Welcome to our column about "childfreeness" — by choice or by circumstance. In our desire to speak to women's stories in all of their nuanced and complex nature, we are eager to have Gretchen Jones sharing the experiences of those who have often felt stigmatized and overlooked.
Context matters: In doing research for this column, better understanding the representations of our realities feels important. Representation matters, too, as it lets us better understand our similarities as well as our differences. Childfreeness is a far more dimensional and deeply complex state of being than is typically represented — there’s room for empowerment, empathy, and, sometimes, sympathy. There are a lot of ways of being child-free.
According to a 2019 Gallup poll, less than 15 million women between the ages of 25 to 50 are living child-free — that’s a mere 4.5% of the US population. Of the 15 million, approximately 6.1M (40-ish percent) are child-free not by choice, most often referred to as infertile. Here we’ll refer to this demographic as child-free by circumstance. It came as a surprise that the remainder of these 15M women — only 8.7M, or 58-ish percent — are child-free by choice. Breaking these numbers down with such granularity may seem overly...granular. But I believe it’s imperative to have our facts straight as we dive into such sensitive storytelling and, possibly, debate.
Media representation — news reporting and, more recently, in creative media such as tv, podcasting, and movies — of childfreeness feels dominated by stories of infertility. As a woman who is child-free by choice, in light of this landscape, I presumed the child-free by circumstance population would be far greater. When gathering the data above, I was taken aback. My experience as a consumer of media has been that infertility is much more frequently represented than child-free by choice. Furthermore, I began to question if we as a culture are doing an adequate job of reporting or dramatizing circumstance/fate. Frustration, embarrassment, sorrow, loss, shame, expense/privilege, and isolation are words I know are attached to the experience of infertility. The stories of women living child-free by circumstance/fate are compelling, complicated, and worthy of our time.
Today we are speaking with Los Angeles's Jessica Taft Langdon, child-free by "fate" as she says...
Wanted children, but…(select all that apply)
- Couldn't afford intervention, but wanted to.
- Tried intervention, efforts failed.
- Couldn't afford adoption/fostering/surrogacy.
- Didn't want to adopt/foster/use a surrogate.
What is your story? Break down how you came to be child-free/less.
Growing up I was the oldest child in my family’s social circle, and I adored being the caretaker, babysitter, diaper changer, and playmate of most of the younger kids I knew. Although I didn’t have a huge attachment to the idea of being a mother, I definitely wanted and expected it to be part of my experience as an adult woman. My mother had both me and a successful, full time corporate career, so I knew both were available to me, and that’s what I expected.
I have always had painful periods, from the start, and in high school my doctor mentioned it was possible I may have Endometriosis. Since it was impossible to diagnose without surgery, and I was recently starting to be sexually active, she put me on birth control pills, which was (apparently) the expected thing to do for both a sexually active adolescent and one with a potential for Endometriosis. I do remember asking my mother, in the car on the way home from the doctor’s office, what the repercussions of this disease might be and if I did, in fact, have it? She mentioned that it could be difficult to get pregnant, and reminded me of a family member who had needed fertility treatment to have her three children. This family member had Endometriosis, she mentioned. So, it might make things a little hard for me, but really seemed like nothing to worry about. For most of my adolescence, the pill, and not worrying worked just fine — my periods were a bit less painful, and (with the help of condoms) I stayed both STD and pregnancy free. I had friends, of course, who had different experiences — pregnancy and STD scares and realities, but for me, neither of those difficulties crossed my path.
As I got to my mid 20’s, I started to wonder — I wasn’t always great about taking the pill, and as I started to have more serious romantic relationships, I wasn’t as careful. Still, no scares, no issues. Knowing that my mother had a number of miscarriages, I also started to wonder about how long my own fertility would be viable. I couldn’t put too much concern to the subject, though, as I wasn’t in a relationship or life situation where having a child would be responsible. Yet, it was around this time that I started recalling the potential diagnosis — my periods were still difficult (and are to this day), and it didn’t seem like conception was something that was going to happen easily. I became aware of this sort of physical and emotional sensation that having a child was maybe not going to be within my grasp. People think you’re a bit crazy when you talk about this, at age 25 to 26, but I did have a strange sense about it. Each OB-GYN I saw insisted I did not have the symptoms of Endometriosis, and so I mostly put it out of my head.
