10 Things Not to Say to Women Who Don't Want Children
In today's generation, more women are opting to not have any children. According to information gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the National Center for Health Statistics, the number of pregnancies in the United States for thirty-year-old women and younger has been dwindling since 1990 (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db136.htm).
What is the reasoning behind this resolution for such a large amount of women lately? Perhaps it is because more women today have the opportunity to engage in and maintain successful careers than ever before and they realize they cannot juggle both their job and children. Maybe it has something to do with the economy, causing an alarming amount of people in our country to struggle financially and therefore cannot afford to start a family. But regardless of what the personalized reasoning is why a woman in today's age is choosing not to have a child, there is something that all of these women have in common: the choice is theirs and they do not want to hear your opinion about it.
The next time you are engaging in a conversation with a woman about her lack of children, do yourself a favor and refrain from using these ten comments.
1. You Will Change Your Mind.
Perhaps the most insolent sentence you could ever say to a woman about her personal decision to be childfree, these five words are brutal. They can belittle and upset even the strongest women among us. This statement tells her that you do not take her thoughts and feelings seriously. And when you declare these words with confidence while also sporting your best know-it-all face, It also says that you're assuming you know her better than she knows herself. How wrong you are. Most likely, she didn't wake up one morning and decide to never have children. This is usually a premeditated choice that took a long time to reach because women do recognize how life-changing it is. Although each woman absolutely reserves the right to change her mind at any time, do not assume that she will.
2. You're Not A Real Woman Until You Have Kids.
Actually, a girl becomes a "real woman" when the anatomy of a female human matures into adulthood. Yes, biologically a woman can produce children, but she also doesn't have to. Better yet, she is given so many eggs in each ovary, that she literally has decades to figure out if she wants to.
It may have been true that, before you had your children, you felt immature and childish, even though you were technically an adult. Maybe it really was your children that made you grow up and become the person you are today. That's fine, and is something that happens to a lot of people, but that is not the case for everyone. Not every woman needs to produce offspring to feel accomplished in her life. Some focus on their career or hobbies. Some travel. The point is that not everyone needs to create miniature versions of themselves to feel like a grown-up.
3. What If Your Spouse/Partner Wants Kids?
This one is hard for many people to grasp. Surprisingly, with how far women have come along in society, a vast majority still choose to believe a man has a say in her pregnancy decisions. This is not so. Even though both the man and woman will be the parents, it is still the woman's body being affected. It is solely up to her about whether she wants to host a child or not, regardless of whether her partner is ready and whether they are married. If he disagrees strongly enough, he has the option to leave.
Strong, independent women of today are able to apprehend this concept and often will look to family and friends for support, not judgement. If you find yourself in this situation, it is best to reassure her that she does not have to alter herself, her choices, or her body in any way because of a man. Ever.
4. You'll Regret It Someday.
Telling a woman she will regret her choice to not reproduce is along the same lines of telling her that she will change her mind. It gives the abhorrent impression that you do not value her ability to make decisions for herself as an adult in the present and that you believe you know everything there is to know about her, her body, and her life. Unless you are legitimately capable of seeing the future, and know for a fact that somewhere down the road she will be a sad old lady living in a house loaded with cats, you are not in the position to judge. You might have regretted it if you didn't have your children because perhaps that truly is your life's calling. But it's not hers.
5. I Have Kids. I Love It!
Okay, we get it. You have kids and they are your life. They take up all your time and energy, and you wouldn't have it any other way! That's fantastic, for you. However, if a friend confides in you about her set-in-stone decision to not procreate, accept it. Swallow your pride and realize that your lifestyle is not hers. If she has to hang out with your kids in exchange for being with you, has to see nothing but photos of them on your social media page, and cannot have a phone conversation with you without it ending abruptly because one of your kids is having a tantrum, then you could be more lenient. Be patient like she is. Get your hands out of the toy box for a second and really listen to her. Support her.
6. I Was Expecting Grandchildren.
Having little bundles of joy to spoil and then send home can be fun, but those bundles must exist in the first place. If your daughter or daughter-in-law has opted not to have her own children, there's really nothing you can do about it. Staying bitter about it is not the answer and accomplishes nothing. Rather, it creates unnecessary drama in the family. Although it is easy to think that you did you part, now it's time for her to continue the family tree, just remember: she does not owe you grandchildren.
Instead, be happy that you either raised an independent woman who is capable of making these choices for herself, or that your son is partnered with a woman who has these values. Going about your golden years upset over the lack of grandchildren is a waste of time.
7. Hurry Up. You're Getting Older.
Of course it's no secret that, eventually, a woman's body will cease to produce children. Also, as women age, the risk of all sorts of pregnancy complications increase drastically. Because of these reasons, other people make middle-aged women who have yet to bear a child feel rushed to hurry up and do so. Why?
The simple fact of a woman getting older is not enough to make her go back on her decision about being childfree. She has gone this long without kids, why rock the boat? And this comment is rude because while you are reminding her that you don't approve of her not having kids, you are simultaneously making her feel old.
8. You Must Have So Much Free Time.
Yes, because not having children automatically means a woman has nothing else to occupy her time. From your perspective, she may have "free time" because the time that she does have is not consumed by screaming children, toys, diapers, and formula. You may even notice that she actually has time to focus on hobbies on the weekend or watch television undisturbed. That doesn't mean this is what she does all day, every day, and it is very unfair to judge her childfree time. In reality, you are actually slightly jealous.
Keep in mind that you chose your lifestyle. You chose to have children and you knew how self-sacrificing it would be. Do not take it out on your sister, friend, or other relative who does not have children.
9. You're Being Selfish.
People typically assume that women decide to be childfree because they would rather have all of their time, money, energy, and everything else they own to themselves. Hence, being selfish. However, if you change your perspective about this argument, you will see it's actually the opposite for most. If a woman truly knows she is just not motherly and cannot properly handle and care for a child, then by deciding not to have one, she is actually selflessly sparing the life of another person. She should be praised, not condemned.
And even if she did want to choose to spend her time on other things besides raising children, so what? Again, haven't women come far enough in this world today that society could stop assuming they all have to be nothing but homemakers and put everyone else in this world before themselves, even a child that does not exist?
10. Your Body Is Built For This.
Actually, a woman's body has reproductive organs that are built for the possibility of this. But, while her body is capable of allowing the growth of a human or two, or even five or six, inside of it, that doesn't mean this absolutely has to happen.
If the sole purpose of the female body was, in fact, for having children, then wouldn't you think it would be able to do so on its own without the help of a man? Seriously think about this concept. If women were only "built for this", then shouldn't they all be popping kids out like there's no tomorrow?
Please do not tell your childfree friend that she should be having children simply because that is what she is physically made for. That is incredibly wrong and sexist. It also makes her feel like you do not value her as a person, but rather a baby machine!