Recently my sister-in-law gave birth for the first time, and I was accordingly introduced to the world of judgement that mothers have placed on them in every single aspect of motherhood – from how you decide to deliver, to how you choose to feed, sleep, clothe and entertain your baby. My poor sis-in-law (let’s just call her “Lisa”) was not only sleep-deprived and new to parenting, she was also having to expend energy worrying about what she was doing, due to the myriad of conflicting and judgmental advice flying around the internet, hospital and anywhere that mothers with 2c may lurk. Luckily she has a great bunch of friends who were real and assuring with her about their experiences, but not every new mother gets to have the kind of support network that “Lisa” has.
I was feeling pretty aghast at the bullshit that new mothers get judged on when it also hit me: the judgement starts far before motherhood. As women, our very choice as to whether or not to have children is judged and held up for public opinion at every turn. And it sucks to say this, but the perpetrators are often other women.
As a single 31 year old female, I have been constantly encouraged “not to worry – for I will meet someone to have children with soon!” I’m really pissed off about this. Why? Because literally everyone who knows me should know me well enough to know that I have stated since I was ca. 12 years old that I did not have any maternal instincts. Many people would patronisingly tell me that I would change my mind when I was older – and this is still happening to this very day.
I am so incredibly fucking insulted by this, in ways that I can’t even express.
Who the hell are people to insinuate that I don’t have intelligent agency on my own decisions?
What the actual fuck is wrong with wanting to be childfree?
We don’t live in an age of marginalised population – far from it. We could do with a heck of a lot less people on this planet, and I’m more than happy to refrain from adding to the current population clusterfuck that is pillaging all of our natural resources. Not to mention that I’d much rather take my $250,000 and my free time and spend it on travel, 3D art gadgets, designer furniture, low-purity Australian-grade cocaine, bibles and literally anything other than raising a child.
I have considered telling people that I have some kind of horrible illness that prevents me from having children, just to make them think twice about the invasively judgmental words that come out of their mouths – but in doing that, I would be further perpetuating the notion that women who don’t have children are only that way because they medically can’t. And I’m not even going to waste my breath talking about the injustice of safe abortions not being free and available to every woman on this planet.
So why, in 2016, are women that choose not to have children still considered inherently faulty and suspicious? I promise you; we’re not. (I’ll tell you what actually is suspicious though; chicken nibbles. The ratio of labour-intensive “nibbling” to projected meat payload is a grim travesty indeed. Who is making money from this betrayal? Who is laughing all the way to the bank at your fervent insistence that the nibbling is worth it? We’ll discuss this issue in depth another time.)
I’m finding that the reason feminism still has a long way to go is because there is too much goddamn in-house bickering.
TLDR: Live and let live. Before you go around judging what other people are doing, try shutting the hell up and living your own life. To the womenfolk out there, you are doing a sound job – whether you have kids, don’t have kids, go travelling without your kid, are out of work, don’t breastfeed, co-sleep, go back to uni, work a lame job to get by, work a high pressure job, put your child in daycare, or watch Buzzy Bee in your PJs with (or without) a baby all day. We only get one life and very few people on this planet are incapable of deciding their own way to navigate it. You’re all great, you’re all wonderful and we all have so much exciting stuff ahead of us. Is it not the biggest waste of our beautiful minds to focus so intently on irrelevant shit!? We’re better than that. Call your girlfrans and tell them how rad they are.
Love, Chelle xoxoxoxoxo