Yesterday I was browsing Twitter when somebody posted a link to a website. Being the nosey kind of person I am I decided to take a look and, although the website is simple and brief, the content of it was enough to hit me hard.
I’m not here to name and shame, so I won’t be linking to the website (I don’t think it’s necessary), but the message it conveyed made me rage inside.
Basically, a lady has created a website showing a countdown clock – years, months, days, hours, minutes and seconds. It sounds harmless enough until you read the text that accompanies it. The lady in question has created a website showing a countdown for her biological clock.
The write-up states that as time goes on the ticking of her ‘clock’ is getting louder and she feels she is failing, wondering if she will reach a point where she is no longer able to have her own children. She created this clock to face her fears and open a dialogue with other women about fertility.
I appreciate that having found out just 15-days ago that it’s unlikely I’ll be able to have children, this probably wasn’t the best time for me to discover this website. In fact, it was probably the worst possible time. However, as I read it, I felt the anger building up inside my chest and every part of me wanted to send her an email telling her that, yes, she is female, but having a child DOESN’T define her as a woman.
I appreciate, as the female of the species it is our ‘job’ to carry a child, keep it safe for 9-months and then pop it out, but it isn’t a necessity. I mean, as a female of the species who probably can’t drop a sprog, does it make me a failure? Am I less of a woman because my womb is broken?
WHY is it considered such a major flaw if a woman doesn’t have a child?
I’ve reached an age now (26) where my friend’s are all starting to have children. I seem to be surrounded with growing bellies, morning sickness and stories about cravings. I’ve given more baby shower presents than I care to remember and my Facebook feed is a nearly constant stream of pictures of offspring and updates telling me their child has eaten/drunk/pooped/spoken/walked.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking these people. I have two cats that I love and I load photos of them on Facebook – I’d say it’s pretty normal to want to show off something/someone you’re proud of (yeh, I’m a crazy cat lady). But, what I do ask is, why is there such a pressure on women to have children?
I was brought up by my parent’s being told that everybody is different, you should never judge anybody on their life decisions and we’re all equal as human beings. As a result of this, all my life I’ve believed that women have a choice whether or not to have children. In fact, I know several women who CHOSE not to have children and have happy, fully functioning relationships and don’t feel they’re missing out.
There’s so much stigma around the choice of a woman to have a family. Women who decide not to have children are often questioned about why they don’t want them, considered strange and told “You’ll change your mind one day”. But, why would they change their mind? You don’t ever see someone showing off their baby and being told “Ooh you’ll regret that!” It’s rude, heartless and totally unnecessary, so what makes it ok when the situation is reversed?
Please don’t think I’m writing this post as a knee-jerk reaction to my diagnosis – I’ll admit, it’s been made worse because of that, but I’ve always felt the same way. Some women have a career, some don’t. Some women have children, some don’t. By not having a child, does a woman somehow become useless? Does their existence on the planet become less important because they aren’t going to be continuing the blood-line? I certainly don’t think so.
I’d be interested to hear from others what their opinions are on this.
Do you think producing a variety of little’uns is important for a woman to do, or do you believe every woman has a choice?
Do you, or have you ever, felt pressure to have a child or have you made a life choice not to have them?
And, for my male readers, if you were dating someone and they told you they couldn’t/wouldn’t have children, would it make you reconsider your relationship?