The Guardian is likely to publish an awful lot of columns along this theme over the next few years as many of its readers and writers come to terms with the inevitable atrophy of their ovaries; I don’t want children but being an aunt is the joy of my life.
The writer then proceeds to tell us how great it is to have nieces and nephews and that it is the happiest experience of her life. However, she’s still very happy with her previous decision to not be a mother.
Very, very happy. Honestly.
See, doesn’t this paragraph just ooze happiness:
Adrienne Rich states that motherhood is a patriarchal institution. It shames mothers into a specific set of expectations that are impossible to attain. Mothers are judged for allowing their children to use devices, co-sleeping, engaging in paid work, not engaging in paid work, being fat, being thin, breastfeeding, using formula – the list goes on. I have seen what must be sacrificed – body, career, relationships – and how this is never enough for a culture that is always wagging its finger at you. I have witnessed the bravery it takes to be a mother in a patriarchal world, and I do not wish to cast myself in that net. It is the act of mothering, Rich defines, which is the potentially empowering experience.This paragraph is brought to you by the adjectives, “bitter” and “projection“.
Also, let’s have a moment of contemplation for the fact a functioning adult human wrote the words, “motherhood is a patriarchal institution” without any hint of irony.
In recent years I have noticed an increasing number of female colleagues my age who are waking up to the reality they were sold a lie and made the wrong life choice.
At some point in their past they were told or independently developed the idea that the benefits of motherhood were not material enough compared to what they might have to give up.
Now, since their eggs have died, they are able to regret this choice at their long leisure.
The attitudes to this seem to fall in to three main categories;
- Bitter and angry. This often results in an increased career focus. If you’ve ever met a woman in the work environment whose behaviour is on a par with or worse than the most offensive alpha males, chances are they are childless,
- “Living well is the best revenge”. Instagram account full of images of ostentatious partying and holidaying, always the oldest person in the nightclub.
- Quiet melancholy. The stereotype of the cat woman exists for a reason.
I am genuinely sad for them.