Women Can Have Many Reasons Not To Have Kids, And Being Childfree Is OK!

Women have enough on their plate without making them feel inadequate or guilty or upset about choosing not to be a mother or not being able to have a child.

I say this as a mother of two; who thinks of her two children as her absolute pride and joy and really the centre of her universe: it is perfectly OK not to have kids. I do not give gyan to people about how ‘fulfilling’ parenthood is, though it has been for me. I will not urge people to procreate because it is their social and moral duty to do so – because frankly that is balderdash.

So when I came upon this recent Reddit conversation about being childfree, it resonated with me.

Childless or child-free?

Reddit screengrab

Having a child is a huge responsibility; one that changes everything, all one’s priorities for ever. There’s no going back. It is not selfish not to want that; it is actually very self-aware. It is very sensible to decide not to have a child if one is uncertain or unwilling to take on the commitment of parenthood.

Nomenclature matters. Proponents of parenthood must start to see this as a choice, not a compulsion. Those who choose not to be parents are not ‘less’, as in they are not lacking something in their lives. They are simply making a choice that keeps them free of the obligation that they are unable or unwilling to take on.

Taking the pressure off women

Image source – Wikipedia

Never miss real stories from India's women.

Register Now

No sooner does she step out of college than a woman is pressured to get married. No sooner is she married than she is pressured to produce babies (male babies all too often but that is a whole other rant).

How about letting her decide whether or not she wants to have kids? How about letting her decide whether she wants to have biological kids of her own or wants to adopt as so many choose to do? As Sushmita Sen, who chose to adopt, famously said, “The world would be a better place if the woman decides what she wants for herself.”

Motherhood is not necessary for fulfilment

Image sourcesWikipedia Shabana Azmi, Saira Banu, Tabu

Women can be happy, fulfilled, complete by themselves whether or not they choose to have kids. Many highly successful women have chosen not to have children. Shabana Azmi married Javed Akhtar who already had kids from his previous marriage and chose not have children of her own.

Saira Banu, married to Dilip Kumar, tragically lost a pregnancy in the 1970s in the eighth month of pregnancy, after which the couple chose not to try for children. One of the most formidably talented of Indian actors, Tabu, chose to be single and child-free.

Not everyone needs to have babies

Image – Wikipedia

Many of us are very happy being mothers but as feminist Gloria Steinem said, many of us are as happy not being mothers. “Everybody with a womb doesn’t have to have a child any more than everybody with vocal cords has to be an opera singer,” as someone said.

Plus, let’s face it, some of us are not cut out to be parents – as a Reddit commentator said, while every child deserves a parent, but not every parent deserves a child. In fact, there are some who would say, there should be a license to become a parent – there is one needed for driving but not for creating a whole other person?

Being a pet-parent?

For a lot of people who want to love and nurture, a child is often not an option. Some choose to give that love and nurturing to a cat or a dog and form that bond with a non-human being. That is OK too.

There are any number of reasons to choose to be a parent and to choose not to be a parent – don’t let anyone else tell you what yours should be. There may be reasons someone wants to be a parent and cannot – this can be incredibly painful, particularly when people probe and judge and make unwanted suggestions.

Women have enough on their plate without being made to feel inadequate or guilty or upset about not being able to, or choosing not to be a mother. Besides India is now officially the most populous country on the planet. Surely this is a perfectly good reason to be child-free?

Image source: by FatCamera from Getty Images Signature Free for Canva Pro

Liked this post?

Join the 100000 women at Women's Web who get our weekly mailer and never miss out on our events, contests & best reads - you can also start sharing your own ideas and experiences with thousands of other women here!

Comments

About the Author

Reena Daruwalla

A former lawyer, now freelance writer, fauji wife, mother, singer, knitter and lover of my own cooking, I have altogether too many opinions and too few convictions. The more I learn the more I am read more...

38 Posts | 26,903 Views

Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!

All Categories