Monday, June 27, 2016

On not having any maternal juices


At what point does one stop politely answering questions about when one is coming? What is the point where it is alright to snap and tell people to really shut the hell up and mind their own uteruses? Of course it is not enough to simply say that I do not want to be a parent. I must, must, must give patient explanations to all those who ask – stranger in a lift, lady threading my eyebrows, cousin’s neighbour’s brother-in-law. Pretty much everyone. And it is not appropriate to bite someone’s head off because these people are just asking for the first time no? They only mean well. But why is curiosity about what goes on in my uterus of any concern to anybody? Why is it well meaning when someone wants to opine about one of the most important decisions of my life? I read somewhere that it is hardly about concern. If I had piles would people really care to enquire about the status of my shit on an everyday basis?

It is also not enough to take deep breaths and give your explanation calmly and ‘rationally’. There is always a counter argument.

“You are being selfish”
Whaaa? This I really cannot understand. How is selfishness related to the choice of being a parent?

“They bring so much joy”
I am sure they do. For you. But I am a different person remember?

“What is going to give your life purpose?”
Are you seriously saying that this little human is going to have the massive responsibility of giving the elusive ‘purpose’ to my life? Do you even realize how dangerous the statement sounds?

“Babies reduce the risk of breast cancer”
Umm. Ok then.

“You are a child hater”
I am not one actually. I like some children, in the same way as I like some adults. But keep pressurizing me like this and maybe I will become a child hater.

“Every woman wants to be a mother”
Nope. No. Nahi. I was conditioned into thinking for most of my life that I had maternal instincts. It was actually during a field work placement with children where I realized that I seriously have none. And it was feminism which made me realize that it is okay to feel that way.

“Who will take care of you when you are old?”
This is a question I have given a little thought to. The idea of dying alone is a little scary. But then, there is really no assurance that your child is going to take care of you. My child could hate me and want nothing to do with me. Just google elder abuse.

“You may regret it later”
I might. I really might. But it is a better regret to have than a regret about actually having children. It may come as a shock to you, but there are many parents who wish they did not have children. So if I do regret not having children ten, twenty, thirty years from now, I will have to suck it up and deal with it. It seems really, really stupid to have a baby now just so that I avoid regret later.

This debate always becomes polarizing and divisive. Between parents and non-parents. And it really does not have to be that way. Just look at the language we employ – childfree and childless. The former makes children seem like hair lice. The latter makes the women seem like she is stuck alone in a lonely tower. My decision to not have a child, is NOT a judgment on your decision to have one. We can both co-exist.

TL;DR: I don’t want children. Don’t try to convince me otherwise.

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