Sunday, 8 February 2009

Coming Through

The Observer Woman Magazine has finally come through for me. Today, to my slight surprise, was an article about the new generation of women who are desperate to have children - addicted, and have a fetish for it - heck, you only have to look at the case of the woman who had the octuplets to see that. And it was written from the perspective of women who cannot fathom this idea.

I am one such woman. So, as you can imagine, I read this article and agreed with the vast majority of things that were said (apart from the whole going to a dinner party and having to listen to a mother blather on about their experience part, that was lost on me). But then Polly Vernon wrote a quite funny piece on her thoughts on the idea of having children - it was me! She said that she'd made her mind up quite early, same with me, and that she hates the idea of buggies ruling over everyone else walking on pavements - I've been run over too any times to suggest that this is not the case. Buggies hurt.

But there was a more serious, underlying message here. To me it was about how we seem to have regressed from independence to wanting to shackle ourselves to 2.4 kids again like the 50s. I know my friends think I'm crazy, that when I look at a picture of a kid in a book I don't think it's cute or that I feel I want some of my own... well, no! Some of my friends are young, in their teens. And they're planning the day they want to get married and the day they want to have kids. One girl I know even has the names of "her two boys" planned out. The only advantage of this is that we discerned how we both dislike the name David, mostly because of its macho abbreviation Dave. Huh, what? Am I hearing things?

So I think they know that I won't change my mind for love nor money - but I want to live my own life. Do they realise that the work they're putting in now will be eradicated the minute they fall pregnant? On average, women who have had children earn 20% less than those who haven't, divorced women often blame their children for the collapse in their marriage, couples who have children spend more on food for their children than themselves and.... well, they're just unhappy in comparison to childless couples. Or as you may say in America, child-free. I like that term. It's not as discriminatory!

It's a culture thing. And the way you've been brought up, methinks. People look down on childless women, particularly since the whole hype around IVF and hormonal treatments is blown out of the water. Want a kid but are pretty much infertile? Adopt! There's plenty of children out there who need a loving home - plus, you could skip that whole annoying baby stage where they do nothing so that's an added bonus!

Tell me - am I being silly? Am I really a bit of a freak of nature or am I being sensible and looking at the hard facts before rushing into something I know nothing about? This post wasn't meant to condemn mothers - it was meant to highlight the fact that young - very young - women in particular are planning kids and forcing themselves into a strange, ball-and-chain situation by the age of 23. I just don't want that.


Tangled Noodle said...

Nothing strange or freakish about your stance! I am child-less/-free by mutual decision (with the husband). I am now rapidly approaching the age when having children (at least biological) will be very, very difficult. Do I regret it? I'm sometimes wistful - what would it be like to see your child grow? - but for the most part, I don't look back. I wish that we could accept each other's decisions as to when and if we should have children.

Brian said...

With the average human being living a lot longer than perhaps 20,40, 60....1000 years ago, many couples are choosing to have children much later in life. I on the other hand got greedy on this and had children at age 21 and again at 44. Go figure. My sister had her first child at age 45, although pregnancy is considered "high risk" after the age of 40, ask Sarah Palin. There is nothing wrong with how you feel and wanting to focus on your career. BTW, you write very well and I look forward to reading more of your blogs. I have added jamjarsuperstar to my blog roll for others to view.