She's a character, she has opinions.

Not Your Baby Momma

with 2 comments

There comes a time in every woman’s life when someone asks her the question. It might be her mother-in-law, her high school friend, her husband’s friend’s wife, or her doctor. It might even be that co-worker she passes every third Tuesday at the coffee stand and has only nodded hello to on those days when she’s been feeling particularly wide-awake and cheerful. It could be anyone, because everyone thinks this is the next “normal” step: “So, when are you going to have a baby?”

Oh, it continues from there. “How many do you want? Do you want a boy or a girl? Better start now before you get too old. Your biological clock must be ticking.” Baby, baby, baby, it starts when you get engaged and it never stops.

Baby is the default. It comes right after that perception of sexual availability Samantha was talking about yesterday, and it’s the second phase of woman’s identity. We’re brood mares, ladies, and we’re supposed to like it.

Now, don’t get me wrong. If you want children, more power to you. You’ve made your own decision to have them and raise them and that’s great. It’s also great that it was your decision. What gets me about the never-ending questions is that it’s never considered that a woman might not want to have children.

Let’s break this down, okay?

What if the woman you’re asking can’t have children? This is a whole other can of worms, but it’s something to consider before you ask the baby question. What if she’s just gained some weight and that bump you’ve been watching and patting is the 15 lbs. she’s doing sit-ups every morning to get rid of? Rudeness and hurt feelings aside, what about those women who just plain do not want to have children?

That’s another thing that isn’t fathomable in the patriarchal framework, to quote my partner-in-blog. Women are to have babies. Women are to be mothers. That’s who and what we are. But what if it isn’t? Can you imagine a woman who has made a choice to be childfree? Can you imagine that without thinking of it as an absence of something or a wrongness? Can you do all that without telling her that it’s just a phase and without warning her that she’d better have her babies soon because she’s getting too old?

Some women don’t want to have children. Period. That doesn’t mean we don’t like them, it doesn’t mean we aren’t fantastic aunts, and it doesn’t mean we don’t mother the people in our lives. We aren’t too old, we aren’t incapable, we just don’t want to have babies. We’re childfree by choice and it doesn’t make us any less of a woman.

(This post is exactly as autobiographical as you think it is.)

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Written by tldegray

September 10, 2008 at 11:55 pm

2 Responses

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  1. I like it! Google Alerts sent me a link to your childfree blog this morning, and it is basically what my book is about. I am a 40-something childfree in Calif. who is writing a book called “Kidfree & Lovin’ It.” I have an online survey that over 2,400 CFs around the world have taken, and would love you (and your childfree/less readers) to take it too!

    Just click on this link to take you there, and you can remain anonymous if you like:

    And, if you are single, here is the new Childfree Dating Survey:

    Thanks, and enjoy!


    September 11, 2008 at 6:48 pm

  2. Hi Tamara,

    Thanks for being blunt. The questions about when you’re getting pregnant, not if, can get annoying. People who have made a decision especially, assume that you’ll make the same one. Worse – that you’ve already made it. It’s not always the case and there are good reasons for both choices.

    This decision is so important to us, as women, to make that I think we should be more supportive of each other. Regardless of what we decide. Instead the topic becomes taboo, I find myself whispering at parties with other women who are on the fence.

    A quick plug for a series of phone calls that I’m hosting for women deciding if they want to be mothers. It was formed for the reason I discussed, that we need to support one another as we each make a decision we can feel confident about.

    I know you’ve made your choice, but if you know anyone still deciding, I hope you’ll pass this along! Info:


    September 12, 2008 at 11:05 pm

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