By the time I reached my early 30’s, I was actively trying to shut down that voice down that was saying that I couldn’t conceive. By this time, friends and family were starting to have children, each of whom I adored upon meeting. I’d met a man I’d fallen in love with, and for whom marriage and children felt like the right path. Around the time we decided to get married, I’d stopped using any kind of birth control, and we were ready to start the next phase of our lives together as a family. At the same time, of course, my career was growing in ways that I loved, and both my husband and I were involved in our professional, personal and social lives, and weren’t particularly in a hurry. Still, though, nothing.
A couple of years into our marriage, my husband faced a health issue of his own. It was significantly more serious than my fears that I couldn’t conceive, and had been developing over the years that we’d been together. It was important that we face it together, which we did successfully for the year or so of his treatment and recovery. It was around this time that my doctors started mentioning that if we wanted a family, we should start trying in earnest. We did, as well as we could, considering the circumstances. We gave it the year that was suggested, and after that time, we both felt that we were up for giving fertility treatments a shot. By that time, things with my husband’s health had settled down. I had wrestled over these years with the possibility that my long-held fears were coming to fruition. I was pretty certain, by this point, that I wouldn’t conceive without help. And I wanted help. I wanted our now-healthy family to grow. We’d been through a lot together, and we were ready for a family.
We both went through the regular rigamarole at the fertility clinic — being examined from every angle to see what (or whose biology) was to blame for the fact that we hadn’t been able to do this on our own. There weren’t too many suspects, but I did have surgery to remove some cysts that may or may not have been impeding fertility. And then we were ready to start, at the doctor’s suggestion, with Intravaginal Insemination (IVI). We agreed that after a few rounds of IVI, we’d try the one round of IVF that our insurance would cover. We understood that there were different levels of hormones that would go along with each round of IVI, to increase the chances of conception.
Over the course of about four to five months, we did the three rounds. It was hard…. and I think I might have blocked out some of the specific difficulties that I went through. It was stressful, dreadfully unsexy, disruptive to my social, professional and emotional life, and by the third round (which came with the highest level of accompanying hormones), it was the first time in my life that I would approach an understanding of the concept of suicidal ideation. And, of course, none of these three rounds came close to anything resembling conception. My marriage was strong, but stressed. It was hard on us both.
After the last round of IVI, I was a mess. I was reeling from the emotional highs and lows of each time, trying the magical positive thinking that everyone in Los Angeles seemed to swear by, while also being pursued by the dual demons of lifelong doubt and crippling hormonal pessimism. I honestly felt like I didn’t know who I was, or why I was putting myself through this. I told my husband, doctor and family that I needed a break, before we moved onto the likely next step of IVF.
I tried to recover, enjoy myself, engage in the vigorous exercise that I love, and couldn’t engage in, while trying to conceive. I put my energy into my growing my small business, I drank nice wine, because it wouldn’t threaten the potential life that I’d imagined I might be supporting, but honestly knew each time was a fantasy.
My business grew, my marriage thrived, my husband re-committed to his lapsed, but lifelong commitment to music….. and all the while, I was conflicted. I still wanted to be a mother, I still wanted to have a baby, but I couldn’t bring myself back down the dark path that fertility treatments had lead me down. After many months, my husband and I finally decided that we wouldn’t seek additional help. We’d be open and happy for a miracle, but couldn’t find justification for spending countless time, and money on our desire to be parents. I explained to doctors, family and friends that we would take our chances, live our lives, but not insist that the world owed us the experience of parenthood. It was hard, I grieved for a year or more, and we lived our lives. We are happy, thriving, creatively fulfilled, and very well aware of what we don’t have. It’s been about five years since we made the choice that this was not our decision to make, and I think I’m now pretty well comfortable with the idea that I won’t have kids. I love my life without children, with all of the benefits that brings, and also feel grief about the experience that I won’t have, with all of the sadness that brings, but not much regret. In as much as I had choices about my childlessness, I feel like I made the ones that were right for me.
And by the way, I still have no idea if I have Endometriosis, and whether it did or didn’t have any role in this story. So very many things around the issues of fertility and reproduction have taught me to embrace the real mystery of life and its origins, and the question of this potential diagnosis is just a tiny mystery of the many that I’m aware of having lived through, so far.
Was surrogacy/adoption or fostering something you and your husband were open to or is this beyond what you were willing to explore? Did you think about these options, especially when you were younger and your body was sending you signals children may not be in the cards?
