsibility. If you think you are not affluent enough to spend your income on the daycare, education, and other expenses of a kid but would rather use your earnings on something else, it is okay to stay away from parenthood.
- If you are biologically unfit or your body is not willing to bear a kid because of any medical reason, and your mind says having kids is not the right choice for you, it is okay to stay away from motherhood. However, if your mind yearns for a child but your body fails you, there are several alternatives to becoming a parent.
- Women are becoming more career-focused rather than family-oriented. I don’t think just a woman’s career is affected by having a child. But if you think your priority is your career and not motherhood, don’t look back.
- It is also okay if a woman just takes a decision to not have children; it is her choice. They do not have to explain it to anyone or convince others not to choose motherhood.
I am not against motherhood and I don’t downgrade the value of a woman who is dedicating her life to her children. But it is not at all reasonable to force these stereotypes and unfair norms on a woman. Let her decide their choice in motherhood. It is her life, her body, and her decision. If she wants to conceive a child, let her. But if she doesn’t want it, it’s her decision. Who are we to judge people for their choices?