Pieces of Me

It is her uterus, not mine

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.

throwing stones

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

  • Yes, you are right. With the internet – media assaulting our senses every time we look at a mobile device, we are bombarded with lives and choices different from ours. Mostly I am tolerant of difference, but I have the urge (and sometimes not the courage) to speak out about issues I am passionate about – when a person’s choice negatively affects other people or their children. When a person’s choice is not to have babies, that’s OK. That’s completely their choice, and it’s not hurting anyone. x

  • great read Josefa and I couldn’t agree more. I wonder how many times we judge others without realising it, or worse, get upset at being judged ourselves and then judge others! I know I am sick of being judged as being “selfish” for only having one child. Being a mother is not for everyone, and if you’re smart enough to know that it’s not for you, BEFORE you have children, then I reckon hats off to you! I used to want 5 kids. The way I’ve handled one (often poorly) makes me wonder what I was thinking! Everyone just needs to worry about living their own life, not dictating to others how they should also live theirs. Congrats on your debut for the Huffington Post UK! That is fantastic news! xo

  • Renee at Mummy, Wife, Me

    Josefa! How much do you rock getting your post on Huffington Post?! Good for you, this is brilliant.

    I totally agree with what you say, we do need to support each other and stop criticising each other so much. I have two friends who have no intention to have children. They are content with their lives and are excelling in their chosen careers. They receive endless comments from women with kids who just can’t understand the choice they have made. I just don’t get how or why people feel the need to be so judgemental!

  • Kathy www.yinyangmother.com

    Well done Josefa on the Huffington guest post. I struggled for quite a while to NOT judge women who choose to be childless (which is a judgemental word in itself). I was so jealous of their ability to conceive, which they seemingly didn’t care about, while I had to struggle infertility and my desperate desires. If I’m honest, even now with our two adopted kids, I still twinge a little at that ‘wasted fertility’. But having had a sense of control taken away from me, I can only wish all women that control to make their choice without judgement….kathy

  • LydiaCLee

    Not very humbling! You’ve earned it! That is FANTASTIC!! Congrats!
    As for the judgement, women are their own worst enemies. It’s always something. Drives me nuts. Something needs to be done re breastvbottle, daycarevhome, workingvstayathome, childrenvnochildren onechildvmorechildren and it goes on, endlessly. Interesting it is predominately one children get in the mix? What is that? We’re teaching our children tolerance and understanding, certainly not by example…

  • Wow. Josefa. Congratulations on your debut article for HPUK! That is awesome!
    And I can see why, once again beautifully written article where you have hit the nail right on the head. You know my feelings on judgement and I agree ten thousand percent!

    Interestingly enough I recently submitted a pitch on women choosing child free lives!

  • You are just right. I have no children, but long for them and women who have child’s want less/none/more – so rare to just be satisfied with what you have. Ad so nice to be reminded to simply be thankful!

  • Alison @ The Thrifty Issue

    Congratulations on making the Huffington Post! Wow! I do agree that women are always judging each other – and always complaining about women judging each other!! 🙂 Sometimes I think we judge ourselves too much as well. Cheers, Alison #IBOT

  • Josefa, huge congratulations on your HP debut!!
    I just wish we could all respect others’ decisions and rights, without the judgement. I could not imagine my life without my daughter, but my sister has made a conscious decision not to have children, and that’s the absolute perfect choice for her. Can’t we just live and let live?

  • What a fantastic post! I agree entirely that standing up to the cultural, religious and social pressures that confront woman to have children should be applauded rather than condemned. Pressuring women into having children when they do not feel it is right for them can result in disastrous consequences, not only for the resulting child or children, but also for the women’s relationship with her partner and, of course, for her own mental health. Massive congratulations for your debut with the Huffington Post!

