Childfree, no kidding!

by tanguaymarilou on May 1, 2017 - 5:33pm

Danielle Stanton wrote the article “Ces Femmes sans Enfants par Choix” for the “Vero” magazine, which is a francophone magazine mainly addressed to women. This article was published on August 14th, 2014 and a summary of Stanton’s paper will be presented through this essay. Here’s the link for the article: http://veroniquecloutier.com/oser-etre-soi/ces-femmes-sans-enfants-par-choix.

 

Stanton’s article addresses the issue that some women deliberately refuse to procreate. In her article, she reports the interviews she conducted with many women and most testimonies included are from women who decided to be childfree. Those women argue that not giving birth is a choice that should not be seen as controversial nowadays and that such decision should be respected due to the fact that the society is not church-based anymore. They point out that it is possible to be accomplished as a woman without having children and, according to Stanton, women do not have an obligation to follow a predetermined path in order to have a great life. In the modern society, life goes beyond going to school, having a job and then giving birth. In fact, there are thousands of different paths that a woman can follow in order to bloom. However, some women feel judged when they share their desire to not have a child. Some are even called egocentric, because they supposedly prioritize their own success and happiness over giving birth. Many support that women have the duty to give birth because they were created to be fertilized and to procreate is part of the natural cycle of life. On the other hand, some believe that it is the culture shared by society that shape how women decided to live their life. Women interviewed by Stanton and who voluntarily decided to be childfree agree with this worldview, but still challenge it because their desire not to have kids is counter-cultural and outside the norm. I have always been concerned about this aspect of being a woman, because the conciliation between the professional life and to be a full-time mother seems challenging to manage.

Personally, I really want to have children because I love being surrounded by kids, but I also want to pursue my personal interests by having a great career in a field in which women are expected to perform constantly. Nevertheless, my desire of having children is stronger than my desire to be a careerist, which demonstrates why I would prioritize giving birth over anything else. However, I do not understand why many are judgmental toward women who refuse to procreate and why it would be unacceptable for those women to choose personal interests over a family life. I believe it is not appropriate for society to decide whether it is good or bad for women who choose not to have child. I am strongly convinced that the choice to give birth or not strictly belongs to women and no one should be entitled to judge their choice. Why would it be acceptable for a man to escape the family life, but not for a woman? Because, we are living in a society where it is the norm for women to have children? Because, women are created to give birth? This is completely aberrant! We live during a time period in which everyone is supposedly free to make their own decisions without being confronted to judgement. Therefore, why does this debate exists? Briefly, I believe that women have the right to decide whether they want to be a mother or not, and see their choice be accepted by others. To conclude, how is it to manage family life and career nowadays? Is it feasible to have a good life quality by being a full-time mother and being a professional leader? 

 

Work cited: Stanton, Danielle. "Ces femmes sans enfants par choix." Vero Magazine, 14 August 2014, http://veroniquecloutier.com/oser-etre-soi/ces-femmes-sans-enfants-par-c....

 

Comments

Hi tanguaymarilou,

First of all, the topic you elaborated on for your article is one that really interests me since it kind of follows the same idea as abortion, which is a subject that interests me. In fact, these topics make me ask myself what is correct and what is not.

Personally, I think that deciding not to want children is totally fine. I could not agree more with the fact that a woman should not be considered a woman because she has children, but simply because she is strong and independent. In my opinion, a woman is one who knows what she wants without ever being influenced by her surroundings. Furthermore, I really do not think that those women, who decide not to procreate, are egocentric. In fact, I think they are the complete opposite of it. If a woman does not want a child, it might simply be because she does not have the time to raise one, or because of a lack of money to educate the child properly. Being aware of these kind of situations demand a great deal of maturity. Hence, this maturity is a gift to an unborn child. In the end, a woman who decides not to have kids is saving him/her the feeling of being unwanted and not loved because; therefore, a woman is not thinking about her at all in this situation, but about how her child would feel in it all, which makes her the opposite of egocentric.

These past few days, I have been watching Grey's Anatomy, a television series. Christina Yang, one of the main surgeons on the show is one of those women who really do not want kids. Her best friend, Meredith Grey, after a long reflexion, accepts the fact that her friend gets an abortion, which is not the case for Yang's husband. He is unable to understand how a woman can not want children, which is why Meredith makes him better understand his wife's decision. According to herself, Meredith was an unwanted child and having known that, she would have preferred her mother not giving birth of her. She explains to Owen, the husband, how not being wanted deeply affects someone and it somehow changes his perception a little.

As for me, I absolutely want kids later on because they make me happy. Children are so innocent and when I'm surrounded by them, I feel different. In fact, I feel like life could not be better and my heart melts every time I see a child. On the other hand, I completely respect the women who decide to go against what society tells women, which is to procreate. Nowadays, people always seem to complain about how they are unhappy and about how their lives are miserable. Now, what is wrong with someone who decides to BE happy? Isn't that what everyone is looking for? Why not follow your heart, and only your heart, instead of following society?

