So much is written about all these mothers who have eight kids, six kids, twelve kids but no one ever talks about the women who consciously make a decision to not have any at all. Having just read an article about a woman who made this choice in Britain, to the dismay of many who read about it, I thought the concept deserved more attention. Oh the British are just so cutting edge!
A woman should have the right to choose what she does with her body. If she does not want to have a baby – good for her! How many children have been born to abusers in this country? According to a finding from the US Dept of Health and Human Services, as of September 30, 2008 there were 463,00 children in foster care. What I like to say to people is “this is how many we found out about, that were being abused.” How many times do we hear about child fatalities in domestic situations? How many times do we hear about children being kidnapped – so much they had to put it on a carton! If a woman doesn’t want to bring a child into this world, this is a conscious choice she is making because she knows she is not the person to do the job.
When I worked for Children’s Protective Services about 90% of the kids I saw had parents with drug or alcohol problems. These are not people who have a conscious, at least not at the time they were making a baby. Especially when they bring a drug addicted child into the world. Many of the parents I spoke to were also anti-choice. They did not think it was right to have an abortion but they also did not think it was wrong to bring a child into the world that would be exposed to drugs, alcohol or violence.
ON the other hand, people who have too many kids all at one time, due to a fertility choice or because they just have to have 12 or 13 kids, have not been reading the research which shows that the more children you have the lower their IQ’s will be. This is because the amount of attention given to this many children will not come from the mother but the nannies, siblings, grandparents, and other supportive child care.
It is hard for me to have this background and not applaud the woman who makes a conscious choice to not have a child. One less little one the world needs to worry about. Yet a woman who is making this choice is probably not the one we need to be worried about anyway.
Why are women still thought of as useless unless they have children? Why must marriage equal babies? Why do we see women as selfish if they choose not to have children here in 2011? Marriages are no longer a choice that is made (at least not in developed countries) by looking at the male for financial gain. Modern cohabitation is generally thought to be based on love.
Many of us women, including myself, have known other women who should not have had babies. Grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters, who were forced into having babies because society deemed this so. I’ve known women who have said to me that their mother should never have had children, because she really didn’t know what to do with them. They have explained how they were neglected because the mother did not really want to be a parent but it was the “way things were.”
I wonder how it would look if women were applauded for their choice not to have children. Studies show that women who wait to have children because they go to college end up having less or none at all. I don’t think this would affect young girls who are desperate for attention (so they get pregnant). I don’t even know if it would affect how many children are in foster care. Not right away at least. It would have to be a decision that we make as a society that says it is okay to choose not to have a baby. Once we make this decision as a national accepted practice, fewer children will be born to people who do not want them. Over time, less will be abused and if they are not abused than the child will not need the attention they feel pregnancy gives them.
The expectations we have for women (and men too) are overwhelming and irrational in such a modern society. With the two career “families” we have brought entitled children into this world who were pacified with videos, television, internet and other types of “leave me alone,” techno-nannies.
Meanwhile, back in Britain, where women are given supportive nurses who follow them weekly after birth into the first year – to help them learn how to be a new mother. Where parents consider their children’s needs first over a career and it is not unusual for one parent to stay home and sacrifice career. In Europe where parents are given quite a lot of time to stay home from work with babies, so that the children will have a good start with mom and dad, not pre-school and are paid by their employers to do so…we are here in America with our Family Child Leave Act of about six weeks. We are so caught up in materialism that we would not even consider abandoning a career for a child. Or we are so caught up in reality shows that we would actually use our children for a series…is this the future for a child?
No children allowed in this womb! That doesn’t mean someone is a bad person. It means they are an intelligent person who thinks far into the future and is conscious of the choices they are about to make. It is environmentally friendly. It means one or more children who will not be neglected in some fashion. This statement does not mean that a person who chooses to have a child is not one of these things either. Yet how many women actually have children today that are not based on an accident? I am not sure if there is a statistic for this. You’d have to count all the teen mothers, the last child in a family that came several years after their siblings, unmarried parents in dysfunctional relationships that aren’t going anywhere, or women who carelessly choose not to use birth control “because they won’t get pregnant,” and the older women who “oopsed.” The latter category is generally the same as the families with a child several years younger than the siblings.
I think I’ve made my point here in favor of children. Or should I say on behalf of the little guys and gals in foster care. For the souls of victims who lay buried in cemeteries. For all the children born of incestuous relationships. For all the children we have not found out about yet who are being tortured as we speak, somewhere around the world.