I definitely felt, when I was younger, that I would be open to adoption. Surrogacy was definitely not as accepted or common, when I was a kid, so it certainly wasn’t something that was in my realm of thinking. And, if I’m honest, I have definitely heard enough sad and difficult stories around surrogacy that I think really prevented it from entering my internal conversation, throughout my life. Again, if I’m being honest, I think the same is true for fostering. Not having raised children on my own, I still don’t know if I feel like I’m well qualified to care for a child who is already reeling and (in many cases) suffering the consequences of the kind of care that a child needs to thrive. If I’m not sure I can give that, I don’t feel that I can be a good foster parent.
However, all of the above are the feelings and approaches that I had, as a single person. Once we reached the point of having “given up” on fertility treatments, the overwhelming feeling that we had was the idea that we didn’t want to force anything. As I said, we didn’t want to have a baby by any means necessary. At the time, it felt very much like the lesson was to back down, to learn the lesson that just because you want something doesn’t mean it’s the right thing, or going to happen. I suppose my husband and I both believe in fate to some degree. There aren’t any guarantees when it comes to adoption, surrogacy, or fostering, and the idea of spending our lives and living trying for an outcome that could very well never happen, sadly just didn’t seem right.
That’s a long way of saying…. We talked about it very little, and neither of us ever said we wouldn’t be open to the above, if it was what the other wanted, but, having gone through the experience of trying and “failing”, I don’t think either of us was up the possibility of living through it again.
We both experienced circumstances in our youth that differed greatly from those desired outcomes we presumed were ahead of us. I can only speak for myself here, but I most definitely didn’t outwardly speak about my experience with my peers, let alone male friends/romantic partners. I wonder how different my life could have been had I expressed myself more openly and shared my experiences and wonder how such narratives may – or could have – impacted the lives of women/men around us. This is, of course, a tiny mystery in itself. Would you have done things differently? What would you have told your younger self given the circumstances you find yourself in now?
I actually did talk about most of my story, while it was happening, or very soon after. I regularly expressed to friends, partners and family that I felt a strange sense of infertility, but I’m not sure how those folks could have been much more supportive than they were — usually saying, Oh, you don’t know that, and anyway, you’re not ready for motherhood yet. Freezing one’s eggs wasn’t an option then, and I do regret that — I was definitely thinking about these things early enough in life to have considered freezing mine, if it had been financially available to me.
Soon after I stopped (or maybe even soon before I did?), I started to talk about my experiences and feelings with friends — often on Facebook, as the lack of face-to-face dialogue that social media brings, it does help me be more open and clear about my feelings. But, as is often true for me, when I’m going through a transition in life, I can be a little extreme and reactionary, and I do think I put people off with my tone. I’ve turned down the volume (and turned up the empathy a LOT), and am now able to have a little more distance and perspective on what’s working in the dialogue between parents and child-free folks, and what’s not.
I do suppose I would suggest to my younger self to take my intuition more seriously, and question more doctors than I did. Although, looking back, I did pretty much dip my toe into all of those conversations, and really didn’t get much back that was helpful.
Male infertility has been found to be the cause in about 50% of infertility cases, but the social burden falls disproportionately on women. Does this ring true for you?
My experience is that both my husband and I do suffer some social consequences, in very different ways. The topic of fertility and parenthood is much more prevalent in my social circles of women — it’s generally considered an open topic, and I’ve had some hurtful, off-putting and sad conversations with friends about our different experiences. My husband doesn’t have many of these experiences. But his social life has suffered more significantly than mine. He has a significantly smaller social network because he and we don’t socialize much with people our age who have children. I have a strong network of women, some of whom are moms, and some of whom are not, but for him, the divide between parents and non-parents has created a more difficult landscape.
Both of us are lucky, in that our families are very understanding and supportive, and for the most part haven’t put pressure on us. The discrepancies between us and our family members with young children are minimal, and equally shared between us, I would say. (Side note, I’ve seen other figures on this. One I just read had it at about 40% for women, and 30-40% for men.)
Infertility is signaled by the absence of a desired state of being able to conceive. ‘Absence’ seems to be such a loaded word in the child free discussion – by choice and by circumstance. Do you think the social stigma of infertility (and/or child free by choice) is fading?
I do very much think that the social stigma of being child-free (whether by fate or choice) is fading, but even so, or maybe because of the lack of stigma, there are new divides and insider-groups being created. There are still (and new) social constructs that don’t serve the parents, children and non-parents in our communities because of assumptions, fears, outside influences, and stressors. As communities, we’re defining ourselves and each other by whether or not we have children, which denies us some of the ways of relating that might be beneficial, if those constructs were less relevant.
