A 29-year-old British woman wrote an article saying she didn’t want kids. Did the people of the internet congratulate her on her decision and get on with their days? Not so much.
Holly Brockwell is the editor of Gadgette, a UK tech and lifestyle website for women, and she doesn’t want to have children. Here’s why:
“The fact is, there’s nothing about creating another human that appeals to me. That’s an emotional thing and translating it into rational reasons takes something away from its strength.”
Well, good for her.
I have two children that I love desperately, and it’s terribly hard work catering to their needs. My life is a shambles. I don’t have any nice clothes anymore.
There are crayon drawings on my lounge walls. There is very little about this childraising jaunt that I would try to sell to anyone who didn’t want it for themselves.
That’s the only reason I had children. I wanted them.
I didn’t do it to make myself a better, less selfish person. I didn’t do it because I needed a bit of perspective on how unimportant designer jeans are.
I did it because deep in the pit of my heart and my stomach and my solar plexus, I wanted a small human being made out of me and my husband to hold and smell and love.
And now I have two of them, and it’s wonderful, but it’s also hectic and intense. Anyone who doesn’t want to go on this journey is more than welcome to carry on with their partying, fashion-buying, sleeping-in-on-the-weekend ways.
Some of my best friends don’t have children, and here’s a secret: they are far more fun.
That’s my childbearer’s take on what Brockwell had to say.
She also said that it was hard to find a doctor willing to tie her tubes in the UK because no one in the medical profession believed that a 29-year-old woman might be able to make that decision for herself.
And the crowd goes wild – but not in a good way
You’d think that people would respect her well considered argument even if they didn’t agree with it. Except, not so much.
Oh no. No, she got called a whore.
She was on the receiving end of such vitriolic attacks on social media that she had to close her Twitter account. People had a go at her, her mother, her values, her desire for a tube ligation and her sexuality.
She was told that the only good thing about her not breeding was the fact that at least she wouldn’t make awful more awful people like herself. She was told that if she really wanted not to have children, she could just not have sex – because would want to have sex with her anyway, cow that she is?
I think they said far worse things to her, but the nice publications I’ve been reading wouldn’t publish them.
She even had to have a security escort for a follow-up interview on the BBC because they were concerned that harm would come to her.
On being selfish
And she was called selfish. Which certainly wasn’t the worst of it, but it’s a thing that I’ve heard my very own friends say about other women who have chosen not to breed.
For me, it’s a baffling accusation. Having children was one of the most self-serving things I’ve ever done.
Sure, now, I have to pick up after them and buy them iPads for school (seriously, WTF?), but I didn’t have them as an odyssey of self-discovery – like some kind of ascetic ritual. I did it because I wanted to and because I knew that they would make me blissfully happy.
I was right, they do. I am selfishly happy with my selfish decision.
I hope Brockwell manages to find a way to be equally happy with hers.
So, to the rest of society, please, have a serious think about why you respond so violently to a woman expressing her desire not to have children. Your views are straying dangerously close to the belief that a woman is nothing more than a womb with legs.
How dare you negate her statements of self-determination?