A baby being held while asleep on their mother's neck

Maybe I don’t want children!

If motherhood is the greatest act one can carry out as a woman, what does it mean for women who can’t bear children? What about those who won’t?

When I was seventeen years old, my sister, who is less than a year younger than I am, and I, decided that we would get pregnant. The plan was for us to find candidates, who could impregnate us within the next year, so we were both going to give birth to our babies before we were twenty at the latest.

Less than a month after the plan was hatched, it was already turning out to be a rather stupid idea. For starters, and you’d be surprised, but there aren’t very many young boys/men willing to have unprotected super casual sex with awkward high school aged virgin girls. There was also the small issue of our parents’ intense surveillance. We spent our time between school, church and our houses, and there was almost always an adult present at each location. Project Teenage Mother fell through, and I truly give thanks that the universe got in the way of our plan.  

My desire for motherhood remained, however, the target age was just pushed forward a few years. The plan changed to motherhood as soon as I got married. I presumed that this would be at around twenty-one. I loved babies, and loved the idea of raising one as my own close best friend. I volunteered frequently at a neighbourhood children’s home and got attached to one of the infants, so I started going every morning.

His name was Gilbert, and I was building wild strategies of how I would get to adopt him as my own by the time I was twenty-one. We even looked alike! The staff would give me a morning update on Gilbert whenever I arrived and I was convinced that I was his mother at this point. Then Gilbert was adopted without me getting a heads-up. I arrived one morning and he was gone, and that was the end of that period of my life. I never returned.

Related: Having Children Is A Choice

I’m older now, with more capability, both financially and mentally to parent, if I chose to do so. At least it’s what I’d like to believe, but lwith each passing year, I grow more averse to the idea. It’s not that I don’t love babies now, but the romantic filter I had on motherhood has lifted. Women seem to give up their whole lives to be able to be ‘good’ mothers, and even that doesn’t seem to be enough.

How can the rest of my existence become anchored on another human being? What then would be the point of my life? I guess this is the reason that the narrative of motherhood being the greatest thing a woman can do stems from. I get it; it’s the propagating of life and what humanity is built around. But there are many women who can’t have children. What becomes of them? Will their value and contribution to the world always be second place to their childbearing counterparts? I don’t think that makes sense.

I presume that there are other women now who are craving motherhood like I was a decade ago. Not that I should have pursued the desire then, but it would make more sense for those women to have children instead, since they want it so badly.

There should be more room for women to express their lack of desire for motherhood, though. Room for women like me, who aren’t sure about the choice even as their biological clock ticks steadily along. Honestly, a huge responsibility like bringing forth and nurturing a human begin to adulthood should be more thought out and not left to whims of societal expectations. Worse still, to a teenager in an erratic pregnancy pact.


Have you ever thought about why you want, or don’t want, children?

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