At the same time, and also because of the above, I think the term “absence” is unavoidable in this conversation. In addition to the absence of a relationship with our own children, my husband and I both have experienced the absence of a strong peer group, an absence of relationships with the children within our communities, and the absence of a family legacy of any kind.
Every path in life leaves us with the absence of a different path. Personally, I don’t find the word to be particularly loaded, as long as each of us is honest with ourselves about the absences in our lives. Parent or not, no one is free of them.
You mentioned the absence of family legacy — I’d like to unpack this a bit because of the historical importance of such things. My husband and I have no emotional attachment or feeling of loss/absence in this context. There seems to be an evolution or spectrum arising within the context of lineage/heritage in the world, especially as cultural continues to globalize. Can you articulate further why family legacy holds importance to you? And how the absence of legacy has informed/evolved your childfreeness?
I cannot speak to my husband’s feelings on this, anymore than to say that we do both feel that there’s no roadmap for aging for those that don’t have children, and thus, no legacy. Who will be the executors of our wills? What will happen to our work, output, and professional legacies, when we’re gone? Who will care for us, before we go, if we can’t do it for ourselves/each other? Those are the things that I know we both think about.
For me, specifically, I’m the end of the road for the direct lineage on my father’s/maternal grandmother’s side. I’m an only child, and my paternal grandmother had a sister who didn’t marry or have children. My grandmother had two sons, one of whom did not have children. The other (my father) had only me. And I don’t have any kids. So, that’s that.
I don’t expect any particular pity about the following, and some who read this will probably celebrate it, but I do have a pretty historically notable list of ancestors on my dad’s side, including Roger Williams, the founder of the state of Rhode Island, John Langdon, who ratified the constitution on behalf of New Hampshire, and William Howard Taft, the fattest Republican president. I don’t know why, precisely, it would be significant to keep this particular set of genes in the world, but some of the history will be lost to future generations, as the stories we (actually really do) tell and share won’t be passed down to future generations.
It’s also true that by not having a legacy, we have a completely different view of the future, when it comes to social and political issues. We look at those things through the lens of the future of the human race, more than we do through the lens of the future of specific children, whose futures we have specific hopes for. Again, there’s an argument to be made that this is a good thing (in fact, I think it is one), but good or bad, it’s the outcome of not having a legacy.
Child-free by choice and child-free by circumstance are not the same thing. Why do you think they are lumped together?
Because, although the stigma of being child-free is certainly fading, it has a long legacy. Having children is clearly both one of the most rewarding and challenging parts of the lives of parents. The process by which one becomes a parent is life-altering. It’s true that most of us without children necessarily haven’t had that alteration to our lives, and so, to a degree, we have that in common.
There’s a common wisdom these days that we don’t know what goes on in other people’s marriages, and I think that holds true for the experience of having or not having children. Parents have some commonality of experience in the process of being parents. The same is true for non-parents. But the idea that we can make assumptions about the circumstances, attitudes, philosophies, politics, dreams, wishes, or experiences of a human because we know whether or not they are parents is crazy. It’s not true. We all have things in common, but we are each taking a different path.
Aran Goyoaga on Cultivating Love in the Kitchen + Meringue Cake with Roasted Apples From Cannelle et Vanille Bakes Simple
"Set a humble table and eat beautiful simple food. Nothing has to be fancy. When you make yourself comfortable, your guests will feel comfortable."
Taking the path of parenthood may bring you closer to those you know who are also parents, or it may not. It’s easy for me to generalize about my friends and those in my communities who have kids about what their lives are like. And it’s all too easy for them to make assumptions about me.
One of the differences, of course, is that those of us who are parents feel that they have awareness of the lives that we non-parents are living. Parents feel that they have some expertise about us, that we can’t have about them, since we haven’t had this life altering experience. I certainly don’t feel I’m an expert on the experience of being a mom. But that life altering experience also colors the perspective on the child-free life. In fact, it actually alters the physical brains that parents are using to form these perspectives. Parents often think that the life of their child-free peers is identical to the life they remember before becoming parents. But of course, being child-free is a completely different experience, once most of your peer group have children. It doesn’t bear any resemblance of the life we once lived with our now-parent friends.
It’s true that we can’t know the experience of the other, but the experiences of individuals are so varied, that it doesn’t help us to put each other into groups. None of us are expert in the experiences of others. Which is the great opportunity we have to learn about each other, and have empathy for those who have experiences that we can’t or haven’t.
