women

Have I had moments of oscillation? Of course. Like the warm feelings you conjure up for a loser ex-boyfriend after a drinking spell. Yes, I’ve had moments of wondering what it would have been like and, in a few instances, even toyed with the idea. Thankfully, that feeling passed. Like the sobering effects of a greasy breakfast after a glass too many, sanity returned and my life-long resolve clicks back into place. So with a mind made up, I enter relationships with the no-breed clause as an opener. When others say their names, I state my no-breeder status.  I place this on the table first so that if the ‘intended’ accepts and respects this, the next phase can unfold.

Description: Have I had moments of oscillation? Of course. Like the warm feelings you conjure up for a loser ex-boyfriend after a drinking spell

Have I had moments of oscillation? Of course. Like the warm feelings you conjure up for a loser ex-boyfriend after a drinking spell

Has the decision caused much debate in personal relationships? Of course it has. Men have tried to act accepting of my ‘un-African’ and ‘unwomanly’ outlook, but patriarchy, male pride and indoctrination of social conformity would still rear their heads every so often – with comments such as ‘what’s the point of marrying if not to breed’, ‘not breeding is super-selfish’ escaping their lips…eventually.

How could I as a black woman (stereotyped to breed like rabbits in some unkind quarters) escape the wrath of this decision? Some males were adamant it was a passing phase and they would be the ones to ‘cure’ me of this stupidity; others were only too happy knowing I would not have the sheriff serve maintenance orders on them at work for unpaid child alimony; others were in synch and others, well, let’s just say the subject never came up.

I must admit that my call has not made it easy for people I hold dear. Although they’ve come o respect this decision even without fully understanding it, they tend to feel the need to explain it to others. It does not matter how often I tell them, they have no reason to justify my choice. I hear them mumbling a myriad explanation at family gatherings: ‘Oh, you know her, she’s too busy at work’, ‘She’s raised so many children in the family I am sure they feel like her own’. I pretend not to hear or acknowledge their ‘account of events’, to prevent opening myself up to explaining yet again. So now, I let them explain and silently bless them for loving me enough to wish to present ‘mitigating factors’.

In the beginning I would talk until I was blue in the face trying to defend my position with men and women alike. Oh, the women were and still are the harshest judges. But I have an awesome therapist to thank who asked me in a calm voice, ‘Why do you feel the need to justify your choice?’ After that, I stopped justifying and defending. In fact I do not volunteer this position unless necessary and when pressed for information by nosey women at dinner parties I just say ‘I am a social parent’ or, my new favorite, ‘As a mother, what’s your view on over-population?’

Description: I wish to reveal the complexity that a child-free choice places on women like me

I wish to reveal the complexity that a child-free choice places on women like me

So I write this piece in part because I wish to reveal the complexity that a child-free choice places on women like me, how the sense of ‘exclusion’ turns a personal choice into a ‘dysfunction’, and relationships strain under its weight. I object strongly to the skewed nature of female and male socialization, the burden of the she-gender’s performative requirements and, most importantly, the flawed notion that, without child, females cannot be women and remain forever lacking and incomplete.

There are other ways of loving, other ways of creating, other ways of mothering and other ways of being a positive impact in this life. The decision to breed or not sits at the core of every female’s fundamental right to choose, not only who she becomes, but what happens to her body and what life she creates for herself. Just like the ability to make children does not make every women a mother.

Description: that all females without children are barren and cold

all females without children are barren and cold

I am currently in development of a film to debunk he stereotype that all females without children are barren and cold, amongst other things. Instead, it will show that understanding oneself, accepting one’s emotional limitations or preferences and being true to oneself are far nobler acts than marching in step with society’s expectations and pressures, only to repeat painful cycles of un-mothered or neglected children.

Is it possible that by socializing our girls to believe hat ‘woman’ equals ‘mother’, and our boys to expect their partners to demonstrate their womanhood through motherhood, that we are in essence showing them only one color of the rainbow?

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