‘I never used to want kids either, but now…’
But now – you can fuck right off with the baby shame- is typically the answer I shout out in my head as someone yet again lectures me about how I will change my mind about having babies one day. As if my vagina dictates my future, or that a maternal gene will kick in and change my core personality. Or, at the very least, my biological clock will start ticking, and all of a sudden I am going to have baby brain.
I am telling you right now – it is not okay. Please respect a woman’s decision whether that is baby brain or baby making only. Neither woman is better than the other. Neither woman is in the wrong. Both are women with the right to decide what is done to, with, and by their bodies. A woman without a baby is just as capable, empowered, and content as a woman who couldn’t imagine life without them.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about men who tell women the same thing. Or worse, expect women to have children and think less of those who do not crave that ‘baby magic’. If women want equality, we must demand it – from men and women alike. So, while I feel women should know better than to tell another woman she is ‘missing out on the joys of life’, the real ‘kick in the balls’ is when a man forces this same opinion down our throat. Let’s take Rachel’s (Friends Fans) advice:
No vagina – no opinion.
But, this also goes beyond the individual. Why does society shame women who lack the ‘maternal gene’? We don’t all want to be baby mamas, so why are we forced to defend ourselves when we say this out loud? Or, worse yet, why do we apologize to anyone who says they are uncomfortable with our perfectly reasonable and responsible life decisions? No more baby shame – seriously.
I have known since I was young that I do not want children. I am selfish with my time and energy. What pleases me is not the sound of a baby cooing, it’s the sound of my partner making love to me, a bottle of wine being opened as we have a deep conversation, the sound of a plane lifting off the tarmac as I head out on my next adventure. I will not change my mind and I will not be baby shamed for my choices.
Besides – Tell me, oh so happy parents, when was the last time you had a full night’s sleep? When was the last time you felt appreciated? When was the last time you had sex? I respect the hell out of any woman who will sacrifice for their children; it is a full-time job that doesn’t pay overtime and rarely gets any awards or recognition. But I equally respect a woman who finds joy in her solo life. The women whose passion does not include motherhood. I happen to be of the latter group, and I make no apologies.
The takeaway – stop with the baby shame. Women with baby brain need to stop projecting onto women who have no desire to have children. Good intentioned or not, just stop telling us all the reasons why ‘we will change our minds’. Men – this goes for you too, but you need to go a step further. You need to encourage women to choose for them, not because society dictates what is ‘right’.
Besides, being your baby mama is not every woman’s dream – so start asking and stop assuming.