Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Lesley: The Choice to Not Have Children

Lesley (Debris Field blog, Grey Matters, and Beyond the Dial in UFO Magazine) wrote a guest entry for Mating Hedgehogs inspired by my post on Henry Makow. It's not so much about Makow exactly as it is as Lesley's response to choosing to be childless.

Tomorrow I'll post my response to Lesley. Though Lesley and I have not met in person, we share a lot of similarities, including the choice to not have children.

Here's her response:

This post is in reference to Regan Lee's post about Henry Makow, but not really about him. More about a notion he has that women have one important purpose in life, to have children. To quote him about women's "elaborate reproductive apparatus" -

has a profound influence on her psyche. Each month she produces an egg and she is devoted to seeing that egg fertilized, giving birth and raising a child.

My irritation with this type of thought began when I was about 17 years old, at which time I was already telling people that I did not plan to ever have any children. Most girls my own age didn't give any thought to what I said, but the older women always had the same reply, you are young, when you grow up you will change your mind. I didn't change my mind and time only made me more sure that I didn't want children. Sadly, it is mostly women who seemed to have a great problem with me making that choice. As though since I am a woman there is some unwritten rule that requires that I have children.

Let me state that this choice never had anything to do with any career I planned to have. I never planned to have any career or any children, as strange as that may sound. I planned to be happy, whatever that took and it did not include a career or children.

By the time I was in my mid twenties and I would tell women this their first response was pity, thinking that I was physically incapable of having children. Each time I would explain to them that wasn't the case, I just did not want children. Eight times out of ten they looked at me as though I was some aberration of nature and often times would say something like - You can't be serious!

Then there is that lie about how children cement a relationship. That is total BS! My friends that married and had children ended up divorced a few years later. In fact, I have been with the same guy for longer than any of my friends that are the same age and most of them have children.

I watched a few years ago as one of my friends went totally insane because she couldn't get pregnant. At first I tried to sympathize with her, thinking this was some biological urge she had, that I did not have. However, as time went on it became clear to me that her urge was not to be a mother, she and her husband were well off and could have adopted, rather it was some egoistical urge to reproduced herself. Her husband couldn't have cared less about having a child, he already had one with his first wife, so there was no pressure on her from him. At one point she looked at me and said that I would eventually know how she felt because I had waited too long and probably couldn't get pregnant either. I explained to her that I had no intention of ever trying to get pregnant. She then proceeded to tell me that if I didn't have a child I would have no purpose in my life.

Yeah, I suppose Jane Austen who never married or had children also had no purpose in her life? I am not comparing myself to Jane Austen by any stretch, but if you can't find happiness and purpose within yourself I seriously doubt a child will provide you with it.

Perhaps I am some aberration of nature, but I am happy. I may not change the world, but I don't feel I have any less purpose in my life simply because I chose not to do something that countless women have done since the beginning of time.

1 comment:

CindyPDX said...

Looking forward to reading more on this topic.