My open letter to a distressing portion of YourTango's profile page.
Filed under How Do You Feel About Kids:
Don't Have Kids
Don't Want Kids
The End. I inferred the following:
1) If I wanted kids, I would have them by now.
2) No one can actually want kids.
3) You may have kids, but that doesn't mean you wanted them.
As I get older, I've discovered a decidedly negative view of childbirth and children, mostly from women in their late 20s and early 30s. This is radically different from my college years. In college, I had friends who wanted kids with a panicked desperation that can only be equal to searching for a storm cellar in an open field. There was pressure of course, a backlash, but mostly it was external. We were part of an elite student body and expected to perform as such. Women like us weren't supposed to be wasting time thinking of daycare or balloon animals. We were supposed to be changing the world, or at least making a ton of money. But even with this societal pressure and a certain lack in the potential father department, they carried on.
Even at the time I knew they would make great mothers. They were smart, generous, socially conscious and they had that self sacrificing nature necessary for child rearing. I felt at peace knowing they would be putting good into universe for at least two more generations. Now, years later, I can say for certain that I want children. I have to be honest, it may not happen if I don't find a man that I want to raise them with, but my half is set at least. After college, we all moved away and onto other things. We still keep in touch but naturally we've found new circles of friends and I've noticed a startling pattern in mine. I've moved several times and it seems each new circle of friends is more dismissive of motherhood than the last. At a recent pool party, we shared the deck with a couple and their small child. The boy was running around the edge of the pool—this was distressing in and of itself. Who lets a toddler run unsupervised around a pool? But all my friends sneered and called for an exodus of the breeders. These friends were all female, late 20s or early 30s. Not only did they not want children, they mocked and spurned anyone who would.
The reaction of my otherwise intelligent and successful friends was profoundly disturbing on two levels. One, I was disappointed these women would not be passing on their outstanding qualities and making the world's chances a little better. An unfortunate reality is that education leads to fewer children and not just the unplanned variety. Of course successful people can come from any kind of background but the chances are much slimmer. Even if they didn't want to have their own, so many kids sit in foster homes or orphanages waiting and deserving to have a good home. Biased or not, I'm fairly certain my friends have what it takes to make good parents, to raise a child to be a positive influence on the world. But that's most likely down the drain already. Procreation will be left up to women who may be less well quipped to parent, or be in a situation that is neither healthy for them or their baby.
My second reaction has more to do with feminism and austerity in general. Recently I read an article about a women who gained clarity and happiness by being about to admit that she's just better than 80% of women. Her reasoning was the typical approach; she had better things to do than be a wife or mother. She just had too much talent and potential to relate to normal women who doddle away their lives. The rage and hate I have is inexpressible. Women who speak like that clearly have never had to work, cook and chase toddlers around, sometimes simultaneously. How is a male dominant society ever going to take us seriously if all we do is cut each other down? I've seen this repeatedly on dating advice lists; don't bitch about other women. Yes, most likely he just can't be bothered to listen and be engaged in something he doesn't care about but it also makes us petty and antagonistic. Who wants to be around that?
If we are women, how can we despise other women who have merely decided to do what we were all physically built to do? We're not baby making machines but to scoff at childbirth is to take away one of the most amazing capabilities we have. Giving life is no trifle. Nor is raising another human to function in the world. It takes an amount of willpower and dedication that I can't even begin to fathom. With so many people attacking women and women’s rights, shouldn't we be supporting each other? We can't dismantle rape culture and legislation to control sex and reproduction when we can't even get along with each other. I am pro-choice not because I am for killing but because I understand the sacred nature of that choice and the courage it takes to dedicate your life to another person. If we expect policymakers and government officials to respect the choices we each make with our bodies shouldn't we lead by example? As a side note, while I'm writing this article using Open Office and it is adamant that women's is not a word. What does that tell you. And to YourTango, to be fair, you also use the same options for pets too. And I would also like an option that says no, but I would LOVE to have one.