In the American edition of Marie Claire, not half as good as the Mexican edition, in my personal opinion - not so many social interest oriented articles, and too much of that annoying shopping catalog thing going on - an article by Polly Vernon about life as a woman who just doesn't want to have kids. (There's a nice reference to this article in a blog I just found. Here's the link.) She starts with the reaction of people to this choice, reaction I myself have faced often. First comes the "oh, you don't know what you are talking about" speech with all the "wait until you have your own kid in your arms! Then you'll ask how could you deny yourself the pleasure for so long". When you stay rock firm on your position, the "there's something wrong with you". However, truth is that there's nothing wrong with us, and people should accept that instead of trying to force us into something we don't want. Bullying us won't make us any less, and the things that are told to us, to push us into motherhood, really, don't convince us.
For instance this thing about "you'll love it once you have it in your arms". And if I don't? If I still think it looks like some deformed, ugly, oversized rat that makes my skin creep back? Can I return it? Can I change it for a laptop? Get my money back? Often, also it isn't a matter of us thinking we wouldn't be good parents, as honestly I believe I'd be a better parent than many I see around me, it's just I don't want to do it. It's not fulfilling for me, it's not fun and it isn't something I look forward to.
The bullying Ms. Vernon is subjected to, put before my eyes a fundamental truth that roots deep in our modern society: "women with functional wombs have the duty to put such womb at the service of mankind and procreate". The only reasons accepted by society for you not to have kids is that you are barren or lesbian or too damned ugly to have any man near. But if you are a woman with a working womb, who can get a laid, it is your untold destiny to have children, to want children and find fulfillment, whether you want it or not, in them. You are told that motherhood is a "stage of life" that will make you complete, that you have to reach and live in other to get on with your life.
The amount of irrational arguments in this is amazing. Would you say that a teenager girl who gets knocked up and opts to have her baby is more fulfilled than a woman who decided to remain childless and takes her time to find her passion and follow it. I'm not saying that you can't live your life the way you want with a kid, that you can't build up a career with kids, but what I am saying is that you don't need children to be fulfilled as a person and as a woman.
Also, as the person we are, we have rights over our own bodies, therefore the conscious decision to not have children should be respected, the same way as if we decide to have kids, or if we decide to be surrogates and have the children of people who can't have them by their own.
Calling us broken, immature and irresponsible is ludicrous, particularly when you consider the following facts:
1. Many orphans around the world are the product of irresponsible parents who take upon to have kids when they are not fit to look out for them. And lets forget the myth that most orphans are so because their parents died. No, they parents didn't want them, that's why so many children fill up the orphanages.
2. Immature parents may not give their children away, but they mistreat them, abuse them. Many children around the world suffer torture and abuse at the hands of the people that should take care of them, the ones that should love them, nurture them and teach them.
3. Many children are born not because their parents are actually ready to be parents, but to salvage a relationship, keep a partner, force a marriage or fulfill a request. These are children that are brought to life not as people but as tools. Also, when a woman gets pregnant to "fulfill her destiny as a woman", objetifies the child, making him or her into a tool towards her personal gratification.
People forget that children are not just babies and kids and rugrats, but people. Children are not some permanent pet that will stay with you at least until it becomes 18, and kids do not belong to their parents. Truth is that people - whether they are parents or not - tend to elude responsability. They love authority, but fear responsability, and children put responsability on your shoulders. People who decide not to have kids have much more sense than many who choose to have them, because often we do measure up the responsability that bringing a new person to this life entails, and decide we do not wish to have that on our shoulders. Isn't that better than bringing an entirely innocent, helpless kid to this world and "see what will happen"?