BEING CHILDLESS IS NOT ALWAYS A CHOICE

Juliet Owitti
Posted February 21, 2016 from Kenya

Living in the 21st century as a woman approaching your 40's, without the haunting reminder that you're not doing what the society expects of you is close to impossible; pairing up and procreating.

“You are not getting any younger so what are you waiting for?"

“Don’t you want to feel the joy of motherhood?"

“Don’t you feel less of a woman?"

"... You must be married to your career that is why you’re not starting up a family."

“Why are you rushing home yet you have no husband and children to take care of?"

“You obviously have more money to spend since you don’t have parental responsibilities."

Yes, the society is very quick to judge unmarried and childless 'aging' women which is very sad. Question is, is there something wrong with such women? Are they normal?

Janet* who just turned 38 years, wakes up early enough to go to the gym before proceeding to work by 8 am, in the office she is the topic of the day by her subordinates on learning her age yet she still remains unmarried and childless. In the evening she receives a call from Mercy* her childhood friend who cancels their evening date as her husband has planned dinner for her and their two daughters. She opts to work late since there is nothing important that would be taking her home early. By 9 pm Janet is already having eye-bags due to fatigue and decides to stop by a fast food restaurant to pick some biting for her nieces who live not more than 10 kilometers from her mansion.

“Happy belated birthday darling, you're a beautiful woman both in and out and I pray for more blessing to come your way...hmm this year surprise as with a mini- Janet as you’re not growing any younger..Lots of love.” Was a message she received from Mercy* just as she stepped out of her German car.

There was something about that message that pierced Janet's heart. Yes, you’re right, it reminded her that she was a year older still with no child of her own, disenfranchised grief overcame her that made her cry herself to sleep just because she felt uncomfortable being out of the box her fellow 38 years old women were in, with the clear understanding of fertility being a window that closes she thought she may never be able to experience the indescribable deep connection with her child that yields to a lifetime of stories.

As usual the society will be harsh to Janet for not conforming to the 'societal' believe of who a woman is and what is expected of her. Do people ever think that such women too go through a rough time due to being childless? Many do not understand that such women would one day love to go through the journey of pregnancy which I hear is a beautiful and priceless one; they too would want to hold their baby in their arms and nurse them as their tiny fingers caresses their face, they too would want to see their baby transit from having no tooth to having two teeth, they too would want to watch the first baby steps, they do would want to hear their child call them mum, they too would want to rush home to say a prayer with them before tucking them to sleep, they too would want to have more reason to want to see another day and work hard to give the best to them, they too yearn to be mothers if not wives. I believe it is more painful to them than the society thinks especially if it is not by choice, maybe not being able to conceive due to health related issues, a miscarriage or waking up one day and realizing this is actually happening to you. It is not a battle they chose but since it is here, they've to live with it.

The exclaiming response that people give especially young ladies concerning the same ought to come to a halt, in fact we should be the last people to exclaim and criticize such women because we are yet to get there this is to mean we too cannot be sure that we will be able to bear children at the age the society thinks is 'right’. If it is dreaming of having children the now childless women dreamed too....just like them, we too do not know what the future has in store for us.

Being childless neither makes you less of a woman nor classifies you in the abnormal beings category and you do not owe anybody an explanation regarding your situation.

Baraka!

Comments 5

Log in or register to post comments
Sally maforchi Mboumien
Feb 21, 2016
Feb 21, 2016

"Being childless neither makes you less of a woman nor classifies you in the abnormal beings category and you do not owe anybody an explanation regarding your situation." I strongly agree with you on this. There are great mothers out there who have made meaning out of the lives of so many children who can't sleep without thanking God for these women as their mothers although the women have never been to the delivery bed.

I will like to say no woman should get pressured because of what Baraka rightly terms"societal believe". Motherhood is not solely on going to the delivery bed but to a larger extent on the love, care, sacrifice and meaning you make out of the life of a child. Are we going to call women who put to bed and throw or abandon the babies mothers?

Paul Frank
Feb 21, 2016
Feb 21, 2016

Hear ye!  Hear ye!

Be it known that Miss Owitti Juliet is the irrepressible champion of the championless, the voice of those victimized by society, the conscience that oversees our too often heartless traditions.  Indeed, she is the mother of us all.

Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!

Baraka! Paul

Juliet Owitti
Mar 08, 2016
Mar 08, 2016

Thank you so much Paul

nadine4hope
Feb 22, 2016
Feb 22, 2016

Thank you for sharing this story, a story all too familiar with many 30 something women without children around the world, but a story often not re-told due to the needless feeling of embarrassment or failure.

Many such women face immense social scrutiny, pressure and judgement from family, friends and even strangers who feel entitled to criticize. This often happens with no regard to the fact that some woman make a conscious decision not to be a mother, may medically be unable to conceive or may have not found the right partner with whom she would like to bring a child into the world with. Despite these various reasons, Society often uses the same brush to portray these woman as inferior or inadequate if they do not have a child.

We should empower such women to remind them that their decisions are ok, that we offer support if they are unable to conceive and encouragement if the opportunity has not presented itself. Also a reminder that being a mother is a state of mind whereby many woman can embrace this role without ever conceiving and that loving or nurturing does not necessitate a child.

I am sure your open story has touched and inspired many.

Juliet Owitti
Mar 08, 2016
Mar 08, 2016

Well said