Speaking as Not a Mother 

Generally  as a child-free person, I don’t think there’s much need to speak out about it.
We’re not oppressed or overtly discriminated against and on most social measures it seems that parents, particularly Mothers, have it worse. Employment laws and work culture generally discriminates against them horribly. Culturally they also suffer from the conflicting pressures of what women are “supposed” to be. Leaning in, having it all, being Madonna, Mary, Yummy, MILFish and bikini body ready. 
Though when I did a comedy show about not wanting to be a Mother. I expected some flak. Especially when it was broadcast on Radio 4 after the Archers on a Sunday night right into the heart of Middle England. But there wasn’t a flicker of annoyance. Not one email. Unless everyone had switched off in disgust the minute my Northern vowels sounded out. I took it as something of a counter to studies which had shown women without kids were seen as “childish, neurotic and selfish”. At a time when 1 in 5 women (and rising) in the UK don’t have children, I thought that social attitudes had mostly progressed. 
I also think that women who want children but can’t have them have a much harder deal. Both when seeing the rhetoric around mothers as “real” women, in issues around arduous infertility treatments and the lack of awareness of the devastating impacts of miscarriage and stillbirth. 
When I performed my show live, young women did sometimes say that it was a relief and a change to hear this presented as a positive choice. But I still didn’t think this needed to constitute a mission statement. It’s, after all, about not wanting something. Not having children doesn’t define my life. 
However, after Conservative leadership candidate Andrea Leadsom’s remarks Here about  feeling that being a mother gives her a “real stake” in the country’s future, as opposed to her childless rival Theresa May, I think there is a reason to speak out after all. 
Especially when the idea of the happily child free person is removed from the narrative entirely and we have the responsible Mother who cares about the future, and the sad Non-Mother who has had her stake in it removed. 
Both are emotional tropes of course and the idea that people only care about the future of those that they’re related to by blood is being easily picked apart elsewhere. 
But I want to represent the idea of a happily childfree woman. One that is resisted by the dominant narratives about womanhood. A New Statesman article  Heresuggested that we’re seen as the Unicorns of society-as in, mythical creatures. Honestly, I sometimes feel guilty about elements of my life that are easier than the women around me juggling childcare, not having much time to themselves, hitting career walls and having to go to Wacky Warehouses. It means I don’t say it often enough. Not having kids is great! It’s just what I want. I can’t tell you how many sighs of relief I breathe when I spend any time with children or parents in any context and know I’m going home to my husband, cocker spaniel and quiet house. 
Unfortunately it is obligatory in these articles to end by saying what a nice person you are, how much you do for society and love people EVEN THOUGH you don’t want to raise humans. I’ll just say that if I supported a party that has presided over the terrible inequalities perpetuated on women, children and everybody else as detailed in this week’s UN report, Here, I would cower in shame at the short sighted lack of concern for the future of all of us shown in policies that privilege profits over people, short term gain over long term sustainability and political expediency over a far sighted tackling of shameful global inequalities. 

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