Yesterday, May 8th, was Mother’s Day and I, like millions of people, celebrated my mom. My mother is an incredible woman whom I love and cherish more than anyone. I also respect her greatly for putting up with me and my brothers for all these years—I would have ended up institutionalized if I had to deal with their antics for 18+ years. But she did it, and quite well (using myself as a prime example).
However, Mother’s Day for some women is not always the happy celebratory day many people know it as. For these women, it is a reminder that there is an undeniable societal pressure to bring children into the world. The women who feel this way are the ones who choose to not have children, physically cannot carry a child, or haven’t secured her preferred circumstances yet (financial stability, a partner, etc.). This idea that women should prioritize procreation above all else is harmful to the mental health of women everywhere. It establishes standards for women to adhere to and if they don’t, they’re “selfish” or “lazy” and often face humiliation and shame for it.
It is time to break this stigma! Every woman is entitled to make her own decisions regarding her body and her life. Instead of shaming women for this, we should applaud them for making decisions in her best interest. A woman who chooses not to have children because the responsibility is greater than she wants to accept is much better off not having kids rather than raising a child she is unable to care for.
What it is most important to keep in mind is that it is NEVER an obligation to have children; it is a choice. People are somewhat understanding if a woman chooses to be childless because her financial situation is not solid or because she does not have the support. However, society does not grant any sympathy for the women who choose this path simply because they do not want the financial burden of raising another human, or because she wants to pursue a time-consuming career, or because she wants a life where she can travel and do things that people with children typically cannot. Or maybe she doesn’t want a child. Just ‘cause.
The reproductive choices of a woman do not concern anyone other than herself. No one should make a woman feel bad about herself for making such a huge decision. We need to support these women and congratulate them for pursuing the lifestyle they desire.