No Kids? Whatcha Waiting For?

No Kids? Whatcha Waiting For?
(c) 2002 by Regena English

Fifty years ago women in western society were stigmatized severly for unwed parenthood due to what was deemed it represented, an "abnormal" home. Therefore it was believed only immoral children would be the result of a household without a father.

Now, it's commonplace to see a woman choose parenthood without a spouse. There's nothing wrong with a woman choosing to be a parent minus the father per se, but there is a drawback to accepting this as "normal".

Yesterday while chatting with some thirty-something black women the subject came up as to why one of the women in the conversation didn't have any children at 36 years old. Another woman (a married mother of four) trying to come to her aid made a statement to the effect of,"not every woman can have children so we women should stop asking each other why we don't have kids."

Surprised by her so-called defense of childless women I had to interject. Women had to face alot of persecution, mainly from each other, for not having a spouse now we're judging a woman's womanhood by whether or not she has children? Is that not like men judging a man's manhood by how many women he has deflowered?

As women we cringe when we hear men brag about how many "love em and leave ems" they have under their belts. Why? We know that manhood is not about conquering women sexually, so why is it hard to comprehend womanhood is not about making and raising children?

Six years ago a childhood friend who was well aware of my age had asked my sister why I didn't have any kids. She, like the women above, assumed there was something wrong with me medically to explain why I didn't have any children. My sister told me she had to laugh because she knew this old friend hadn't had any conversations with me to know my mindset.

I'm not insulted by the looks of bewilderment when women ask how many children I have and I say none. I do wonder how it could never occur to them not every woman desires to be a mom. I never share with these people my intentions of adopting a little boy name David because I don't want them to think my womanhood is reliant on me being someone's mom. There's a twist to single women adopting which I will cover next time.

However, my wonderment continues being that I am a Black woman and those who have asked about my lack of children (womanhood) are also Black, is this assumption about womanhood cultural or societal? So I randomly asked newsletter readers their opinions as to this phenonmena being cultural or societal:

    "My race is white. I'm lead to believe it is a byproduct of society and not necessarily of a specific ethnic group."47,Beverly

    "Cultural. As a latina we have it bad thinking what's wrong with a woman who don't have any kids. There was a time a woman was expected to be married before she started on her family, not anymore."41,Delores

    "I believe its deeply ingrained in culture. I'm Black and I get asked all the time what's wrong with me why there's no children by other Black women."35,Lisa

    "I'm black and I've grown to think it's the accepted part of being black and single to be asked, why no kids?"31,Vanessa

    "As you know I'm an Asian asexual, oh no that has never been asked of me. No it's usually a package deal of, don't you want a husband so you can have some children?" Trahn

    "I'm Asian and I was asked by a hispanic woman didn't I feel like I was missing the bus by not having any kids at 39. It's societal."Quan

    "Chinese stress marriage then kids. Usually. My mother said at least I could do was make sure she was a grandmother. I'm an only child so she's willing to make an exception. :- ) "41,Jonie

    "I was raised to get married then have children. Frequently other black women have inquired about my lack of children. I hesitate in saying it's cultural but would say it's societal instead." 39,Willie

    "I'm Caucasian.Frankly I would say it's societal. Society as a whole has changed it's stance on unwedded parenthood. To see a woman not racing against her biological clock is shocking to people." 30,Vallerie

Whether or not it's cultural or societal, this attitude a woman is required to produce kids in order to be considered a woman is running rampant. What do you think, is it cultural or societal, this assumption children make women women and not the "inner person" occupying female bodies?

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