With a lot of couples opting to go child-free these days, there is this one particular question that they, especially women, have to face. People often interpret not having children as not liking them. So when a woman says she doesn’t want to have kids, the first questions she gets asked is, “Don’t you like them?” Kids are not some commodity, which one ‘has’ if one likes them. There are a lot of reasons why a woman wouldn’t want to have a child, and while not liking kids is indeed one of them, it isn’t the only one. And since we are on the subject, there is nothing wrong with not liking kids. As long as such a person isn’t putting a child in harm’s way, we should just leave her or him alone.
- Not having children doesn’t mean that a person hates kids.
- The pressure to embrace motherhood is immense on women. It is assumed that every woman wants to have kids.
- Thus if they put up any resistance, society demands a valid explanation or deems that such women hate children.
- Why do we expect everyone to have identical priorities in life?
There are a lot of reasons why a woman wouldn’t want to have a child, and while not liking kids is indeed one of them, it isn’t the only one.
Author Amy Blackstone, who has written Childfree By Choice, in an article for the Time magazine recently, essayed how for many people not having children is interchangeable with not liking children. “No one should have to justify their choice to not be a parent by professing their love and adoration of children. Some people want to be parents, some are driven by something else – their marriage, their career, travel, animal rescue, environmental activism,” she wrote.
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One can only imagine how it must be only worse for child-free married women in a procreation obsessed society as ours. The pressure to embrace motherhood in India is next level. The minute a woman gets married, she starts getting bombarded by questions about when is she giving the “good news”. A major part of our society still sees childbearing and rearing as a woman’s primary duty, the one she must perform lovingly and willingly. So if a woman says otherwise, there must be either something wrong with her, or she must just hate kids.
Women aren’t under any obligation to procreate. Which is why people should just stop trying to pin a reason, if they decide to go child free.
But for a lot of couples, rearing children is simply not part of the plan. And women who want to go childfree just have different priorities. They may want a different kind of life, or prioritise their career or dedicate their lives to social causes to such an extent that having what we call a normal family life may just seem impossible. But even if they don’t want to do any of the above or discover life outside of Earth, every woman, or better still, every couple has the right to forgo having children. They aren’t bound by any obligations to procreate and that is why people need to just stop trying to gauge an explanation from them.
Having a child is a big responsibility. Life is never the same once you become a parent. While all parents are usually hardwired to love their offspring the connection only comes alive once you have a child. Perhaps we walk backwards on the path of reasoning from this point, and which is why we equate not having children to hating them. However, it is indeed possible to like children and still not have them, because parenting has much more to it than that.
Picture Credit: Picture Credit- Reader’s Digest
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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are author’s own.