A woman who chooses not to have children faces being questioned and doubted by friends, colleagues, family and strangers. When mental health difficulties play a part in this decision, the questioning and doubting can take on a more intrusive nature.
The blogger, whose post, “Child-free,” is linked below, describes her frustration with dealing with, apparently, well-meaning proponents of reproduction: “We’re not having children,” I’d say. I thought the women who were asking would understand as most of them were mothers and would get that parenting wasn’t for everybody, but very few were accepting of the fact that I didn’t want to be a mother. I’d get responses like “Oh, you’re still young enough to change your mind”, “You’ll change your mind”, “Never say never”, “Its different when it’s your own!”, and other responses that suggested that my non-existent maternal switch would magically flip on one day and I’ll be crazy for babies.
One by one, she retorts to the common urgings she hears: “Other women have tried convincing me they used to be just like me until they took an embryo to the uterine lining. I highly doubt any of them had tokophobia (on top of depression, anxiety, and Asperger’s) that brings on horrific nightmares about being pregnant, sensory issues with children screaming or crying, a stockpile of Plan B just in case a regular birth control pill is missed due to human error, and a plan to abort if the oral contraceptives and condoms fail.”
Some women do choose to raise families whilst experiencing mental health difficulties, such as social anxiety symptoms. The choice is a personal one which involves a look at a range of factors from severity of symptoms to financial situation, to the most crucial, preference: “The world acts like pregnancy is the best thing a woman can experience and that it is the ultimate bringer of joy. It’s 2020: Isn’t it about damn time we stop pretending that children are these magical creatures that bring eternal happiness to everyone and just accept that not all women are going to find having them rewarding?”
Society’s expectation that all women have children and become mothers is deep-rooted and, inevitably, must relate to an innate desire to reproduce that many have. One wonders, however, if, in part, it is, also – especially, in the case of nosey strangers – a desire to see women occupied by childcare and not challenging society’s mores and power structures – which they supposedly will find more easy if child-less.
To read the full blog-post and other intriguing tales from the blogger’s life working in a food store in the US, click below.
An old man rode up to our deli counter in one of the store’s electric scooter carts. I felt my liberal bleeding heart cringe at the sight of the “Trump 2020 Keep America Great” cap perched atop his head, but that didn’t stop me from giving the polite customer service I would give to anyone […]
Image designed by Anna Vanes.