One thing we haven’t mentioned here is that there are, of course, people who are child-free because of the death of a child. This isn’t an experience that I can speak to with any authority, but I can only imagine the anguish, complexity and difficulty that come with that experience, and the experience of being lumped together with those of us for whom the absence of children is by biological fate or choice.
Are there any differences in assumptions you feel as a woman whose circumstance hindered them from having children from women who have children? As I have become more publicly open about my choice to procreate, I have begun experiencing shaming – including being accused of showing disdain for motherhood and disrespect towards children. Do you receive any of the same backlash, or something entirely different, especially as you’ve opened up and been more expressive publicly?
Yes, I have. Particularly when I my feelings were most raw. I would openly challenge women who talked about (or posted) ideas that so clearly set the role of “mother” above all other social roles.
I am fairly angry at the fact that mothers often say clearly or insinuate that those of us who are not mothers are missing out / will never understand / don’t know what love is / are selfish and within a few breaths of this also will say clearly or insinuate that we are so lucky / have a much nicer life / have more money / have all of our time to ourselves / aren’t stressed. These two things can’t be true of the same cohort of humans, and the reductive and contrary view is dehumanizing. I’ve also made this clear to mothers.
Expressing the above has often been met with disdain, or at best a response akin to, Ok, you just keep believing that, and the mothers of the world will continue to be the most significant members of society.
So, in the above, we experience something similar. I think where we dovetail is in all of the thoughtless and sometimes hurtful comments that people (of all stripes, not just mothers) make about me, with the assumption that I’m childfree by choice. I’ve often been roped into a “side” of an argument by those women who are childfree by choice, and asked to exhibit disdain for motherhood. I’ve been “congratulated” for my status, and been asked to play a social role in representing the choice not to have children. Not only can I not do these things for the ethical reason that I’d be completely misrepresenting myself, but when these assumptions are made, it’s a complete denial of who I actually am, and the experiences, challenges, and sorrow that I’ve had.
Generally, I feel that women who are child-free by choice have a stronger voice, at the moment, although their voice is frequently derided. Women who are childfree by circumstances don’t have much of a voice — we’re seen either as being lumped in with the “by choice” cohort, or we’re seen as a potential mom. This is really a thing — I just turned 44 years old, and when I tell people that I don’t have kids, there are pretty much only two assumptions — that I don’t want them, or that I’m not done trying to have them. Frankly, both are hurtful and difficult to address. “By circumstance" women are a quieter group, as we don’t have an experience that works well in a political arena. Nobody’s mother fought for my right to by child-free by circumstance, and plenty of people’s moms fought for the rights of their daughters to choose not to give birth. The stories of “by circumstance” women don’t support the pro-choice movement, and don’t support the pro-life narrative. So, we’re a pretty quiet group. But, there are plenty of us, and we matter.
Where do you think this sort of reaction and response is coming from?
I think the political aspect, above, plays a significant role, but I also think that sorrow and loss are things our society doesn’t like to address, generally speaking. There’s no way to talk about being child-free by circumstance without addressing these two “third rail” issues.
What, if anything, do you need from women who are mothers?
Empathy and a curiosity about the life I lead, as a peer, an equal.
Dialogue, about the ways in which we differ, and the ways in which we are the same. I would particularly love a conversation about what we’ve given up, and what we’ve gained from the paths our lives have taken with or without children. Often, I get a conflicting narrative from moms - that they believe we non-moms are so lucky to have our entire lives to ourselves, but that we are also impoverished by the absence of “the most important job in the world”. It’s hard to accept that dichotomy, but I am aware that both can be true. I’d like to know more about the iterations of these dichotomies, the struggle to find the balance, on both sides of the parenthood divide.
As I’ve mentioned, above, we’ve all made choices and decision to take one path, and not another. Naturally, this can lead to regret, and sometimes regret can lead to envy. This happens on both sides of the parenthood divide, but it’s quite confusing to be generalized as experiencing outsized privilege at the same time as being marginalized. That dual stereotype can make it harder to engage, since it puts us in a place to have to apologize for the fact that we’re less-than.
Last but certainly not least, as a non-mom who didn’t choose this status, what I most need from moms is a willingness to let me have a relationship with your kids, even though I don’t have my own to offer into the deal. I can’t offer play dates, with the accompanying break they provide from solo mom time. I can’t offer ways in which to socialize your kids with your peers, and theirs…. But I think I might have some things to offer your kids, on my own, just by myself, as an adult who has been a kid, who loves kids, and who wants to see the children in my community thrive. Believe it or not, I do know pretty well how to care for children, I am interested in the current information on child care and (particularly emotional) health. I promise that I won’t screw up your kid, too much (just enough).
