When I tured twenty-six, my mother commented that she had my brother at that age. I had nothing to say to that so I shrugged and dismissed it from my mind. Quitck backstory. I realized when I was tewnty that I did not want kids. Like, definitely did not want them. I had never been that sure about anything in my life. Ever. Not before and not since. It came down like a message from the angels above, and I shouted out, “Hallelujah!” Ok. No. I did not do that. But the relief I felt when I realized that not only did I not want kids, I did not have to have them, was immense. I can’t describe the weight it lifted off my shoulders.
Before that, i just assumed that I had to have them because that was the culture I grew up in. The Taiwanese culture, I mean, though it was backed up by the American culture, too. Women were nothing if they did not get married and have children. It was what they were born (and bred) to do. We were chattel and cattle, and more than one person referred to my birthing hips when I was in my twenties. Excuse me. Not person–but woman. Because it was only women who pushed me to have children, who nagged me about not having them, and who tried to make me feel selfish for not having them.
It was never men. I emphasize this because women are often the worst when it comes to upholding the patriarchy. There are many reasons for that, but that is not the point of this post. The point is that the fifteen years I was pushed to have children, mostly by my mother, is what planted the seed that I was not comfortable calling myself a woman.
My mother actually said at one point that it did not matter if I wanted children or not because it was my duty as a woman to have them. Think about that for a minute. Let it marinate in your mind. I was supposed to put aside my personal feelings and procreate because that was my express purpose as vagina-bearing person. That was what my mother was saying to me. That’s pretty horrifying if you think about it.
Oh. the one exception to men not pushing me about kids–when it came to the question of an abortion. More than one man I’ve talked with was firmly against it. One was a Catholic guy (claimed liberal) who said that if a woman ‘played’ then she should have to ‘pay’. Which was another terrible way to view parenting. It’s a punishment for your sins. That’s literally what he was saying. He claimed it was the same as if you were skiing and broke your leg. You had to deal with the broken leg. I pointed out that ‘dealing with a broken leg’ did not include leaving it broken and saying, “Well, I broke it, so I have to keep it broken.”
I mentioned that if iwere forced to have a baby, I would probably kill myself to get out of it. And the fetus would die with me, so two entities would be dead. How was that any better? He said that I could get a note from my doctor in that case. I said why should that be necessary? Why should I have to prostate myself and reveal my mental health issues just to be able to do what I wanted with my own body?