Adventure in “Non-Parent”

I’m 27, approaching 28, and usually just rounding up to 30 if someone asks. This means that many of my friends, particularly from my highly (rather closed-mindedly) conservative high school are already married and have children. Many of them have more than one. Which means most of my social media sightings of them, since actual sightings are so rare, are pictures of their children or even more common, and increasingly so, links to listicles of all of the ways people without children will never understand life until they have children. “13 things non-parents should never say to parents.” “89 ways to prove you aren’t a parent.” “962 times neanderthals tried to ‘do me a favor’ and ‘babysit’ my children (though I call it proximal nurturing).” They go on and on. Moreover, it all also comes with lots of responses to my “grotesque feminism” with “well, when you’re a parent you’ll understand” or “as a parent…”

So here it is. My. Rant.

candy

Hey parents. Ya know what you should never say to a “non-parent?” NON-PARENT! It takes a village. If I love you, I love your children. And no your child did not crawl out of my vagina (I’m not a parent, and the way I’m treated, I assume, that’s what you think I think happens), but I have prayed for them. I have in many cases watched them while you were out.

And, for the record, giving birth doesn’t make you a better woman. If one more Christian woman throws in my face, that God’s will for my life won’t be fulfilled until I push a baby out my hooha, I’m going to remove my uterus. Personally. First of all, how is it YOU know God’s will for my life? So many of you?! I’m learning it day by day, but you’ve known this whole time?!??! And if God’s will for my life is just to reproduce, then why did he make it exponentially harder for me than the average woman, before I even get married? And why would he give me such a passion for all of the children already born who live without homes?

There are so many ways to be a parent, and it has only so little to do with giving birth. And there’s so much more to being a woman that has nothing to do with giving birth. It strikes me as odd that so many evangelical Christian women think the greatest think a woman can do with her life is give birth, but that’s a very evolutionary way of thinking about things, isn’t it? Your lot in life is to reproduce? And maybe for some it is. Understand, I’m not saying there’s something wrong with wanting to be a mom. For wanting to give birth to your own biological children. There isn’t. But please, stop imposing that idea on every woman you interact with. Please, stop reducing all women to your ideals, and moreover, holding other women to them. We aren’t all going to be mother’s at 23. And we aren’t all incomplete until we are mothers. And not having children doesn’t make women inherently stupid when it comes to children. And having children doesn’t make you suddenly more intelligent than the other women around. Nor does it make you better. So please, stop treating us that way. Today.

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5 thoughts on “Adventure in “Non-Parent”

  1. Sigh, motherhood has been both canonized and devalued over the years, and I think both are bad for women.

    Maybe some people who get a bit smug about motherhood or hitting that milestone before 25 are coming from a place of defensiveness. In trying to justify what the rest of society (outside of Mormons, evangelicals, West Virginians, etc.) have deemed less-than-wise or maybe just detrimental to individual success, some ladies have leaned too far in the other direction. There is nothing inherently wrong with having kids at 23, at 30, or never. Just like there’s nothing inherently wrong with adopt kids vs. having bio kids. The issue is when women judge other women for making decisions that they wouldn’t personally make. And I would imagine it’s pretty hurtful to be judged for a situation that wasn’t your decision at all.

    That being said, I did receive several life cheat codes immediately after giving birth. I’d love to share them with you, but, you know.

    Also, I, too, hate Baby Ruth’s.

    • Angie, you can have all of the prizes. I appreciate you a lot. I’ll appreciate you more after I give you your punch. For now I’ll just agree with you.

  2. Well said Hayley. Thankfully, I haven’t run into this mindset super frequently, but when I do, it makes me feel worthless and alone. So, thanks for saying what I am not bold enough to say.

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