Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Mothers who don’t like children May 27, 2010

One of my mother’s friends is the kind of woman you can talk to about anything. She’s frank, honest, non-judgmental, and has a wicked sense of humor. We got talking today about adoption and the experiences (ok, the horror stories) we’d seen with friends. She said to me, “I don’t think I would have adopted if I’d been unable to have children; I don’t like children that much.” She has raised two great children and is a grandmother now, but she never had felt any strong desire for motherhood; it was just something she thought she was supposed to do.

My mother’s friend, like my mother, is of a generation where women got married and raised children, then thought about a life for themselves after the children had left. But even today, a lot of people follow that expected path and don’t give any serious thought to something that ought to be the biggest decision of their lives. High school children are educated about teen pregnancy by having the responsibility of carrying an egg or a doll around for a week, but I wonder how much is discussed about the decision to have children or not, the fact that there is an alternative.

For those of us who didn’t just fall into motherhood, we have been given a valuable opportunity to step out of the well-worn groove, assess our own lives, and decide if motherhood is something we really want.

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3 Responses to “Mothers who don’t like children”

  1. Kathleen Guthrie Says:

    I think this may have been hardest on my friends who couldn’t have children. So many seem to have taken on personal responsibility for “failing.”

  2. lmanterfield Says:

    Yes, when the body doesn’t perform one of its primary functions, it definitely feels like failure, but I think a lot of that comes from our society’s esteem of mothers and our own need to be included.

  3. loribeth Says:

    This is a sore point for me as well. Too many people I know get pregnant by accident, or without much thought about whether they are really suited for parenthood and the impact it will have on their life. And some of them really might have been happier not having children. I really admire people (like my sister) who are childfree by choice — who know instinctively that parenthood is not for them, & stick to their guns, despite the relentless pressure society places on us all to reproduce.


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