I don’t want to have kids. And when I hear my mother or uncle or grandpa doting on me, saying I’ll change my mind, I wonder why that matters. Or why they can’t put on a smile and nod. This isn’t hard to do.
My reproductive choices shouldn’t be questioned in the first place. Women already receive flack in our society for having a uterus and ovaries (as if that’s a choice), but if you decide not to put them to use, suddenly you’re the bad guy.
The issue is clear. I don’t meet the universal expectation of women to give birth. I must develop some kind of superhuman ability to nurture right after I perfectly handle the rapid changes occurring within my body, as I glow throughout pregnancy, and eventually, I will cling to my newborn lovingly as if I had always been wrong for opposing having children.
Feminism fails the women who declare themselves childfree. It’s disgusting, and I don’t need to validate why there’s a growing amount of reasons to not succumb to gender-related pressures such as raising a family. But I can offer a few for those who are reading.
In 2017, the United States Department of Agriculture released a study regarding the cost of raising a child. The price — not including the cost of college — is $233,610 on average. How much of us have that much saved up by 24, the age determined by the Centers for Disease Control as the lowest median of motherhood? Not many, considering the average savings balance of a household with one child is a measly $42,800.
If you’re not convinced yet — still willing to sacrifice debt for the joy that is birth — costs to deliver a baby typically range from $400 to $500 with insurance, and then the infant itself born with a fee attached dependent upon health, starting at $1,500.
Money doesn’t have to be the determining reason. If that were the case, plenty of women wouldn’t ever give birth due to debt or other costs of living. It’s a major factor worth seriously evaluating in a world where money directly correlates to quality of life.
I shouldn’t have to cite the pains of childbirth as a cause for turning heads away from the idea (hemorrhoids, vaginal and anal tearing, post-partum depression, etc.). If a woman desperately desires to build a family, she may have to endure it. Or not. There are 443,000+ orphans in U.S. foster care. And there’s the rising risk of overpopulation soon turning resources enjoyed at leisure into luxury goods.
The NASA website explains how mathematician Safa Motesharrei explores the idea of unsustainability mixed with rapid population growth, further increasing the already significant gap between the wealthy and impoverished — a society uncontrollable and ultimately destroyed by itself. As dramatic as this scenario sounds, we aren’t far from it today.
In the past, there were reasons to say a woman shouldn’t put her child in a position of navigating the terrifying future of the U.S.: world wars, nuclear weaponry or economic depressions. But now, we cannot remain ignorant when there’s exact science to warn us that Earth is approaching a point of no return. I’d rather not shove innocents toward a position I’d certainly resent being born into.
Shaming a woman for stating they are childfree is neglecting our duty as Americans to maintain feminist values and ensure equality for all. Women are pitted against each other on a daily basis for appearances’ sake, and it’s already tiring enough.
For those who end up disgraced, bullied or waved away by loved ones simply for choosing a life choice far from even beginning to affect others around them, well, that’s when we need to reassess our priorities in life.
A choice is a choice. I’ll respect yours while I lounge on the beach and send a postcard to your family wondering when you’ll actually have the time or funds to join my child-freedom.
And if my mother gets her wish — highly unlikely, sorry mom — I’ll still support anyone who journeys down a different path, because that’s what any normal human being is expected to do. Don’t shame any woman for maintaining the little control over her body that she has.