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8 Requests To Moms From Women Without Children

I do it. And if you belong to the mommy camp, perhaps, you do it too.


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It feels nice to one-up other moms by relating the war stories from the home front. After all, we battle the steady attack of projectile vomit and  overflowing diaper pails, and it feels nice to hear that we aren’t the only ones. Of course, we sometimes brew mom wars between ourselves – formula vs. breastfeeding, working vs. stay-at-home, but most of them are settled with the cry of the li’l redhead who we’d just put to sleep or the ‘I am back’ babble of our hungry kindergartener back from school! And since we are all legit mommy camps, we make peace and wish each other good luck for feeding the screaming baby or making our four-year-old eighteen dishes before she decides she wants to have our lunch!

mother and child

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But here’s the kicker about being in your thirties and meeting other women – you just assume that you can talk kids and how you will always lose the argument about the need to wear pants and why SpongeBob is quality entertainment! We do not, even for a moment, second guess that these women may belong from the opposite, albeit equally legitimate camp of non-mommies, of women without children!

Suggested read: Why I doff my hat to the women who choose to not have kids

While there is always a chance that a personal thread may have come loose somewhere and some biological problem may have led to it that forces a cloud of odd silence to descend on the conversation, there is also the rather glaring reason behind the rather awkward, uncomfortable assumption – that of us being conditioned to believe that a woman realizes herself once she has popped a child out her hoo ha. Of course, we have come a long way from being ‘ten hairs away from baboons’ when we deemed motherhood as the singular and topmost pedestal for womanhood – but the idea to settle, get married, and produce babies has stuck on nonetheless. Even when it follows achievements in academia, career, and other areas of interest.

But more and more women are breaking free of that ideological prison and choosing a life free of poopy diapers and 3 am hunger pangs! And in confronting awkward moments of silence with mommies like myself, who perhaps fling the ‘baby talk’ without so much as a hidden agenda of shaming or judgment but do it nonetheless, I presume these women without children would like to rend the silence with these eight requests:

1. Do not assume you know why

question mark

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The ‘why’ question can come across as a prick for women who wanted to conceive but couldn’t for a myriad reasons or simply as a judgmental slap in the face for women who consciously chose to not have kids. Women without children have countless reasons for not having them and assuming that I, or for that matter the countless other mommies in my club, are familiar with their journey is simply an attempt to ‘fit’ their journey within the ‘narrow’ spectrum of our own understanding of motherhood and non-motherhood. An effort to be in their shoes and understand their choices sans our own conditioning and biases is quite a presumptuous move as an objective critic. One that I do not, for all my understanding, feel ‘good enough’ to measure up to. I would love to have an honest heart-to-heart with these women and attempt to understand but will never assume that I know how it feels.

Suggested read: I was 19 when I decided to terminate my pregnancy…

2. Do not pity my situation

woman smiling

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As women, our emotional-meters are always in overdrive. But pity is the last thing these women need. While many of them have a rankling wound underneath the face that has it-all-together, others may have made peace with their choice to be child-free and may be wearing the ‘let us be’ board as a collective request from members of their community. The least we can do is comply by not making those wounds any more sore or probing personal choices.

3. Do not judge it either

woman outdoors

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A respect for people’s journeys – ridden with choices forced by circumstances or a conscious desire to not bear children – is part of being human. Let’s be human, you and I!

4. Do not assume I am a child-hating monster

mother and child1

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Assuming that the choice to not have kids of one’s own = hating kids is simply reductive reasoning. Faulty math, if you will. I personally know a young woman who is a teacher and loves the kids in her class but will never bear children of her own. Do I respect her? Yes. Do I adore her? Yes. Does my four-year-old adore her? Oh, yes. Does she adore my four-year-old? Hell yes!! But she just doesn’t want to have kids of her own, and I respect that.

5. Do not exclude me

woman sitting alone

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Owing to the reductive reasoning outlined above, many people make the mistake of assuming that these women would not like to be a part of family events or occasions involving children. So they skip sending birthday party invites, holiday celebration invites to them, and slip it up under the convenient pretext of their faulty assumption. I am sure all these women are screaming how they’d like to be included. Whether or not they would come is a later choice.

6. Do not put labels on me

woman outdoors

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While labels aren’t quite a thing for me, they hold clout with respect to seething social issues as this. While childless connotes a lack, child-free seems to push the label into a deliberate realm of political correctness. My contention is to do away with distinctions completely. Why should we categorize women based on whether or not they have had children or wish to have them? Women sure have built better identities than that.

Suggested read: A letter to my father from his daughter who wasn’t a son

7. Do not be harsh

woman thinking13

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While obvious snide remarks are to be completely ruled out, there are some remarks that though, seemingly innocuous, can sting quite a bit. A few examples would be:

“You don’t really understand what it means to be a woman until you’ve had a child.”
“You should have had children. You’re so great with them.”
“Having kids was the best thing I ever did.”
“Who will take care of you when you’re old?”
“Didn’t you want to have children?”
“Don’t you like children?”
“I bet you regret not having children.”
“You could have adopted. Why didn’t you?”
“Oh, so you chose a career over having children.”

Steering clear of such direct or indirect references can make a helluva difference.

8. Do not force the talk

woman sad

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Do not prod and probe for explanations. Just like their choices, if and when they feel like talking about their journeys, they will do it. We should allow them to do so, and on their own terms. If not, then that is their choice too, and we need to respect them.

I have been guilty – twice. But not anymore. I steer clear of the topic even when women around me have a baby on their hip! Unless they broach the subject, I keep the Lego bricks and other knickknacks out of the words! As for the women who choose to not have kids, I promise to extend the understanding before expecting it!

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Article Name
8 Requests To Mothers From Women Without Children
Sometimes, moms can be a tad bit rude to women without children. Sometimes, even worse. But do they have to be? Read on.
Sejal Parikh

Sejal Parikh

"I'm a hurricane of words but YOU can choose the damage I do to you..."