Your topic is really interesting and caught my eye because it is a subject that interest me because I am a woman and sooner or later this issue might affect me. I have to say that I agree with you and that I do not think that women should have babies because it is well perceived by the society and the social norms. I believe that someone should choose to have children because they want to not because they have to. More than that, from my personal opinion, if I would have a child without wanting it I am not even sure I could properly love him and it will only do more good than bad. Also, we have to consider the fact that we live in a selfish and individualist society therefore, it happens that women put their personal interest before the fact of helping the society to grow. I personally totally agree with them because I plan to have a career and travel before having a baby. I do not think that having a child is an easy task and I do think that having kids are preventing people from doing some things so I’ll rather live my life and then have children. More than that, I do believe that someone can be perfectly happy and accomplish without children because other things can make you as happy as having a child. Finally, you have to make life decisions based on what’s best for someone else, rather than what’s best for yourself. Indeed, as a parent you put your own desires behind those of your children as passing up a job opportunity in another city, staying in a dead marriage, or neglecting old friendships. I personally do not like this idea, it might sound selfish but I do think that in life there are things that can be more important or valued than children. It does not mean that people cannot love then it only means that we can value and love more than one thing. In brief, the three main good aspects about being childfree is that women can dedicate their time to their career or other interests because parenting will not take their time away, women can have more time for themselves and being alone with their husband, exercising, etc. and the worlds will be less crowded and resources less depended because there are fewer mouths to feed and fewer resources used. Also, I am not afraid to recognize that I think in this way because I live in an individualist society. Do you think that it might be to harsh for people to think like that and we should consider more the fact that we live in an aging society with fewer and ewer new born ?

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/complete-without-kids/201204/advant...

Hi,

I decided to read and comment your article because yes as a man I can't give birth, but I always wondered what were the reasons behind a childfree women. Is it just the fact that she doesn't want any kids or sometimes they have other reasons? Well, your text explained me some of these "other" reasons.

I personally want children later, but I'm not the one carrying them I know. I can't feel any obligation of giving birth because my body is create to reproduce, like women are facing. It seems hard to say that you don't want any child or won't have any. There a difference to be done between those two both in the two scenarios, it won't be easy to stand in front of the others. I know, even if it isn't always is evident, that women are still facing some injustice in the current workplace and that it's harder to have a prolific career as a women than as a man. However, I would never put my career in front of my family, or my desire to have a family, but that's me. Not everybody feels the same way I do and I'm aware of this. Some people will put their career in front because they have made just too much efforts to finally stand where they are and won't be able to let it go. Happily, like you said, we live in a society where everyone is free to do whatever they want and should not be judged by others because of this and as a women who decided to not have children, it should not be a shame to talk about it or try to hide it from the other the longer you can. It's not a question of being selfish but a women, in my opinion, can be proud of what she accomplished at a point where she will dedicate all her life in this, even if it means not children. It is their choice and they should not be reprimanded for it.

I agree that it is their choice and only theirs but I found it sad that maybe some women wont have children because of their work. They managed to accomplished so much that they can't convince themselves to maybe "downgrade" in order to form a family. Don't you?

Hi marilou,
I decide to comment on your publication because suprisingly just like you my desire to be a mother is also very strong. I agree with the fact that it is absolutely ridicule to judge women that do not really have the desire of being a mom. There is many valide reason of feeling that way. You can be an accomplished women just like you said without giving birth. Being a mom can sometimes be a really hard job, you need to be aware of all the work that it demand. Some women are sometimes not ready, have some medical issues in their family and do not want to give it to the kid, some women do not have enough ressources to become a mother and there is many more reason. But no one should have the power to judge on this decision because it is their bodies and they are free to do whatever they want! Are man being also judge for making this decision of not being dad?

Hi Marilou,
I found your topic very interesting because I have not really ever been exposed to this debate. I never felt like I would be judged by anyone in particular if I decided not to have children. By reading your summary of the article, I can understand that it’s not the case for all women.
In my opinion, being a good mom and having a great career is feasible. Many support systems have been put in place by our society to facilitate the unity of those two full-time jobs. Even though men and women are not yet totally equal when it comes to this issue, I think we are getting there.
I feel like I am the perfect example of how society teaches girls from a young age that it is their duty to procreate: I absolutely hate children, yet I feel like my life wouldn’t be “complete” if I failed to have kids. I am not scared of being judged for not wanting children, I am scared of missing out on something that everybody does. In other words, if it wasn’t so uncommon not to have children, I wouldn’t feel bad not having some. My guilt would not come from direct outside reprimands (like my parents shaming me for not wanting kids), but from inside because of how our society functions.
Although I think your opening question is worth reflecting on, I think that there is an important distinction to see between the debate on being able to conjugate motherhood and professional accomplishment, and the debate on whether or not to respect women’s choice of not having children. Do you agree?

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