Earlier last year, I sat with a woman at dinner who inquired whether or not having children was something she was missing out on. She indicated that she had no viable prospects of a relationship that would produce children and she wondered if she truly were missing out on motherhood. I pondered her question seriously and replied that “Children are a personal choice and not a requirement.” I began to tell her my story and how I didn’t want children until that wasn’t an option for me. I told her that since I had my son, I can’t imagine my life without him because I’m a better human being with him. But, motherhood is a personal choice and doesn’t define you.
Lately though, her comment has been replaying in my mind even with my girlfriends who have never been married or have children. Some want to wait until marriage to have children and others are willing to take matters in their own hands and wombs because the choices are slim pickings. But, I sit here thinking are we rushing to make choices as women because we truly want children or we think that children somehow define us as women? The notion of…I gave birth therefore I am a mom? Well, last week, I read how Jennifer Anniston sat down with Carson Daly to discuss her life for a Today show episode. This quote that she said immediately caught my attention:
“I don’t have this sort of checklist of things that have to be done, and…if they’re not checked, then I’ve failed some part of my feminism or my being a woman or my worth and my value as a woman because I haven’t birthed a child”. “I’ve birthed a lot of things, and I feel like I’ve mothered many things”. “And I don’t feel like it’s fair to put that pressure on people.”
Why does society think that having children defines whether a woman is truly a woman or even a feminist? They’re completely separate issues. I’m both a woman and a feminist and it didn’t take me birthing munch to figure this out. So, what is wrong with the rest of the world? Your value as a woman is not tied to your uterus. No more than a man’s value is tied to what is between his legs. We all have choices and believe it or not, there are a lot of women who chose not to have children and it’s none of our business. I remember the Sex in the City 2 movie where that woman couldn’t believe that Carrie and Big didn’t want to have children. Carrie explained how they loved children, but that they didn’t want to have any and the woman was speechless. She didn’t know what else to say and turned around and stopped talking to Carrie who she had idolized for years.
She couldn’t believe that any woman would not want children. Are we really that simple as a society? I never wanted children, but that didn’t mean that I didn’t want to fight for the causes that were close to my heart and spirit. Motherhood is a personal choice and I think if more people thought about it there would be fewer abandoned or abused children. But, consider this for a moment…Everyday that I wake up and write a post or give my perspective on current issues affecting women aren’t I still birthing something? Creativity? Kindness? Am I now worthy to be valued?
Feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.
I am a woman. I am a mother. There are many different parts that make up me. I am bigger than the sum, but my value is NOT determined by society’s expectations of me. I will do things on my own terms and in my own way and you will have to accept it or not. But, don’t link my fight for women’s rights as a sign that I am better than other women because I chose to have children. Feminism means I value equality. I will fight. The fight lives within me. Always.