Saturday, September 13, 2008

Children

There are certain stipulations by which our society lives. Its taken us time but we've made efforts towards creating a delicate balance of equality between men and women. Women can now hold most of the same jobs as men. We are afforded the same benefits, such as insurance and 401k plans. We are almost compensated at the same level. Almost. However there is one item that tips the scales in favor of men (or women depending on your view). Women are still afforded certain benefits if they become pregnant. And this fact changes the perspective on everything.

Now, even in an era that promotes sexual awareness/education and the ability of a woman to choose when she becomes pregnant, having children is still considered something you're supposed to do. Which becomes a difficult situation for those of us who don't want to.

"Why?"

"Why what?"

"Why don't you want kids?"

".....Because I don't."

It's a conversation that few seem to be able to accurately grasp. Instead they respond with answers like:

"Oh you're too young. You will later." - Is there some specific day on which the "I-Want-To-Have-Children-Now" hormone kicks in? Am I, and educated woman, supposed to simply let my body's hormones control my decision making process. I don't spend three days out of the month gorging myself and hurling insults at those around me - and if I did would society make exceptions for that kind of behavior? The very thing that defines us as being more than simply animals is our ability to make decisions based on logic and reason, not just savage instinct or flaring hormones.

"You aren't mature enough to want children." - I'm sorry but getting married at 18 and popping out 6 children that you have neither the means to support nor the education to raise doesn't seem like a very mature line of thought to me.

"But babies are so much fun!" - Is this the materialist, buying new baby clothes every day, taking dozens of professional portraits, showing off to my friends side that's coming out? If I chose to have a child I wouldn't do so merely to have a new accessory to hang off my hip.

The truly frustrating part of all of this is that people simply don't understand. Now please don't misunderstand. I think it's great that there are women out there who believe that life is a precious gift for them to bring into this world and consider it a blessing that they can have children. That's absolutely wonderful. I have great respect for the women who choose to do so. I watched my mother raise three children (one of whom is hearing impaired) by herself - god knows its not an easy task by any standard. However, even though I can appreciate the selflessness these women show by wanting to take care of another human being, I'm just not one of them. It's nothing to do with a career, or selfishness, or fear. I simply have no desire to bring a child into this world. I don't think I'm qualified to be a parent and given the state our environment is in I can't justify bringing a child into an environment that may not even be habitable for their life span. It just feels wrong.

What really concerns me is that there are other women out there, with the same ideals, who instead of recognizing their choice for what it is -a choice, end up believe that there is something wrong with them because they don't have that maternal instinct whispering in their ear. What I want to know is why we can't let others make their own choices and accept them as they are?

6 comments:

Codys! said...

Amen sister!

perpetualsmile.net said...

Too true.

Me! said...

Great post. My older sister has never wanted kids but is constantly pressured by her hubby's family about it. She doesn't want kids -- why should she feel bad about it? I want kids someday, but even at 27 I don't feel quite ready. Which is bewildering to my hubby's family, who have all popped out kids at 22 and say that I'm getting too old to wait any longer. Seriously? When is it someone elses decision? I dunno, I guess it'll always be a sensitive issue among women.

Erica said...

Once again, well-said. I'm undecided on the children idea as well, and I think it will be a long while before I am able to commit to a choice... guess I better find a man first! Hope you have a great week!

Elizabeth Marie said...

Codys - Thanks!

Perpetualsmile - Thank you.

Me - I know just what you mean. Its so strange how its become normal to have so many kids at such a young age. In Utah its more than common to get married at 18 and get pregrnant ASAP. You're right - it's always going to be a touchy topic.

Erica - Yea definitely no need to rush such a heavy decision!

Thanks for the comments guys!

Mary Jason and boys said...

Children are wonderful but a lot of work. You really should want them in order to have them, thats for sure!