A woman’s right to choose

I’m a 31 year old single female. I don’t have children and I’ve always struggled during adulthood to see myself as a mother. I have 6 nieces and nephews who I adore but I honestly don’t know that motherhood is for me.

As a child I always dreamed of adopting a child of my own. I used to talk about if often. What they would be like. How old they would be. Their name. Everything. The details always changed as do so many stories told by children but what remained is that I was adopting a child not carrying one of my own.

When I was around 15 or 16 years old I was told that it was highly unlikely I would successfully carry a child. My chances of miscarrying are extremely high and pregnancy could cause a lot of long term damage to my body. This felt strange to me. It was almost like I subconsciously knew this to be the case and child me was preparing adult me for this news by creating the idealistic plans of adoption. Since that time I have also discounted the idea of being a mum. Too frightened to try and adopt for fear of failure and even more terrified to consider conceiving naturally because it would risk my health and worse, the health of my child.

5 years ago, I left a long term relationship of 11 years. Frequently during that relationship I was asked when we were going to have children. “Isn’t it about time you two started having a family” etc etc. It was never in my plans. Never something I considered. I loved him at the time but never imagined him to be the father of my children or the man I spent my life with; I guess that’s ultimately why I left. But people still asked. And passed judgement on why I didn’t have children particularly when each of my brother and sisters were off having children of their own.

Yesterday, someone said to me “what are going to do now your too old to have kids” and “I don’t understand people who don’t have kids, do you regret it” I’ve also heard before “but when you’re old you’ll be alone”. All delightful, cheery things to tell another female.

Quite frankly, it’s no ones business what I chose to do with my body and whether I chose to have a child. There is a view that woman were put on this earth to procreate. To create life and to manage a home. That’s such old fashioned BS it’s unbelievable. But what ever women choose to do is exactly that, their choice.

The thought of having a child terrifies me. The thought of being a mother and having someone independent on me terrifies me. But also the thought of never experiencing that bond. That love and that relationship a mother has with her child terrifies me too.

Not only is pregnancy unsafe, I am physically disabled with many hereditary conditions that I would hate to pass on to my child. Even if this wasn’t to be the case I would be terrified that my personal limitations would impact on the life of a child I was trying to raise. People don’t consider this when they examine my decisions and the absence of children in my life.

People don’t realise when they ask such intrusive questions how painful it can be. Just because I’m in my 30s without a child doesn’t make me any less of a woman. Just because I may never have a child doesn’t make me any less worthy. And just because my choices may be different to yours doesn’t make me any less entitled to make them.

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