I know that all three of these things that I want from moms are hard to give. I know moms are being pulled in a million directions. Maybe we non-moms can help? Maybe more than moms think? Maybe in ways moms hadn’t considered, because they’re being pulled in a million directions? (PS — I want all of the above from dads, too!)
What, if anything, do you need/want from women who are child free by choice?
Empathy, and a curiosity about the life I lead, as a peer, an equal.
Dialogue, about the ways in which we differ, and the ways in which we are the same.
What, if anything, can/would you like to offer women who are child-free by choice?
I think what we can offer is the middle of the spectrum, in terms of the experiences of being adult women - we can definitely empathize and see the perspectives of moms, or hoping-to-be-moms. We went halfway down the road, with them. We started the race they’re running, but never finished. So, maybe we can help with some ways to enter a more empathetic perspective?
Any ‘by circumstance’ questions/issues you’d like to address that we haven’t covered?
One of the things that I really wrestled with, and continue to have internal conflict about is how much sympathy or empathy I should really expect regarding my situation, given the fact that I did (and frankly still do) want to be a mother, but also made the choice to stop treatment. It’s very rarely mentioned, but it does occasionally come up in conversation that we could have done more, which is certainly true. It wasn’t the right choice for us, but I often wonder if those who I am open don’t wonder how much I truly wanted to have a child, given the fact that I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my physical or mental health, or bankrupt my family, or threaten the very marriage into which I wanted to bring a child. Clearly I didn’t want a child enough to make those sacrifices, but I can’t help feeling that some view my outcome as appropriate, given my level of commitment to the task.
This leads into a tangential topic. After going through the experiences I did, wrestling with the issue of my fertility, I became very uncomfortable about much of the language that we use around the subject.
I actually have a bit of an issue with the term “infertility”, and some of the ways we think about the term. There’s no specific evidence that I am infertile, yet I haven’t been able to conceive naturally, or with the treatments that I was able to afford, and physically tolerate. Does that make me infertile? Lazy? Broke? Not committed or selfless enough to be a mother?
Even more of concern to me, though, is the question about the level of control and choice that women actually hold, in these scenarios. The language that women often use doesn’t reflect my experience, and I’m afraid that we’re setting up young women for unreasonable expectations, when we present them with the vast range of technological options that may be available to them, should they not find themselves naturally pregnant at a time in life that works for them.
I often talk to younger women about the subject, and am thrown off guard when they tell me about their “plans” for starting a family. I often hear an approach that is shot through with so much certainty about the fact that they’ll be able to conceive and carry a child that it’s clear they’re not aware of the elements that may be out of their control. Assuming that they will have physical, legal, and financial access to the fertility options available, I am pretty good living evidence that we, as humans, are not the ones who decide how and when new life is brought into the world. What I’ve learned through my journey is that the process is fundamentally mysterious, and isn’t one that human reason or planning can conquer.
“Women without children will never know what ‘love’ really is.” Discuss
We can never know what’s in the hearts of others. We can never know the depth of love that a heart can experience. I don’t know a human that can fully define what love “really” is, and I don’t believe that information is knowable.
I know what it is to love deeply and selflessly. I know what it is to love a child. I don’t know what it is to love, as a mother. A father doesn’t have that knowledge either, nor does a priest, a nun or a monk. I don’t presume to know another’s heart, and I don’t prefer to have assumptions made about my own.
Why would anyone want this to be true for someone else? Why would less than half the world’s population be the only ones chosen to know what love really is?
“Having it all must include children.” Pro or con on this ideology?
I don’t think it’s possible to “have it all”. When we make a choice, we are always leaving other options behind.
“All women without children are selfish.” True or false?
I’m going to go back to that reference to nuns. Mother Teresa was selfish for not having children? Ridiculous.
“All women without children live stress free lives.” Pro or con on this ideology?
I’ve never encountered a human with a stress-free life.
“All women are mothers.” Pro or con on this ideology?
If I read this with the idea that it’s meant that all women have the ability to create, then I think it’s a wonderful statement - all women are mothers of art, all women are mothers of wisdom, of complexity, of hope, of humor or happiness. Yes, definitely!
Of children? This has never been true, within the scope of human history.
“All women without children want to be an ‘Auntie.’" Discuss.
I’m freaking out about all the statements that include the word “all”.
All women breathe. The end. Beyond that, I shouldn’t have to ask that all women be free to have any qualities, perspectives, approaches, or experiences that make them who they are.