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Jessica’s Story: I am childless by choice unlike my mother who felt she had no choice but to become a mother

Young childless by choice womanI am an only child and my mother never hid the fact that had it been for her, I would never have been born. It’s not that she doesn’t love me, she does. The problem is that she felt that having me was the only way to save her marriage. As a strong woman, she detested the traditional role that was assigned to women and wanted nothing to do with it. Unfortunately for her, my father had other ideas and at the end, she relented.

As soon as I was old enough to make sense of things, she told me that I will always have her support no matter what I chose to do with my life. And of course she told me later as I became a teenager that a woman’s place in society is more than her ability to bear a child. She wanted me to think big and not feel like motherhood was the pinnacle of a woman’s life.

The older I got, the more aligned my beliefs became with those of my mother. I grew to strongly dislike the box women were put in and expected to stay in. I could see all around me how much struggles most parents were going through. Some of my own friends had their marriages and lives turned upside down from the moment they had children. For some, the pressure ended up being too much and they divorced. I wish young people would be taught at school about what it really means to become a parent as opposed to the current glossing over that leads to many people regretting having children later on. There is no doubt in my mind that fewer people would choose to have children if they knew all the facts about parenthood from a young age.

When I met my husband, I was straightforward on the issue. Thankfully, he too never wanted children. As you can imagine, we are both advocates of the childfree life. We take every chance we get to tell people how great life is without children. It is true that there are still many societies where women feel they have no choice but to become mothers, just like my own mother felt all those years ago. However, today, there is a lot of help out there for anyone who is still ambivalent on the issue, or those who even though they are being put under pressure, are looking for inspiration on how to face that pressure down and remain true to themselves. I love this website for being one of the platforms that celebrate being a nonparent. It is a lifeline for people who otherwise would feel completely alone and isolated while dealing with an issue as potentially destructive as this one is.

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Comments

  1. Hi Jessica, thanks for sharing your story. We need more strong women to change the world. Being one of 7 children and the only girl, men have always featured prominently in my life. And the one thing I have learnt from my own experience of growing up with so many men in my family, including a great number of uncles and cousins, is that sadly, in most societies, men are the cause of most of the suffering. In Africa where I am originally from for example, because men call the shots, women feel obliged to put up with all sorts of nonsense. It is customary for a man to have one or several mistresses, with many having children by these other women as well. Yet, because the majority of men act exactly the same, most women endure their marriages. Divorce is generally never an option for these women. Why divorce since the next man is likely to treat them exactly the same way? In spite of all that, I still believe that we must never lose faith that things can change. All it takes is for women to wake up to the reality that in many cases, they are far stronger than they give themselves credit for and that no matter how much pressure they are under to conform, they can still stand their ground and win. All they need to do is tap into that inherent courage that is to be found in all of us.

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