artistic themes VII: pregnancy & infants

:  I suppose it’s due to the fact that I’m ideal child-bearing age, and I due to my location on a military base, I notice what feels like an incessant parade of pregnant women often with one or two other small humans in tow.

My husband and I are often asked why we don’t have children yet, or when we plan to start.  When we respond that we don’t want to be parents we are always met with–oh, you’ll change your mind…you don’t know what you’re missing…being a parent is the best thing
I’ve ever done…you’ll change you’re mind…but as a woman, you’re supposed to be a mom…you’d be such a great mom though…is it because you’re worried about stretch marks…you’re wasting your life if you don’t have a kid…you’re young still, you’ll change your mind…just wait, you will feel it–it’s like a switch, you’ll want to be a mom.

But, I don’t want a baby.

And I haven’t changed my mind.

At a certain point people seem to inadvertently imply that our lives (especially mine, since I’m a woman) are significantly less meaningful, happy, or important do to the fact that we would prefer not to procreate.  These expectations and implications wander through my head almost every day, since I’m surrounded by so many children and young families.

This imagery in my work reminds me that the decision to have children is mine, and I shouldn’t allow pressure from society to influence such huge and life-altering decisions.  It also reminds me that my worth as a human is not based my ability to create healthy human offspring–it’s obvious the human race will continue with or without my child-having-contribution.

One of  my favorite Jenny Holtzer’s truism is, ‘It is a gift to the world not to have babies,’ and while I certainly understand and respect people’s choice to have children and build a family, I really wish most people would extend that same courtesy for my choice to be child-free.

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