Monday, August 19, 2013

THE NEVER-ENDING BATTLE OVER MY UTERUS



Let’s get straight to the point - I don’t like babies!

It’s nothing personal, I just don’t find them neither cute, nor interesting. And because I’m not a very good actress, it usually shows on my face when someone hands me her little miracle and expects me to start gushing over it. It leads to numerous misunderstandings; most folks tend to be rather sensitive when it comes to their offspring (apparently „a little shit-machine“ is not a preferred term in English language). One of my close friends here in the States, now a mother of two, once felt obligated to confront me. „We all know that you don’t want to have kids,“ she wrote in her e-mail. „But why do you have to be so rude about it?“

Well, if you are interested, here is why:

Once upon a time, when I realized for the first time that the mere sight of a baby sucking on a nipple was making me nauseated, my intuition whispered to me that I would probably do all of us a favor if I remained childless. I had simply no desire to have my very own bundle of joy that would ruin my body, career, and sanity for next eighteen years or so. I just learned to love myself and my life just the way it was; like hell I was going to give it up for something I didn’t want just to fulfill societal expectations!

Of course, I was young and naïve back then, which is why I believed that I had the right to make decisions about my own uterus.

I was wrong.

In the beginning it wasn’t that bad, simply because no one took me seriously. People would smile condescendingly and say things like „oh, you are saying that now, but just wait when you get older, you will change your mind!“

Then I got older. Needless to say, I didn’t change my mind at all. What did change, however, was the attitude of poeple around me; apparently my decision not to have children was deeply offensive to them.

When it comes to letting me know how terribly misguided my decision is, there are definitely significant differences between the States and Czech Republic. Americans tend to be more polite when they are trying to show me the error of my ways. They often look soulfully into my eyes and say things like „but you would make such a wonderful mom!“ with a deep sadness in their voice. Czechs, on the other hand, don’t worry about hurting my feelings whatsoever and their comments often border on verbal abuse. You think that I’m exaggerating? Well, how would you classify being called stupid to your face by a woman you just met at a party!?

 I wish  I could say that I’m such a  strong and generous person that I don’t let these negative comments affect me, but the truth is that I’m not – especially not after so many years. I’m only human. Being chased for twenty minutes at a baby shower by a woman, who is forcibly trying to throw her three-months-old on me because „if you just held him and saw how sweet he is, surely you would change your mind“, pisses me off. And being told by my own brother in front of everybody at my father’s birthday party that „from an ecological point of view you are basically just a waste“ hurts my feelings. Add it all together and voila – a bitch is born!

I’m bitchy because I’m tired of people, including those who are objectively way more screwed up up than I could ever be, calling me me dysfunctional, abnormal, and selfish. I’m tired of reading crap like this on Internet, in which the author claims that employers are rightfully becoming reluctant to hire or promote women who don’t want to have children, because scientific (!) research shows that these women lack something called „essential humanity.“ I’m tired of being judged everywhere I go.

And so my new policy is not to reason with people anymore. Past experience taught me that when someone starts investigating why is it that I refuse to fulfill my sacred duty as a woman, the best answer is plain and simple „mind your own fucking business.“ It works like charm every time and it’s way better for my mental health than trying to explain myself.

Look, if you are my friend, chances are that I still love you, even if you chose to have a baby!  
I do respect your decision – all I’m asking of you is to respect mine. If you don’t want me to say that your pregnant belly is gross, well, do both of us a favor and don’t show it to me every time when I see you! Don’t talk to me in a condescending manner and don’t use the phrase „if you were a mother, you would understand“; especially when the conversation doesn’t have anything to do with children whatsoever. (I understand that becoming a mom is a powerful and sacred experience, but it still doesn’t make you morally, intelectually, and/or emotionally superior to childless women). Don‘t ask me to hold your baby or play with your toddler, except when it‘s an emergency and you need help, because I do not enjoy doing so. When you have a minute, check out this article to give you some pointers about how to talk to your childless friends without insulting them or hurting their feelings. And please, please, please, try to at least occasionally talk about something else than the quantity of your little one’s poop! If you can make an honest attempt to still be a friend who can accept me the way I am, I can do much better job accepting your baby – snarky comments kept to a minimum!

All I’m trying to do is to live my life so it’s as happy and fulfilled as I can possibly achieve. And I don’t even need anyone’s approval; all I want is to be left alone! Is that too much to ask?!


2 comments:

Ashley Eberle said...

Margaret, I agree 100 percent with your post! Extremely well-stated!

But I have to admit that I wish I were as blunt as you about my decision to remain child-free. I sometimes feel bad or guilty when the topic comes up, particularly when it means potential relationships won't work or when "friends" make me feel like my life is less important because I don't wish to procreate.

I think there are plenty of amazing ways to positively impact the world besides adding more people. Thanks for your wonderful perspective.

Kavita (luvikavi) said...

I echo Ashley's comments. I'm not too outspoken on my intent to have children, because honestly I am not sure how I feel. I'm more on the side of no, then yes. That still doesn't prevent other people from telling me that the pool of guys I can be with will lessen b/c of my unwillingness to procreate. My response to people who believe its a woman's duty to have children or something is wrong with them who choose not to,is simply this: there are a lot of parents out there, who SHOULD NOT be parents. I'm doing the world a favor by choosing not to bring a life in the world which I didn't want in the first place. It sounds selfish, but I think its more selfish to have a child because of obligation. I totally respect people who choose to be mothers, but its not what makes me excited. Thank you for writing this article and not holding back.