Monday, 28 August 2017

Support Other Women And Their Choices


Being 21 years old is an odd time. Half of the people you know are just graduating and have big plans to travel the world or are starting internships in some swanky London office. The other half are coupled up and already have a kid or two. I always associated myself with the first group of people. I have to admit, I was one of those women who would say they never want to have kids and that things like having a career and travel are far more important. Looking back, it is kind of sad how I felt, as a woman, I had to choose between a career and family life. Like it is impossible to have both and that motherhood would hold me back. But what is worse is how I felt that I had a right to criticise how other women chose to spend their lives. Fired up on the problematic line of thought that motherhood is giving in to the expectations of the patriarchy, I began to see everything from running a home to raising a child as being somehow less valuable use of time than having a high-flying career. I would tell people that I never wanted to have kids but what I really meant was that I didn't want to close myself off to opportunities. I didn't want to miss out on living my life. Then I got pregnant and I had to re-evaluate everything. But I came to realise that motherhood isn't a death sentence for your career. It doesn't mean that you will never make it to your dream travel destinations. I opened my eyes and I saw countless mothers who were hugely successful in their careers and had a passport full of stamps. Granted, it is not easy having a child and a career but the fact that it is possible makes me feel optimistic.

After realising how problematic my internal criticism of motherhood was, it made me more aware of just how much women who want children are pitted against those who don't. Women who don't want children are characterised as being stern child haters or whimsical nomads not fulfilling their reproductive duty. Women who do want children are characterised as simpering 50s housewives who have fallen victim to a patriarchal system that prevents them from excelling. Needless to say, neither of these characterisations are true. We need to stop judging women on what they choose to do with their bodies. A woman has the right to make their own choices over their reproductive system. This is what makes me so angry when I see comments on Twitter about the amount of bloggers who have fallen pregnant lately. It is buying into this divide that has been put in place to shame women on either side. Yes, you may not be ready to have children yourself but you should celebrate alongside these women. As women, we need to learn to build each other up rather than distance ourselves just because our reproductive decisions don't match someone else's.

Feminism has brought us a long way and I am thankful that, in the UK, women have reproductive rights but there is still a great deal of pressure placed on women in terms of their reproductive decisions. So, instead of judging each other and distancing ourselves from each other based on our decisions, we need to support other women. We need to bridge this divide rather than reinforcing it. We need to support and fight for women who don't have the same reproductive freedoms that we have. We need to protect these rights that we have in this country and fight for things to continue progressing rather than allowing our individual opinions on motherhood stop us from fighting for fairness and justice. Women without children, support the mothers you know and stand with them in battles against discrimination in the workplace. Mothers, stand with women without children in fights against social pressure to have children. Together we can make a difference rather than allowing our small differences to divide us.
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6 comments

  1. I love how you write and I agree with you that having a child does not stop one's career in fact i think a person matures more and you tend to enjoy life more.

    New post alert
    www.glamourzone.org

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    1. I'm looking forward to having the responsibility of a child. I think you're right that it matures a person

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  2. Such an important post. I'm a bit older, 29 but still feel very much the same in terms of the two groups of people. I have had a career for the past 10 years and loved it, but feel almost sheepish when people ask when I'll be going back to work (I won't be, for a few years, not in terms of a full-time career anyway). It's horrible that there's so much expectation piled on women either way, it feels as though there's judgement whatever we do.

    https://amyevans.co.uk - Amy

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    1. I know what you mean! I only just graduated and people are acting like I've thrown away 3 years of hard work getting pregnant straight after finishing uni. But the same people also ask when you're having kids so you can't win!

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  3. I agree! It's annoying to see people putting women down for their life choices. Live and let live. :)

    Chichi
    chichiwrites.com

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    1. Exactly! Just because your life choices might not be the same as their's, doesn't make them any less valid

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