There is a contest between two kinds of women for the position of Mainstream Middle Class Ms Condemnable: the single woman who stubbornly remains so, and the childless woman. Both these can be in their respective “conditions” either because of circumstances (assumed to be the default reason unless there is proof otherwise) or out of choice. The latter category is the most intolerable, in its dogged determination to go against the purpose for which humanity was created (Yes! Despite what you and I believe, humanity was not created to beta test Firefox 1.5.1 or Windows 9.0 or whatever crazy version we’re at!)
The voluntarily childless married woman is about as useful as the naked cardboard tube in a toilet paper holder. (This analogy comes less out of my scatological mindset and more out of my opinion that women who have children just because it’s the done thing end up leading lives no better than toilet paper.) Why get married if you don’t want children? Doesn’t your uterus go dhak dhak when you see cute babies all around you? Is that job so important that you cannot give it up?
Do some women who do not want to have children give in just to put an end to those question marks?
Nobody knows why Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt broke up (We won’t be surprised if they themselves don’t know) But Brad Pitt is the media’s “Man who wanted kids but his wife didn’t” and is beaming all over the magazines with his arm around Ms Jolie, who is carrying the world’s most talked about foetus (last heard there was more than one in there). Jennifer Aniston, meanwhile, is the “pathetically sad woman with sidey boyfriend who lost a catch because she refused to have babies”. Obviously, it doesn’t happen only in India.
If it’s “unnatural” to not want to have kids, then is it “natural” to have them, leave them in the care of others, unleash ungrateful uncouth little devils upon the world, buy laptops for three-year-olds, or to get all this going, put your body through chemical hell to get pregnant artificially? What about our daily lives, from waking up on coir foam mattresses to taking sleeping pills to be able to last the night is natural? If you do not want to have children, isn’t following that instinct the most natural thing to do?
Not everyone is meant to be a parent. It requires a sacrifice of the self at all levels of existence. The argument that our sole purpose on the earth is to reproduce our own kind is the most pessimistic kind of truth that there can ever be. If the best reason to have children is to have someone take care of you in your old age, then children have forsaken that “natural” role already.
Choosing not to have kids is not about choosing a career over a family either. Many mothers are more passionate about their work than they are about tending to their kids. If choosing not to have kids is “selfish”, then buying your little one shoes made by a child in a sweatshop is not exactly the height of philanthropy.
A few years ago, I had asked all my friends what they thought about marrying but not having kids. They were all against it. One said there was no point marrying in that case. One said she wanted kids, and that was the reason she would marry. One said he wanted to see his face reflected in another’s before he died (God, let his wife not cheat on him!). Either I made friends with the wrong people, or the world is mostly like that.
If everyone spends half their life becoming an individual and the other half making sure their child does, then who “lives”?
The price of opting out of the system, in terms of admonishment from family and disapproval from the society is huge. But the determination to not give in is much stronger.