That’s it. That’s the blog post.
I’m joking of course! But truth be told, that’s all that needs to be said. Women don’t need to answer, nor do they need to justify that age-old question (that only women seem to get asked) of when they’ll be having children.
We still live in a society where it’s favorable for men to go to work and women stay at home to look after the children. It’s outdated and honestly quite boring. It’s a common misconception that all women want to become mothers. After all it’s what our bodies were made to do.
Our bodies function from an early age to produce children. But just because our bodies are built to grow other humans doesn’t mean that all of us want to.
Stop asking women when they’re going to have children
Some of us do, some women don’t want children and others are undecided. Each is valid and each is justified in its own right.
There are so many reasons to stop asking women when they’re going to have children. The main one of course is that a woman’s uterus is nobody else’s business but their own.
Some women feel guilty about the pressure to want children when they really don’t want to. Others want it more than anything in the world and are unable to. And again for those at the back, it’s nobody else’s business.
Women who don’t want children
There are various reasons why a woman may not want to have children. As a mother, the idea that someone might not want to have children because they value 8 hours of sleep a night or they like going out on a weekend doesn’t seem that wild! There are a lot of things I miss about my old life since having babies. Having children is a huge lifestyle change and a massive responsibility… for life!
If women don’t see themselves in a parenting lifestyle, then that’s totally okay. And the response of ‘I don’t want children’ should be left at that.
Thankfully it feels as though we’re entering a time where it’s becoming acceptable for women to not want children. There are a number of women out there now voicing their opinions on why they’re undecided on or don’t want to become baby makers. Lucy Mary, Victoria Magrath and Miss Jordan all speak openly about childfree futures which I think is highly applaudable.
Hats off to these women normalizing what society deems as shocking. Because it’s not shocking – it’s completely normal and valid.
Women who can’t have or have lost children
For others who want it more than anything in the world, but can’t or have lost, it can feel like you’ve failed. For some the worst thing in the world is their monthly bleed and monthly reminder that they’re not yet mothers. I’ve cried numerous tears over negative pregnancy tests and although I’m a positive case now I can appreciate just how belittling seeing a single blue line can make you feel.
Fertility struggles are way more common than you’d first think. 1 in 8 of us struggle and 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. Although they’re never malicious, throwing questions around like ‘when will you be having children’ can be incredibly damaging.
Without talking about it we never really know who these women are. I feel conflicted in my opinion that yes we should talk about fertility struggles to normalise them and make others feel less alone. But on the other hand it’s a really quite private matter and truth be told I’ve never really spoken about our initial struggles.
My judgment as a mother
I didn’t have my first child until I was 28. I say it like this as when we first told people at the end of the first trimester of our pregnancy we were met with comments like ‘we didn’t think you wanted children as you’ve not had any yet’. Honestly we’d probably have become parents three years earlier if we could have, but life didn’t quite work out that way.
This narrative however of being an ‘older mum’ at 28 absolutely dumbfounded me. I didn’t know how to respond as to me it’s a totally normal age to have a baby. Reality is whether you have children, or don’t have children there’s judgment. And for me it was the when rather than the why.
Three years later, I had my second daughter at 31 and was still met with judgment of ‘we wondered when you were going to give her a sibling’. Now it’s the ‘will you be having anymore’ which is usually said with jest or commiseration. As if two children is fine, but any more is too much hard work. The judgment as a mother is WILD! Judgment as a woman is WILD!
As women we just can’t win. Have a child, they’ll have something to say. Don’t have a child, they’ll still have something to say. What’s the best thing to do? Let’s not say anything at all and stop asking women when they’re going to have children.
Ask women about their career aspirations or where their dream holiday destination is? As a mother I’d love to be asked these questions rather than ‘is she a good baby?’ Or ‘does she sleep well?’ Yawn.
About the author:
Claire Mac is a parenting & lifestyle blogger based in the North East of England.
Her lifestyle blog covers a wide range of topics from parenting to self love, fashion and skincare. It’s a space where (parent or not) readers can come back time and time again for relatability, reassurance and encouragement.