Why are some women choosing not to be mothers?
Eight responses for opting out of motherhood
Writer’s note: This post was originally published on Medium’s “We Need to Talk” on October 11, 2019.
I do not want to be a mother. However, I was pregnant once. It lasted for 20 minutes — as a mystery shopper. And before you ask, no, I don’t have reproductive issues.
I slept with a girl before — several times actually. She has four legs and will hog a bed. Before you wonder, no, I’m not a lesbian.
As a kid, I was once so scared that I went flying across a field, screaming and running full speed. Why? Because of a life-size Chucky chasing me at a haunted house on Halloween. But before you speculate, no, I don’t have any long-standing family trauma.
I open this post like that because I’ve had to answer those three questions entirely too many times about why I opted out of motherhood — from men I’ve dated, from a family friend and countless strangers. People believe any woman who doesn’t want children must fall into the three categories above. I understand the curiosity.
I’m perplexed in this manner when I meet people who don’t like dogs, but I don’t automatically assume they must be allergic to fur, must have been bitten by a family pet or must prefer cats. In my mind, it’s not their thing, and that’s fine with me. I don’t need to be a nuisance about it. It’s none of my business anyway.
If you happen to deal with the Parent Police, too, here are a few responses I’ve used to get them off of my back.
1. Don’t you worry about who will take care of you when you get older?
First, dark as it may seem, unfortunately I’ve experienced my fair share of peers who have passed away. A parent should never outlive his/her child. Second, I’ve recently observed a daughter who hadn’t been to her hometown in almost 20 years to visit her father. But when he passed away and she felt slighted that she got no inheritance money, she flew home twice in a matter of months. Money brings out people’s true personalities. Third, in all fairness, there are countless examples of (adult) children and grandchildren seamlessly volunteering to be caregivers for their elders. But your child being your caregiver is simply not a promise.