  • Cassandra Webb-Writer

    Amazing post, thanks for sharing

  • Natalie A

    Beautifully said Hun x and congratulations on your new adventures

  • Money Mummy

    Beautiful post – I agree everyone should chose what is right for them and then should not have to be judged on their decision. 0, 1, 2 or 20 children it is up to the individual. The difficult one is when nature makes the decision for you. xox

  • Bec | Mumma Tells

    Judgement is absolutely ingrained within us… it’s all about what we do with that judgement that counts. Unfortunately it seems to be the ones who scream their opposition from the rooftops that get noticed, pitting one person against another and bring negative attention with them.
    Congrats to you on your debut. A beautiful piece. X

  • It’s funny isn’t it, how we all assume that our idea of perfect is more true than someone else’s, when that is not the case at all.
    I know there are those who have judged me for having four children, and I guess there have been times when i have wondered who parents who choose to have more are having them for. But you’re right, the judgement needs to stop now.

  • Emily Morgan

    Congrats! That’s awesome news, and shows the quality of your writing. i feel a bit behind the times, didn’t really think that it was an issue anymore. I’ve never had a problem with women with lots of kids or women with no kids – but I am quite certain my judgement of others can be found in other areas.

  • Housewife in Heels

    I have 2 little boys, and often have times I think that the child free life is the way to go! Congrats on the Huffington Post- so exciting!!!

  • TeganMC

    Awesome work on getting published in the Huffington Post!
    I too hate that women seem to be pitted against each other. My opinion is that as long as they are happy then who am I to judge what they choose to do with their life.

  • Emma Fahy Davis

    My Miss 6 told me the other day that she’s only having one child when she gets older because ‘kids are annoying!’ Perhaps a reflection of her life with 4 sisters!
    Congrats on the HuffPost!

  • Firstly great work on the HP debut! Very much deserved. And I couldn’t agree more about women leaving their opinions about how many children we have to themselves. We planned on two and got three !! x

  • Excellent post Josefa and I have to agree with everything. I think people need to start worrying about their own lives a little more and other people’s a lot less!

  • Pip (@melbournelass)

    Agree. Those who are ‘different’ are seen as less than. Kudos to those who challenge ‘the norm’ and make choices based on what’s best for their circumstance. As you so articulately pointed out, the ‘perfect’ life is so so subjective. Say Hi to the Huff for me – what a sensational moment of glory for you. So so well deserved. x

  • Rita

    Congrats Josefa on being published at the Huffington Post!
    At the end of the day, I say each of his own. We have to stop judging and categorising.

  • It’s so frustrating just how much women are judged! If you have one child, you’re selfish to not have more. If you have many, you’re inconsiderate as you can’t meet all their needs. If you have none, there’s something wrong with you — especially if it’s intentional! The judging never stops…it continues with the whole SAHM and working mothers too. Loved this post!

  • TwitchyCorner

    Another great post, Josefa. Unfortunately articles that polarise the community are the ones that are the highest read, so as much as I agree with you on all this, we’re not going to see those stories disappear any time soon. What we *can* do, is be more aware of that media manipulation and more importantly, our own actions. Congrats on your article being published!

  • Danya Banya

    Well done on the debut! Great post. 🙂

  • shambolicliving

    Great post, I wish we could all appreciate that everyone has the right to their choices and let’s just all work together to create a great world for everyone.

  • Huff Post – coooool!

    I completely, totally agree with you. Have kids, don’t have kids, it doesn’t matter to me! What matters to me is the mud-slinging from BOTH sides about their choices. Enough already! x

  • Excellent post. Was only having a similar conversation the other day, basically we both agreed…. why can’t women (girls) just be nice to each other and so respect for differences.

  • Beautiful article! I agree: women should really be respecting and even celebrating their diversity in life decisions, not tearing each other down. Congratulations on your Huffington Post debut! Very well deserved!

  • Sam

    Great article! We forget too, that some women are wearing their ‘brave face’ when talking about their decisions regarding children and their ideal number. I hope that all that talk of fabulous child-free existences has encouraged a few with broken hearts – while their backseat remains empty, they are far from living empty lives. And those who have *chosen* the childfree existence, more power to them!

  • Jody at Six Little Hearts

    I am that woman driving the minivan full of kids – all 6 of them!
    I truly couldn’t care less what people think of me for having so many and likewise, I just don’t care what other women choose to do in the uterine department.
    Probably because I am so damn busy driving…!

  • Love this, it’s so true, we are so quick to judge. We need to realise each to their own, it’s a personal choice, they are the ones who have to live with their choice not us.

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