I am a woman (not because I chose the title myself but because I was born with a vagina and my mom checked the female box when filling out my birth certificate.) It also means that I have a womb, which used to imply that my worth derived from cooking a decent fetus and the occasional pot roast. Now it also means I am able to run a company, run for office, and run a marathon… all whilst bleeding and getting paid less than my male cohorts. WOO-HOO!
Even though the sky is the limit for women these days, there is still something about being a “woman” that carries a lot of weight (and no I’m not talking about the Overnight Maxi Pad with Wings warmly nestled between your thighs.) I’m talking about the weight of Motherhood. The weight you bare even if you’re not really that keen on having kids of your own. The weight you bare when your biological clock is running out and the only reason you’re still entertaining the idea of having kids is that you’re afraid you might regret it if not.
However happy those who have birthed miniature versions of themselves claim to be, it seems ludicrous to keep force-feeding young women this botched motherhood fairytale —this idea that being born a woman means you are first and foremost a baby-making machine.
That’s why I’d like to propose a broadening of the definition of motherhood to include mothering your community, your planet, your friends, and, yes, even yourself. First, though, I’d like to explain all the reasons why, if do you currently have a functioning uterus or you’re regularly penetrating one, you should seriously rethink the desire to procreate.
Here are the reasons you shouldn’t have kids:
There are enough humans on the planet.
In fact, there are more humans living and breathing on this planet than ever before, 7.53 billion of them to be exact. Instead of adding more humans to the mix, I have a crazy notion, how about we take care of the ones who are already here?
Declining population rates are not putting the country’s economic growth at risk.
While most economically developed countries, including most of the ones in Europe, the US, South Korea, and Australia are making headlines because their birth rates are falling, why does this constant coverage of the falling birthrate feel like some government conspiracy to dupe the masses into having more unprotected doggy style? Hell even the Nordic countries, the supposed happiest countries on earth, are having fewer kids.
Shouldn’t falling birthrates be something we celebrate in the media?
- Human Beings Finally Taking Responsibility for Their Genitalia, Planet Earth Rejoices.
- Human Beings Finally Using Prophylactics, Mother Earth Breathes Sigh of Relief.
Instead, the headlines sound like some low blow attempt at trying to scare the fertile population into reproducing…for what exactly? So the social security fund, that’s been mismanaged for years, doesn’t run out? So we have another excuse to run to Target and spend money we don’t have on things we don’t need? So we have even more people to fear, more reasons to build walls?
They are expensive.
To raise a kid from birth to 18 it will set you back a hefty $200,000 per child. That doesn’t include the cost of college tuition, nor does it include the medical bills you’ll rack up when your careless son crashes his motorbike into a concrete wall after happy hour, the bail you’ll have to front to get his driving under the influence ass out of jail, and the lawyer you’ll have to hire him before he goes to trial. Sure your precious progeny may not end up behind bars, he may even get a scholarship to Harvard and invent a machine that lets us exchange plastic straws for bitcoins, but that doesn’t take away the fact that he will be a giant strain on your finances for the rest of your life and on Mother Earth for the rest of hers.
You have nurses and trained professionals that can take care of you in your elderly years.
If you have a child just so you won’t have to worry about some stranger changing your bedpan, you should probably just go ahead and vamoose you filthy vermin. I’m not taking a chance on my self-absorbed daughter forgetting to change my diaper because she’s too busy adjusting the Sepia filter on her selfie. No, siree, Bob. I’m going to take that $200,000 and buy myself some professional care. Sure, I know that senior homes don’t always have the best Yelp reviews, even the classier establishments, that’s why I am going to cook myself healthy well-balanced meals, get 8–10 hours of sleep nightly, meditate daily, exercise regularly, and vacation to actual *happy places often (all things I’d likely have to forgo if I was a mom.)
*And, no, Disneyland does not count as a Happy Place after the age of 7.
Children are daily reminders of your eventual demise.
Every holiday must be celebrated with Gusto whether you’re feeling festive or not. You’ll always have some sloppily made holiday-themed craft displayed on your refrigerator, a table of gluey googly eyes, and a themed photo shoot looming, a silent countdown to your remaining days here on Earth. And family vacations? Well, they’ll seem great in theory until you’re smack dab in the middle of one and your rotund daughter cannonballs off the deep end, splashing chlorinated water all over your work laptop. Family is everything & Too blessed to be stressed will be sparkly gifs you layer on your Instagram stories but phrases you have a hard time comprehending.
You can’t travel freely or pick up and move to another country.
Sure, not everyone is adventurous, but that’s likely because they’ve never had the opportunity to be. Once you discover how big and beautiful this world is, it gets much harder to imagine yourself settling down for eighteen years. Maybe you’re thinking, “kids always adapt, they will go where you go.” But as someone who had the pleasure of being schlepped around a few different states has a child, being the “new kid” at school never really feels that good. In fact, it sucks. So, sure, globetrotting with kids can be done. But it’s much harder to climb Kilimanjaro or ride a donkey bareback through the Andes when little Lucy’s ability to socialize like a normal human being is at stake.
