This is a great article —
I should admit that not having children during my 20 year marriage wasn’t my choice, but it’s the way it ended up. In many ways I’m sad that I didn’t give birth etc.. but in many other ways I’m happy that the circumstances ended up with me having plenty of room in my heart for my partner’s children… both of whom are amazing, really amazing. They’re both brilliant, caring, passionate, loyal, wise and kind — I really couldn’t ask for better kids.
I also understand the pressures described in the article. The attitude is everywhere, a white, educated, middle-class, married woman is SUPPOSED to not only produce children — and that’s supposed to be her driving goal. This isn’t the case with men in the same demographic. Women are lectured about their ticking biological clock. They’re presumed to not be real women until they’ve been pregnant and generally the eyebrows get raised when you’re asked how many kids you have and you answer with none.
On the other hand, single women, women of color, working-class women with high school educations and generally everyone that isn’t white, middle-class, married etc.. are looked down on as being selfish FOR having children when they can’t “afford” them… (see also a recent study concluding that it costs millions of dollars to raise a kid… I know two wonderful people who are nearly raised and their dad wasn’t close to a millionaire..).
The really wonderful point the article makes is that parenthood can be an amazing journey and that everyone who is on the journey ought to do so because they choose to do so, not because society pressures them into doing so.
I’m very blessed that I get to choose to be a kind-of parent, and I wish only that for everyone else.