The “us” and “them” mentality of society is starting to drive me a little crazy. Every news article I read and opinion article I raise my eyebrows at is promoting division. It seems that our society is motivated and sustained through polar and judgmental opposition. Especially women.
Perhaps women have been judging each other since the dawn of time. Perhaps it is inherent in our hormones, in our instincts and in our lack of sanity as we grow older with a cast of children underneath our skirts. The fundamental basics involved with raising children are reason alone to separate women into opposing armies. Perhaps it is because there are no fundamental basics. The vaccination debate. The breastfeeding debate. The co-sleeping debate. The routine debate. I could fill the rest of this post with one issue after another that have given us reason to build brick walls and thrown stones at each other.
But the latest debate seems to be one of our all time lows. The right of a woman to choose whether she has children or not. Time magazine splashed out with their “The Childfree Life: When Having It All Means Not Having Children” article making their cover last week. The image alone made my knees weak! One gorgeous man sprawled across one perfect beach, with one perfect woman who was sprawled right along-side him. No sand toys, no baby sunscreen, no giant beach bag filled with wipes, nappies, wraps, beach toys and snacks. Just perfection.
Right there, in that instant, was my judgement!
There is no perfect life. Our perception of perfect is exactly that: ‘our’ perception. Not someone else’s. So I think it is high time I stopped using the choices I have made for my uterus as a means of judging other women for the choices they have made with theirs.
At the mere thought of having more children, my own uterus contracts and builds barricades in defense. So I am far from wanting more than the two I have already. I have often scorned and pitied women who do have more – or none at all. Perhaps even thought I was going to faint when I see women with a mini-van full of children! But these judgements make me less of a person, not more of one.
The water needs to start flowing with this debate. Women need to not only stand up for their right to have no children other women need to support that right just as vehemently. A nations’ fertility rate and declining birth rate are not reason to sway a person’s decision to procreate. Parenting is a tough gig. Even at the best of times, it is tough. The pressure of culture, religion and society to enter into parenthood is quite steep. Standing up against that pressure needs to be applauded, not condemned.
I am in awe of women who are intentionally childfree. They defy the argument of being unfulfilled and not reaching their biological purpose. Instead, they show that the complexity of humanity is far greater than its ability to use reproductive organs. There was once a time that women marched the streets, full length skirts, dragging through the dust, carrying placards and chanting “Votes for Women!” Now that those rights are well and truly established, why are we tearing each other down because of them? Do we need to take to the streets again, is that the only way women can unite? It is time to stop building the brick walls and throwing those stones.
It is very humbling to be able to tell you that this post is my debut post for the Huffington Post UK and can be seen here. Thank you for always reading x