We have all experienced it. Celebrations around children and their lives are everywhere.
Not only are there traditional baby showers but now they have gender reveal parties, naming parties and special decor and furniture for baby rooms. Many kids have three parties in their honour before they are a year old.
Surely that’s overkill?
Families are so geared towards parenting and continuing the tradition generation after generation that for many, success and prosperity is bound to the notion of parenthood. Everything else is not important! Society says that if you have children then you are successful.
I am going to challenge that notion and defy the status quo. Why does a woman’s life only have value if they are having babies?
I am the eldest child of two. I am child-free by choice and my sister has three children. We are totally opposite in every single way – personality, looks, character traits, personal dreams, you name. The only thing we have in common is our parents.
My parents have always accepted my life choice, and my decision to remain child-free. They have told me that they only want me to be happy and have never pressured me to have children – ever! But I still feel the sting from the lack of celebration of my success.
None of my big milestones have really ever been celebrated:
- Promotions in my career
- Travelling the world
- Starting a business
- Writing a book
- TV and media appearances.
I have received the “that’s great, we’re proud of you” speech but that’s about as far as it goes. I wonder if they skite to their friends about these achievements and about their clever daughter. I doubt it! And, there have certainly been no formal celebrations to acknowledge them.
But the same cannot be said when my sister fell pregnant with baby one, two and three, or any time one of my nieces or nephews gets an award, wins at soccer, starts high school, the list goes on. These events are shouted from the rooftop and shared with the world. “My clever grandkids,” they say. What’s the difference?
Well, my sister has done what is expected by her parents and society. Society says that the best thing you can do and the only role a woman has is to be a mother. What else is there?
On the other hand, I have rebelled and lifted a big middle finger to the notion of motherhood.
Our world has conditioned us to believe success is inherently linked to having babies. Am I just being too sensitive or do I have a valid reason to be upset?
I think this notion of putting motherhood on a pedestal is outdated and does nothing to help the women’s movement or civil rights.
My book took nine months from idea to launch (ironic much?) so why isn’t that celebrated like a child is? It took nine months of hard work, tears, self doubt and triumph (just like having a baby). What’s the difference? The difference is what society dictates and what is so ingrained that people no longer even notice that it’s happening
It’s time for change and you can be part of that change.
If you’re a child-free woman and have achieved something that is important to you, shout it out, ask your family and friends to celebrate it with you, explain why it is just as important as having a child.
Through dialogue and conversations, we can help people to see another perspective and another pathway, and that success is not solely defined by motherhood.
This article was originally published by A Childfree Happily Ever After.