The press headlines have been lately flooded with accusing titles: The women who don't want to bear children! Radio shows host "experts" discussing women's moral duty to be mothers, and the magazines publish articles on the theme of motherhood, daring to enter the thousand year old relic of "mother instinct." An unofficial research shows that 20% of women born at the beginning of the 60's do not have kids.

In the middle of violent discussions about the demographic renewal in Croatia and the fight on the issue of whether women have the right to choose to be or not to be mothers, there is a group of women who are not speaking in favour of abortion (as if such women exist at all), but of the women who freely made the choice not to get pregnant in the first place for reasons which are intimate, emotional, social or economic in nature.

How do people react? The majority has a very negative attitude. The widespread opinion of both sex is that a woman's uterus is the property of the society and that the state has the right to make laws about what a woman can and what she shouldn't do with her body. Nature gave woman the possibility to bear children, which is her advantage in relation to the male population, and the majority of women take that opportunity, either consciously or accidentally. Because of that, the bearing of children is considered as the only right thing for a woman, morally, politically, and ethically. A woman who neglects this major duty has not fulfilled her function on this planet. In other words, without children, her very existence is totally missed and in vain.

Why can't women be seen as human beings, unique individuals with their own dreams, needs and desires, instead as predestined childbearing source of future generations? To bear children for a woman is perceived as the only purpose in life that gives meaning to her existence--her main goal and the highest ambition. If she doesn't feel that way, she is usually outcast with remarks that it is not normal to feel that way, that she isn't a "genuine" woman and that she is making the biggest mistake of her life.


What can we pin down as man's "function" on this Earth? Although his biological possibility is to become a father, he is not determined by it. To be a father is not considered as his only function on this planet and the meaning of his life!

Freedom to choose whether she will or not take the opportunity to have children or make a choice not to, has been taken (or attempted to be) away from women by the state. The state punishes the "unfaithful" one with severe laws and pushes her on the margins of social life, trying with all its might to make her feel less worthy, of doubtful morality, unreasonable, irresponsible towards nation and incomplete as a person.

According to the latest figures, our planet is richer every year by 141 million of new inhabitants. If I take into the consideration thousands of abandoned, abused, neglected, unhappy, molested children without anything that can be named "childhood, I wonder where are those "inborn mother instincts" and impulses these defenders of "woman's primary function" are talking about? Where are the parents responsible for the existence of those children? Isn't it more irresponsible to bear children nobody takes care of, than NOT to have them at all?

How many parents had children they really wanted, children for whom they are willing and can dedicate time, love, care, attention, children who are reared in a secure economic and emotional family? Those who scream and defend the "demographic renewal" in Croatia or elsewhere do not speak about happy children of safe and peaceful childhood; they speak of numbers, they speak of how many inhabitants the state needs for different purposes.


The list of reasons why people have kids is discouraging. If we put aside those to whom kids "happened" as the result of an insecure contraception or irresponsible sexual relationships, and those few who are responsible and want to create a new life with all their hearts, the rest of the world bear children for all the wrong reasons. Ask someone from your immediate surrounding why do they have children; they will give you a look filled with horror and doubt as if saying "What kind of question is that?" It is a topic nobody seems to think about. The answer, for them, is so "obvious" that the question has never been asked. And not asking questions is a mistake that results in unwanted kids.

I can answer in a few lines. Children are born to fill in the emptiness of somebody's lives so that s/he can have someone of her/his own, so that someone can take care about them when they get old and powerless, so that they can "renew" themselves through their heirs, so that they can keep their partners or save their marriages, so that the pressure of their parents to have grandchildren will weaken, so that they won't feel embarrassed or left out in the company of other women who push the baby carriages and talk about the first teeth troubles, so that they can hush up the voice of dissatisfaction with their own lives. Those are the main and wrong reasons why children are being born.


Many working women who have been trying to find the balance between their career and inbred feeling of obligation to have kids, think about children as another business assignment which has to be placed into the business time schedule. The biggest majority of them think about when they will be able to afford the period of pregnancy and post birth time of absence, trying to find the best solution so that it will not interfere with the rest of their activities. Very few of them ask themselves do they want kids at all or even WHY should they bear children if, after the birth, they will not have time to devote themselves to them. A child is a "business" which lasts a lifetime, on which you can't quit, which you can't negotiate or bargain with. At least, that is the way it should be!


The myth of motherhood is being purposefully idealized because people have a need to believe in it. The tougher the reality, (mothers leaving their kids, killing them, throwing them into the garbage, renouncing them, abusing them, using them, neglecting them, not caring about them, etc.) the more insistent are the defenders of the myth about the unconditional and ever-present love of a mother. The more women show the wish to decide for themselves whether or not they will have children, led by the women born at the beginning of the 60's, the bigger the pressure on them by the people and media who try to persuade them that they are abnormal, because they have not been following the "normal" instinct of a mother within. The spectrum of women who are mothers but do not know how to be good mothers is so wide. To be a mother in a psychological sense is a lesson that has to be learned in the hardest school of all, using the method of trials and errors.

There are women who are "made" to be mothers, who have the limitless capability and wish for giving, sacrificing and caring for others. There are women who are mothers because the biology didn't stop to ask their opinion. They accept children they have had as something unavoidable, something they would have decided to have anyway. There are women who didn't want to have children, but had given up under various pressures. Children for them are a burden which they have to carry and such kids become victims who after they have grown up, make other victims and the chain of the unhappy never breaks.

At the end, there are women who do not want to have kids, and although they do not hurt anyone, are considered the worst of them all. They are neither selfish, nor they hate kids. On the contrary! These women are aware of their responsibility toward the life of another human being and they do not want to undertake that responsibility if they don't feel ready for it. They are scorned upon because they do not behave irresponsibly !!! What an irony!

We are different in the ways of how we perform our duties, what we like to do, how we love and whom, what interests us and what is boring, what is important and what we never think about. In the same way all of us do not share the same feelings toward the descendants.

Every woman on this planet has not been "made" of mother's stuff, and unfortunately, many who aren't, don't know it or don't stop to think until it is too late and the unwanted, later unhappy, children are being born.

Life is a miracle, but the right to choose is that thin line which defines woman as a living being with a freedom of choice. The meaning of life lies in different things for each and every one of us. Our attitudes and choices are not necessarily the best ones for others. Let everyone decide for herself. And every time you want to deny the freedom of choice to another human being, ask yourself would you like others to do that to you?!

(c) NS

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