To Be Or Not To Be, Childfree

Ladies, have you ever noticed how when you reach a certain age you’re made to feel you have to justify your childfree state and the freedom that it necessarily gives you? If you’re single it’s not so bad, you must be waiting for the right man to come along, but if you’re married or are fortunate enough to be in a steady long-term relationship with a life partner then forget it. Prepare yourself for the haranguing and barrage of probing and sometimes intrusive questioning.

Unless one or both of you are medically challenged in that area, there’s just no excuse for not burdening yourself with a mini-you. No-one ever asks the question why you want children but only why you don’t, so I have to wonder just how many women have given in to the pressure of becoming mothers who would rather not have been, after all it’s not like a pair of shoes you can return if you find once you get them home, they’re not quite as great as they looked in the shop. There’s no 28 day refund available with a baby.

The worst thing I find is, even if they do secretly regret their ‘decision’, (just how much of a decision was it if you don’t really feel you have a choice, I ask), no-one will ever say, ‘it was a mistake’, or ‘if I had my time again I would not become a mother’ or  ‘for goodness sake it’s too late for me but save yourself-  don’t even think about doing it -you’ll regret it.’ No-one likes to admit to their mistakes and if it’s a mistake they’ll have to live with for 18 years – well actually the rest of their lives, well if they have to suffer it so should everyone else, so rather than commit the ultimate sin of telling it like it really is, they keep schtum. If you ever have anything other than positively glowing reports of motherhood then there has to be something seriously wrong with you doesn’t there? What kind  of a person, a woman no less, can’t stand children?

No-one ever talks about the cost of rearing a child or even thinks about it. The heartaches and headaches, the sleepless nights, the stress, and then there’s what you’ll be subjecting your child to – the crime, the violence, world poverty – the world isn’t such a great place to be. Everyone knows what a life altering thing it is to bring a being into the world but as incredible as it sounds, more often than not, more thought goes into the choice of colour for the new  car. I know bringing up a child is hard work and some women thrive on it, and I say good for them. I would no more question their decision to have a child than I would expect  anyone to have to provide reasons for not wanting one.

There is only one breed that I truly feel for more than the woman being pressured into procreating against her natural instinct, and that’s the man who is made a father against his will. There can be nothing in the world worst than that. All I can say is thank God I’m not a man. He has as much right as a woman  to choose when/if he becomes a parent but unfortunately his wishes count for nothing. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against women deciding to have  children on their own, if they have the financial wherewithal to support  that child but it’s quite another to add insult to injury by first declaring impending  parentage, being advised by the father not to have the child because it was only a one-night stand, holiday romance, quick grope behind the bike-shed etc etc,  but to then go ahead with the pregnancy despite clearly knowing you are deciding the fate of not only you and your child for the next 18 years but also the fate  of the unfortunate sod that only wanted a good time, particularly , and this point is crucial, if the only reason you find yourself in this situation is down to failed  contraception that he was considerate enough to wear, and then to actually expect him to pay for your decision well, that’s just a nonsense.  And just how fair  is it to bring a kid into the world under those circumstances  It doesn’t stand a chance. This may not be the most politically correct thing to say but I’m  surprised there aren’t more reluctant father’s disappearing in a puff of smoke.  I certainly wouldn’t blame them. Can it really be reasonable to expect a man to pay for what was someone else’s decision and someone else’s choice? I am very much about the empowerment of women but this whole scenario seems almost Dickensian.

But it still happens and will continue to do so. And most frighteningly it’s the more mature girls in their late twenties who would appear to be the culprits, not only immature girlies in their teens. It’s these women who feel the greatest need for anyone who remains childfree into their thirties to justify their childfree state. Don’t you ever want children they will ask as you consider your second exotic holiday to the Seychelles that year as they try to convince themselves a  couple of days in an icy cold caravan in Wales in the middle of winter really is what they enjoy. Yeah, right…mmmm, I think I might need  a little more  convincing.

Karl is 12 now and his mother still refuses to work – something about having to be at home lest he falls ill. He has never been a particularly sickly child. But  Karl’s father does work. So not only is his mother totally dependent on his step-dad for money, the roof over her head, the food she eats and the clothes she  wears, it would appear that Karl’s father is solely responsible for supporting her child, even though it was her decision to become a mother following that one  night-stand. There’s something not quite right with this picture. I only hope her husband doesn’t get divorced again – bang goes her security, not that she had  any to begin with. Now if it were me, I’d make damn sure I had money of my own. Surely she has a responsibility to ensure she’s not totally dependent  on another human being for everything at least until her son is 18, for her son’s sake if not her own? Having a child isn’t just about having it, it’s about ensuring  you as a parent can provide all the things necessary for the well being of that child and not just hoping and relying on someone else for it. Not only does  everyone not realise this (these individuals should definitely not do the child thing), but not everyone can. And if they can’t, ( Karl’s mother springs to mind), they have absolutely no business having children.

By: Yinka Ogunsiji

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