I Am A Woman, Not An Incubator
As far back as I can think, whether it is through history books or in physiology books, a woman is always associated with being a mother or motherhood. Even the popular Hollywood movies show a woman being pregnant with a baby and a toddler trying to move around while she waits for her husband to come and curl up with her, and kiss the belly. Kissing the pregnant belly is a very important ritual. From maternity shoots, to baby showers or posing on the front page of the most popular wedding with the fully stretched out belly, the glamor that surrounds a woman while pregnant is frankly, pathetic. While I’m not saying that a willing pregnancy should be celebrated, I’m saying is that pregnancy, childbearing and women should not be considered synonymous with each other. When for thousands of years we focus that every woman is an incubator, we reinforce the concept that a woman’s place is first and foremost to be a child bearer, and a mother, before she can be a scientist, a doctor, an attorney or some other profession that requires more than four years of regular college.
Even more strange that celebrating nine months of throwing up, vomiting, bloating which ends up while your body is being ripped apart is that the world is still not ready for a woman who does not want children. I knew I didn’t want to push out anything from down there at the age of six. I knew I was going to be without children and when I’d say I didn’t want kids, my mum would say “Don’t say that, you’ll regret it later on.” I’m entering the 27 year of my life, determined more than ever that I will not reproduce. These words seem to bother other people more than they bother my husband or my close knit friends. It seems to bother strangers the most! At any gathering, women of my age tend to gather together to socialize. It seems natural as we age we tend to band closer together to the gender we most associate with and the topics always range from pregnancy to raising kids. When I’m asking how many kids and I reply no human ones, the question is always followed by a range of questions from if I am incapable of having kids to why don’t I have kids. These questions do not bother me, in fact I take it as a chance to educate people that fully developed women chose not to reproduce. But it doesn’t stop there, suddenly the complaining that their baby doesn’t sleep at night, how sex is so terrible after childbirth, or how the breasts hurt during pregnancy the whole focus turns to me, trying to make me feel guilty about not wanting to have children. During the early stages of my marriage, I would make excuses like we haven’t settled yet, or we’re still newlyweds. However, that stage is far from over and now I have realized I do not need to make any excuses. Children are not the path to a happy marriage, in fact far from it. Children will take the time that you spent with your spouse, they will not suddenly change your marriage into a blissful haven of love. These are the hard truths that people with children want to ignore.
One time a very persistent old lady tried to convince me that woman have to bear children to make their husbands happy. I told her that my husband does not want any children, nor does he want to deal with a pregnant or a breastfeeding mother, to which her response was that he’ll change his mind. What baffles my mind is that the woman was so blinded by the idea that women should reproduce that she was willing to completely ignore that it takes two to tango , or raise a child. This mentality does not belong to the 21st Century.
The whole idea that every woman wants to be a mother should have been tossed out the window when woman were given the right to vote. Schools need to stop teaching kids that the perfect families are comprised of a man, a woman and kids. They do not.
In today’s world perfect families take many forms, true there are heterosexual couples who are happy with kids, but then they are heterosexual couples without kids who are happy. They are homosexual or transgender couple who can be happy with or without children. For some of us, kids take the shape of a four legged fur child, a child with feathers and wings, or some like to have human kids.
In the 21st century, women are still struggling to get equal rights. One of those rights should begin with the control of their own bodies. To be a woman does not mean that you need to endorse it by reproducing and women need to stop telling women how important childbearing is. It is not. Get over it.
Written by Pere Fox Flemmer
The writer lives in North Dakota with her one fur son, and nine feathered children. She is passionate about animal rights, women rights and women in science. She hopes to pursue a career in medicine & law someday but these days is content being a scientist & a mother.