I believe I’ll be just fine.
Girls are taught that they’re supposed to bear and raise children. So, many grow up believing that this is their reason for being, their duty. Life is deemed incomplete without this variable. Girls become women who feel pressure to get pregnant, and struggle with feelings of inadequacy if they cannot.
The pressure is both self-inflicted and a result of outside influence. There is this sense of obligation to proving maternal worth. When a woman remains childless into her 30s, that’s really all people want to hear about. It’s just expected that you will or should be having children soon. If not, there will be questions. Man or woman, actually, people constantly ask when you’re going to have kids. Mom wants to know when you’ll give her some grandbabies. The ticks of that biological clock can grow deafening for some women.
All other achievements are overshadowed. Never mind the promotion you just got at work, the book you finally finished writing, your trip to Italy or the beautiful home you purchased. Nothing will trump everyone’s interest in the one thing they seem to care about most, you having a baby. The life-altering feat is treated as an item to cross off of a to-do list. Like, at a certain point, it’s just next up. Extenuating circumstances be damned.
Worse, the concept of a woman simply deciding that she does not want children is downright incomprehensible to most. They don’t understand. How can you not want to do the thing you were designed to do? This perspective reveals how someone really views women. The choice wouldn’t be so difficult to fathom for anyone who considers women to be much more than baby-making machines. Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we must, or even that we should.
I never bought into that ideal. Like ever. Motherhood wasn’t something to which I aspired. I have friends who fantasized about it all, eager to start families. In hindsight, I’m sure they’d agree they probably went a step further and romanticized several aspects. Like every other mental picture, it looks a lot easier and much more fun in your head. I wasn’t against the notion. Just never had that “oooooh I can’t wait to be a mom” urge. Though I think I’d be a great one.
I’d love to have a child someday, and if it happens, wonderful. If it doesn’t, I’m truly fine with that as well. I feel no pressure and am in no rush. Having children is not tied to my sense of purpose or self-worth. I’ll live a full life either way.
If I don’t have kids I’ll still be happy. I’ll travel and learn of different cultures. I’ll do things that bring me joy, and there are many. I’ll discover even more pleasures, and take advantage of the hours, days and resources that I’ll have to enjoy such things — not to mention the ability to just get up and go at a moment’s notice.
I’m sure nothing compares to the feeling of bringing a life into the world, seeing a piece of yourself in a little human, watching them grow and receiving his or her unconditional love. I have no doubt that it’s an immensely rewarding experience. It’s just not the only one that matters or is available.
If I don’t have kids I’ll love on my nieces and nephews, hard. I already do this, so the loving would simply continue without any loss of intensity. I’ll support their dreams and make sure they never lack anything that is within my power to provide. All of the motherly instincts, nurturing and adoration that I may have stored inside will be poured into them. I think that’s a pretty worthy place for it to go.
I’ll relish my abundant “me time.” If I don’t have kids, I’ll know that I am not any less enough. I’ll pour into myself — focus on my mental, physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. My wants and needs will receive unrivaled attention as I work to grow into the very best, whole and healthy version of myself.
If I don’t have kids I will still be a woman of significance who offers valuable contributions to the world. I will be a productive member of society and give much more than I take. I’ll leave people better than I found them. I’ll lead a fulfilled, inherently important life. I’ll live, love and laugh unapologetically out loud.
If I don’t have kids, I’ll lean on the strength of my belief that motherhood does not define a woman. It surely won’t define me.