This year's Mother’s Day presented an opportunity for us to spread love to our biological and adoptive mothers, guardians, and any other individual who cares for us the way a mother is supposed to. Now that this special day has ended, I cannot help but think of the women who choose to be childfree.
Do not Judge: Motherhood is Not for Everyone!
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 growth chain and hits the third floor, family, friends, and relatives begin asking age-old questions: “When are you having kids?” ‘’Don’t you know your biological clock is ticking?’’, my best one being ‘’You need to find a man so that you can settle down or else?’’. Today, through lived experiences of women living their best lives, we know with certainty there is no linear way to life, 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 other than 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, 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 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.)
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Pulse Live Kenya.
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