Don't judge, motherhood is not for everyone! [Pulse Contributor's Opinion]

Let us appreciate those women who choose not to be mothers

Mom and baby(Verastic)

Growing up, girls are consciously or unconsciously taught that the journey of life is ideally linear – finish school, get a job, marry and have children.

When a girl does not follow this trajectory and clocks 30; family, friends and relatives begin asking the age-old questions: "When are you having kids?", "Don’t you know your biological clock is ticking?", my personal best being, "You need to find a man so that you can settle down or else...".

Today, through the lived experiences of self-actualized women, we know with certainty that life is not linear and womanhood can be enjoyed without motherhood.

Bringing a human life into existence is no walk in the park, it is a life-changing experience that comes with responsibilities and challenges. And yes, such responsibility needs one to decide to take up this kind of accountability without coercion or pressure.

The truth is, not everyone is built or wants to be a mother. And if deciding not to have children is one’s choice, there should be no shame or guilt with that.

The challenges that women face in their journeys – biological, psychological, financial, mental – is one that should allow us to respect those who choose a different path from motherhood.

Mothers play a very vital and integral role in our lives. They raise and nurture us, give us strength and teach us lessons and values that we carry along through our life course.

They put in the work; balancing careers, businesses, childcare and household tasks to create a better life for themselves and their families.

Now, let us appreciate those women who choose not to be mothers (biological or not) but want to care for, support and love other people – adults and children alike - without judgements.

We need to put in the work to make women feel supported and offer them options for much needed reproductive health solutions.

From laws and policies that encourage women to have the right and freedom to decide on their own sexual and reproductive health, to discover other womanly experiences, and destigmatize taboos about childbearing and guardianship.

The foregoing is an Opinion Article submitted to Pulse Live Kenya for publication as part of the Pulse Contributors initiative.

Pulse Contributors is an initiative to highlight diverse journalistic voices. Pulse Contributors do not represent the company Pulse and contribute on their own behalf.

Should you wish to submit an Article to Pulse, do so via contributors@pulse.co.ke.

The Author, Linda Okero, is a communications and development enthusiast who has been enhancing socio-economic transformation in Micro-Finance, Government, Business Acceleration and Advocacy space. She is the Coordinator of the UNCTAD Youth Action Hub – Kenya, a YALI Alumni and Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society.

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