Labels for not being a mother

I am a rebel and tired of labels for not being a mom.

How often do you get inappropriate statements or questions for not being a mother? I do. A friend once told me: “you are unnatural because you don’t have a child”.
Sometimes it bothers me, gets me mad, or I give the right answer. To be honest, I am tired, so I have chosen to answer according to the context; sometimes ironically, reverse with another question, or simply ignore these thoughts.

Society has labelled women like individuals who have less power, are passive, and submissive. As girls, we are taught to sit properly, learn home roles (cook, iron, clean, etc), and others. We are also compelled to comply with our reproductive system, get married, have a family, and live happily ever after.

According, to feminist, Marcela Lagarde, in her theory Perspective of gender and The multidimensionality of the gender and feminism category, “everyday life is structured on the gender norms and the performance of each one, it depends on their behaviour and the management of that normatively. Gender is constructed from duties and prohibitions. The relationship between duty and prohibition is essential to build who we are as women and who men are”.

The moment we don’t rule under these requirements listed above we are categorized as rebellious, rare, selfish, undesirable, bad, modern, and liberal women. This is called a gender rebellion because as subjects we oppose with will and conscience all that is assigned to us.

Since I am a rebel and tired of these labels, I would like to share with you the experiences of my girlfriends and myself regarding not being a mom.

Photo by Chris Murray on Unsplash
  • I am not sure if I want to be a mother or not, people constantly ask: When are you going to have a child? Remember the train is going to leave you.
  • Why don’t you want to be a mother? Don’t you like children?
  • Can you have children? Who has a reproductive problem you or your husband?
  • You will regret it when you are old. Who will take care of you when you are older?
  • You don’t understand mother issues because you are not one.
  • You don’t love children, you are a bad and selfish woman.
  • I have a very religious aunt that said: I am praying for you to have a child.
  • You are not a complete woman because you are not a mother.
  • After having two miscarriages, most remarks were pitiful, like don’t give up, have faith. It is terrible because they don’t have an idea regarding how hard the post-miscarriage process can be. Not once have I heard ‘you can always adopt, or life is good without a child’.
  • When I reached the age of 25, people constantly asked me as a woman: when are you going to get married? And then after I got married, came the second question: when are you going to have children?
  • If you are from a “third world country” and you are not a mother it is more than rare, since the stereotype is that most women have a lot of children.
  • Years ago, I visited a radiologist before my surgery, because I had a myoma in my womb, so when he saw my medical record, he asked: Are you a nun?

During my conversation with friends, we realized and coincided on four points. First, all the inappropriate questions and statements mentioned above are asked to us, never to the men. Second, as we grow, so do our answers and reactions; at the beginning, we can be aggressive, after we break a rule by saying, for example, I don’t want to be a mother and last, we don’t need to justify anything, we simply ignore the comments.

Third, unfortunately, most of these questions or statements come from women. Fourth, we need to speak more about these labels.

The writer, Roxane Gay in her book Bad Feminist expresses “pregnancy is at once a private and public experience. Public intervention can be fairly mild, more annoying than anything else, people want to touch your swollen belly, offering unsolicited advice about how to raise your child {…} simply because you are pregnant”.

Even though my friends and I are not pregnant, I feel that not being a mother is more a public issue than private.

After hearing all the above statements, it is clear that assuming the gender perspective requires a great effort and leads to an internal intellectual revolution of a personal nature and a cultural revolution of mentalities.

So please, the next time you think about saying something inappropriate to a woman like me, think twice and ask yourself, would you like someone to ask you the same question?

Author: Women Wheel

Women Wheel a community online that develops different women topics. Here I cover my experiences and others based on sexuality, gender, violence, culture, climate change, literature, womanhood, feminism, and decolonization stories that will link us together regardless of where you live, age, and race. Our wheel is durable and resistant, the same as the women’s fight, voices, and actions. Join the wheel!

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