You end up alienating your friends and family who find it unacceptable to talk about Jr.’s 50 shades of grey poopon.
When my friend had her first child, it was two years until we had a normal adult conversation again, and then she got pregnant again. Not only do you subconsciously detach yourself from any non-parents, but you also disassociate yourself from any curiosities, hobbies, or interests you might have had pre-baby. While you may appear to be the same person, your ability to carry on an enthralling conversation sans any mention of a bodily function is pretty much slim to none. Not to mention, for the next eighteen years, all of your extracurriculars must revolve around the tiny mutant you accidentally spawned after consuming a few too many half priced margaritas at Applebee’s. Check, please.
You don’t actually have an innate desire to be a mom.
That’s a lie. Sure some of you are going to claim that you’ve been carrying around baby dolls since the time you were old enough to walk. Maybe you even breastfed the baby after seeing your auntie breastfeed your newborn cousin. But that doesn’t really matter now does it, Susan? You also ate play dough when no one was looking and wiped your boogers on the wall by your bed until you went away to college. So tell me again about your innate desire to be a mom? Of course, you liked baby dolls as a child. Your parents positively reinforced this “desire” by cooing and taking a billion photos of you dragging around that plastic shell of a human. If they had slapped an ET doll in your hand instead would you now try to convince me you had an innate desire to breastfeed aliens? I think not.
Children don’t make you any happier.
According to this German study, the happiness level of new parents drops significantly after the first year of child rearing due to the many challenges including:
- physical exhaustion
- complications of birth
- sleep deprivation
- domestic isolation
- relationship breakdown
Not surprisingly, these horrific side effects ultimately impacted their decision to have another child, thus bringing the average number of children per woman to a whopping 1.5. If that doesn’t scare you into buying a Costco-size pack of Trojans next go around, I don’t know what will.
Kids are a lazy man’s purpose-driven destiny.
Parents love to tell you that having kids is “hard work, but totally worth it.” They might even say that their “my kids give my life meaning.” That’s basically just saying, “My dead-end office job is devoid of any true fulfillment and well, I’m getting too old to escape from mediocrity with booze and drugs so, kids it is!”
If you would honestly rather spend your days cutting the crusts off of sandwiches and organizing after-school activities instead of establishing self-care rituals that promote spiritual growth, learning to keep your fragile ego in check especially during times of duress, parenting your inner child, expanding your perspective so you don’t make fear based choices, breaking deeply rooted familial cycles, and attempting to love everyone you encounter (yes, even those wearing MAGA hats) — can you consider yourself fit enough to be a parent?
Programmed to Procreate
You’d probably agree with me that most women, and those who identify as such, have an innate ability to nurture— but why have we bought into the lie that these “soft” traits can only be used mothering our own children? Being born a woman with a desire to nurture doesn’t mean you should be automatically programmed to procreate. How different would the world be if, instead of convincing young girls that breeding is their birthright, we encouraged them to use their mothering superpowers, to nurture those around them, especially those society deemed unworthy? Motherhood should give you the option to nurture the ENTIRE planet, not just those who inherited your velociraptor toes.
Why do we glorify pregnancy and babies while turning a blind’s eye to the increasing suicide rates and mass shootings, choosing to distract ourselves with tiny onesies instead of the collective degradation of mental health? As a society, we are without a doubt pro-birth, but not so much pro-life, just look at the number of children in foster care in the US. We all love a chunky happy baby cooing in her mother’s arms, yet most of us would cringe and roll our eyes if the same happy baby is in between feedings and screaming next to you on the crowded bus home.
We need a motherhood paradigm shift. Motherhood (as we know it) encourages the following: pop out a few kids and then voila, you’re a happier, more complete, woman. There are many problems with this narrative, for one we don’t have basic systems in place that 1/ support raising healthy children, 2/ keep medical costs, tuition, and housing costs affordable for the average family, or 3/ prioritize mental health.
The fact that we have adequate access to sex education, healthcare and prophylactics yet still insist on procreating leads me to believe our definition of motherhood is still stuck in the dark ages.
And Now for My Hippy-dippy Proposition
What if, we expanded our idea of motherhood to include mothering our communities, our planet, our friends, our family and ourselves? If more girls and women knew they could apply their motherhood superpowers to EVERYTHING they did, maybe then they wouldn’t feel this intense pressure to birth their own. Instead, they could use that bubbling life-creating energy to make the world a better place; they could start a community garden, organize a meet up that sews reusable pads for disenfranchised women, host workshops where young girls can learn how to code, produce plays for inner city youth, or, hell, even run for local office. Lord knows we could use some more soothing progesterone in politics. And in the process, they might discover that looking after their planet, nurturing their community, mothering their friends and putting their spiritual growth first, gives them the same benefits that raising a ruthless rugrat with a Baby Shark obsession does.
We have evolved enough as a species that we no longer need to spread our seed just for the hell of it. Instead, we could be collectively elevating the planet to another level, one where hunger is nonexistent, income inequality disappears, renewable energy is accessible, and young women don’t feel limited in their options when planning for their future.
Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk.
Originally published at www.reprojustice.com.