Saturday, June 14, 2014

Raechal White, Guest Writer


 Don't Have, Don't Want

by Raechal White


As a twenty-something woman, I'm expected to settle down and have kids. But I don't want children. I'm completely certain about this. A small child once attempted to talk to me in a café and I'm almost sure I felt my ovaries shrivel slightly. I would have this sentiment etched in stone and tattooed across my body, if I could afford to do so. I really have no innate need to bring babies into this world. Now, before you begin to wave the torches and pitchforks, please listen. Let me make one thing clear however, I am not ever apologizing, (unless sarcastically) for not wanting children.
Believe it or not, this is the twenty first century. I'm a woman, and I can vote, drive a car and even, to my shock, I am allowed to study at universities and have a career. But, I do not want to have children. Not now, not ever. I can't even care for a houseplant. When I tell people the sound of a screaming child makes me want to curl up into a fetal position and cry, they usually respond with a long, drawn out 'Oh.' What they don’t say is 'But normal women want kids! What kind of monster are you?' That is, however, what a lot of them are thinking.
So, why, in this day and age, do people act like I've just announced I'm running away to join a nudist colony when I tell them I don't want kids? (I might have better luck with that idea, actually.)
A friend's mother recently asked me when I was going to start having children. By that point, I was so tired of the question I asked her when she was going to start minding her own business. (I wasn't allowed back for a month.)
But it's not just friend's parents who ask this. I have old women come up to me in my job and tell me I should think about having little ones. Relatives who I haven't seen for years tell me I need to think about marriage and children. Here's a hint- I'm not doing either.
Why do my reproductive choices incite a riot at my family gatherings? Is it because some people think I'm selfish? How am I being selfish? I wasn't aware that deciding what to do with my uterus and my life, or not caring about non-existent children made me a bad person. (Quote: 'But there are loads of couples out there who can't have kids.) I don’t see how having children myself makes that any better for infertile couples.

'What about your mother?'

What about her? This is an argument people love to use 'But your mother had you!' Well, thank you for the brief biology lesson, but I never asked her to, and I wouldn't dream of telling my mother what to do with her reproductive bits. Don't get my wrong, I'm grateful to my parents, they've devoted twenty years of their life to raising me, after all, but I'm not about to give twenty plus years of mine away.

'So, you don't like people?'

I'm also asked if I hate people. The answer to that is not all of them. You, with your inane questions and superiority complex, I dislike. Obviously, my efforts at not increasing the population, my advocacy for adoption stance means I am a bitter and twisted shell of cynicism and despair.

'But what are you going to do with your life?
We were put on this Earth for a reason.'

Firstly, the 'put' on Earth argument has no power over me, as I am not religious. Secondly, I want to do many things with my life- I want to travel, I want to write, I want to move into an old manor house and learn to bake cakes. If spawning was the reason I was put on this Earth, obviously something went  wrong.

'Something must be wrong with you. You're selfish.'

 Perhaps something is wrong with you. Oh, you're perfectly healthy. Believe it or not, so am I. Another, similar phrase is 'You're not really a woman.' Excuse me? I'm not really a woman? I assure you am. Look, my birth certificate says so, and my womb reminds me of that fact every month. Now, I'm wondering what kind of person you are, and what kind of parent you are. Yes, I'm judging you, just as you judge me.

' You'll change your mind one day.'
No, I can assure you I won't, and telling me this just makes that determination to die a crazy old cat lady even more solid. Are you going to change your mind about having kids one day? Maybe when they turn out to be ill-adjusted, drug fuelled brats? (I'm not wishing this on anyone, mark you, I'm just giving it as a possibility.) This phrase implies you know me better than I know myself. Are you psychic? Can you tell me the winning lottery numbers? Or where Great Aunt Agatha hid her fortune? No? Shut up then. I'd rather regret not having kids then regret the ones I had.
The truth is, the statement 'I don't want to' should be enough. Raising children I don't want is not going to end happily for anyone. Besides, I like having a clean house, I like having a lie-in, and I like being able to wear clothes that are not covered in urine, feces, vomit or crayon.
Here's a slightly feminist twist: Women do not need to be mothers to have worth. Women are valuable members of society, whether parents or not. There should be no need to tell a woman 'But you'll die alone and unfulfilled.' That would make even the most saintly woman a bit violent. Or the other, dreaded phrase: 'It's your womanly duty!' So, please, leave my uterus alone, and get off my ovaries.
Maybe I'll see if I can finally take care of that houseplant!

Bio …
From Truro, United Kingdom, Raechal White enjoys writing. Ever since she was little she wanted to write, change the world, and help people to think outside of the box.  An avid reader, writer, adventuress, animal activist, human rights activist, and more, Raechal makes the world a better place one day at a time.

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