The right to choose

Prompt:  Carpe Diem  – the childless woman

This is a repost of a haiga I wrote a while ago. Although I am a mother I believe that all women everywhere should have the right to choose the way of life that is right for them.  Motherhood isn’t for everyone.   I know many successful and happy women who have chosen not to have children. Digital Camera


29 thoughts on “The right to choose

  1. I’ve been reading the comments — so I’ll just say that this is a gorgeous haiga – the image / haiku made me happy. 🙂

  2. Thanks for this post Suzanne. Forest, many governments force women to bear children with policies against abortion and even birth control even in the circumstances of rape. Other governments force women to marry as teens and bear children. Even in more progressive countries women who do not bear children are seen as lacking. If they cannot bear children, people portray them as sad and tragic and always missing what they can’t have. The inspiration haiku had a bit of this flavor–the woman mothering the dolls because she so desperately wanted kids. Those of us who consciously choose not to have kids are often portrayed as misguided, selfish, and if we don’t really care for children (as I don’t) some even act as if we are monsters, when it better serves society for people who do not want kids to not have them. Even for those that LOVE kids, parenthood can be a challenge. It’s best to start the process from a position of strength. In my own case, which I feel is reflective of many, everyone for years has constantly told me I will regret the decision, that my “biological clock” will go off, and I’ll be sorry I missed out (as if I am not capable of knowing my own mind and knowing what is right for me, and nature will set it right with some chemical reaction in my body). I am turning 50 very shortly and am very happy that I have not had kids (and there are lots of kids out there, we don’t need to expand the population as a societal duty). Many feel a woman exists solely to do housework and to be a walking pair of ovaries. Even mothers usually have more goals than this. I will also say that as an adult without kids I am treated as less than people who have children, sometimes even by family. I don’t get heirlooms because I don’t have kids to pass them to–they could go to nieces and nephews after i pass. Parents are often treated as full adults whereas the rest of us are seen as not fully grown up even as we hold down jobs, pursue goals, and pay bills. I could go on, but suffice it to say that many women certainly feel judged for their decision not to have kids.

    1. I have a friend in your situation. She is a psychologist and is treated in the same way as you are because she chose not to marry or have children. If you think or choose outside the box you will always pay a price.
      On the other hand you will be supported by other intelligent women and men who believe in a woman’s rights to choose . Strong women are the biggest threat to misogynists. Most of them are married with children. They are weak people who need controlling power because basically they are uncertain of their manhood
      ( if you get my drift!)

    2. I agree with everything Cathy has said here and admire her strong, clear and intelligent voice. I am very thankful that she has chosen to enter this discussion. It is very true that childless women are still sometimes looked down and even pitied. I hope that the world will continue to develop intellectually and that socitieseverywhere will become open, free places where all can express their true nature regardless of gender, race and class.

  3. My daughter too – she decided very young to be an amazing aunt and god(less)-mother. She becomes very eloquent about the sense of entitlement women feel just because they have children. And she would argue fiercely with the idea that the dog in your haiku was a distraction! For me, I had four children, and it was not a choice, just what one did. No regrets, mind you, except for being an automaton.

    1. Well said Meg. Like you I had four kids. No regrets either but I respect women who defy the established views on motherhood and walk their own path.

      1. I’m surprised to hear that. I’ve worked in countries with great difficultie for women, and would say social expectations are generally absent in that regard – on the contrary, workplace expectations and treatment of women being completely unacceptable.

    1. In what possible way are women fighting for that choice! My goodness, I have 3 daughters, and have other concerns than that. Which authority is forcing women to have children!

      1. I am talking about social expectations and also the fact that abortionisstill illegalin manycountries. I am aware of your antifeminist stance Hamish and have chosen to ignore it up till now. If you want to have an open discussion on the matter – name the time and place.

        1. I was replying to Sue, I think her name was. In Saudi Arabia nearly 70% of university graduates are women. In Somalia young girls don’t get proper education because they work. Often self-employed by the way, and therein lies the problem with feminism, which at once denigrades women, and specifically women from the third world, which are completely ignored by contempary feminism or patronised. The abortion issue is another issue, and in fact is not illegal in ”many countries” at all. If one looks at feminism closely it is too totalitarian – and why are transgender women not accepted as women at all by the movement? I think feminism weakens women. I really liked your last line!

          1. Ok. Lots to think about there. Yes, ok abortion is another issue so we’ll put that one aside.
            Perhaps the argument could be further pulled apart by considering that feminism has occurred in waves.
            1st wave – suffragettes and votes for women – not much to argue with there. Of course women should be able to vote.

            2nd wave – 1960s1970s feminism. Yes there are issues that a lot of the ideas of that time where put forward by white middle class women who assumed that there was some generic notion of women that applied to all women regardless of race, class and cultural background. Still 2nd wave feminism did achieve much in Australia anyway regarding child care and greater wage equality to name just two successes.

            3rd wave feminism – 1990s on. This encompasses emergent ideas that sometimes stray into bizarre areas like female raunch and at other times, explore the problems of 3rd world women. I’m thinking of Iranian artists (I’d have to some research to be able to give you their names) who make very confrontational work that critiques the western notion that wearing the veil disempowers Muslim women.

            Perhaps it is that feminist discourse has its limitations and that more inclusive discourse occurs under the banner of gender studies. Such discourse explores such diverse topics as the position of transgender people.

            I can’t remember what my last line was – I’m in the middle of writing a haibun (or is a rant?) in response to today’s CDHK prompt and came online to check that Basho haibun I quoted in my post – Along the Way – yesterday.

            No doubt our discussion will continue…

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