Why is childlessness such a big deal? 50

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A recent SBS show has spoken to women about why they didn’t become mothers and their responses were as complex as they were varied.We know there are many of you who don’t have children, but do you feel that everybody wants to know your reasons for not having children, and in some way feel as if they have a right to know – despite the fact that it’s none of their business?

The Daily Mail reports that more than 20 per cent of Australian adults never become parents. People’s reasons for remaining childless seem to fascinate us.  When a woman reaches a certain age, she is expected to start thinking about having children. If she doesn’t, eyebrows are raised and we become nosey and judgemental. The usual questions out of earshot are: Isn’t she able to have children? Doesn’t she want children?

Dame Helen Mirren has said in the past “I have no maternal instinct whatsoever. Motherhood holds no interest for me.”

Mirren, who has been married for 15 years, admits that she always expected to be a mother. “It was not my destiny,” she says. “I kept thinking it would be, waiting for it to happen, but it never did, and I didn’t care what people thought.”

In Mirren’s case it wasn’t women, who gave her a hard time: “It was only boring old men. And whenever they went ‘What? No children? Well, you’d better get on with it, old girl,’ I’d say ‘No! F— off!’”

And who can blame her? It is an incredibly personal choice. And, if a couple want children but can’t have them, can be an very painful and sensitive subject.

Did you have an overwhelming urge to have children, or was a family never on the cards for you? If you chose not to have a family have you been asked rude and insensitive question about your reasons? 

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Childless by choice, and I love the way some people think that you are clueless about children . 38 years as a primary school teacher obviously doesn’t count.

    1 REPLY
  2. I wonder why there is so much pressure on young women to have families….many should not reproduce! … but this pressure to have children is really alarming when we see so much hardship and poverty. The overpopulation is draining the world’s resources and making environmental issues critical. I may make this sound over simplistic, of course it’s not it’s fairly complex. I wish the Pope would promote contraception … he can at least see part of the problem. Environment vs overpopulation.

  3. I have friends and relatives that don’t have children by choice and they have a great fulfilled life as well as enjoying children of family and friends. What bothers me are those that have children and treat them badly.

  4. I had 4 kids before I realised I didn’t really like kids. But when I was young it was just expected that you’d have them. I still did my best and love my children and grandchildren. Luckily they are all adults now .

  5. Should not be judged for not having children it is a choice and for some it is just not on the cards for some and some do not want them ok anyway!

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