“You’re turning 35. Shouldn’t you start thinking of having babies?”
The answer to that is a very stern “no”. I guess my uterus is slowly becoming obsolete. Let me tell you, when I get my period every month, I throw an extra “thank you” to God.
I wanted kids growing up. But it wasn’t because I actually wanted them; it was because that’s what was expected of me — as a woman, a Muslim woman, an Arab woman.
When I was a teenager, people would ask where I saw myself in 10 years, and it was the same answer: “married, with a house and kids.”
Boy was I wrong (can I insert that crying laughing emoji here?).
I’m divorced, almost 35, and the idea of having children is a very unpleasant thought majority of the time. The only moment I wish I had a kid is when I think of that unconditional love. But those moments are fleeting, and then I snap back to the reality that I don’t want a child.
I’m almost ashamed to admit that it’s for selfish reasons (more on this shame feeling coming up). I don’t want to be pregnant. I don’t want to gain weight. Or have stretch marks. Mood swings. Emotional eating. The possibility of hours of labor and pushing. Shitting or peeing myself as I push. What if I tear? And I’ll be bleeding for weeks after having the baby? No thank you.
I also don’t want to spend the money and time on a kid. I can’t even make time for flowers or plants that are given to me; how on earth will I take care of a child?
I want to travel, eat at different restaurants, stay out morning to night, without being held back by my child. Wow. It sounds like I’m a complete ass hole even writing all this. I even feel like a bit of jerk right now putting my opinions onto paper.
But here are my questions: Why do I even feel ashamed for having these thoughts? Why does society make me feel guilty for not wanting children? Why do I NEED to reproduce? Why can’t I be a single, motherless woman who wants to live her life without the pressure of having kids or getting married?
Don’t get me wrong. I applaud mothers (and fathers, of course) who want children, who have them, and who raise them, especially in today’s very technological world. But that is not the life for me. And I want to be able to tell people that confidently without feeling judged, like I’m this terrible person.
I’ve even gotten the occasional “but think of the women who want children but can’t have them” comment. Ummm..excuse me? What does that have to do with me? Trust me, if I could give them my (possibly-working) uterus so they can have a kid, I would. But unfortunately that’s not an option, so how does that comment even relate to my situation?
I think more and more women are getting comfortable admitting that they don’t want to be mothers (dog and cat moms don’t count!). Example, these memes.
On a more serious note, there are statistics to prove this. Of the 2,000 people ages 20 to 45 surveyed in a 2018 poll from Morning Consult for The New York Times, 36 percent who did not want children or weren’t sure about having kids wanted more leisure time (I must fall into that 36 percent!).
The question remains, however, will society ever fully accept that?