In the November edition in Harper’s Bazaar UK, Renee Zellweger is not only looking great on the cover but she speaks to not wanting kids in her interview. She says that motherhood has never been an “ambition” for her. Think about the use of the word “ambition” when it comes to having a baby.
Dictionary.com gives the definition of ambition as…
.. “an earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction,” and the “willingness to strive for its attainment.” Thinking about motherhood in this way makes it sound more like a goal we can have in life than a given. Now that is refreshing in a child-centric culture.
But an article summarizing the Zellweger interview on waleg.com was not as refreshing. It says, “she’s one of the few who has declared that motherhood and babies are not a priority.” Cool. But then it goes on to say, ” But then, it’s good enough that she’s honest, right? After all, not all women are cut out to be mothers.” Italics mine.
In there is the assumption that a woman chooses not to be a mother because she wouldn’t be a good mother. Well, some childfree may feel this way, but there are plenty of others who think they could be good, even great mothers–they just don’t Want to be mothers.
Why can’t it just be written, “After all, not all women want to be mothers?”
When you see things written in the media like this –that use language to directly or indirectly cast a negative or inaccurate tone, pass on to me. I want to collect and post on this too. More needs to be pointed out specifically how language is used consciously or unconsciously continue to put an inaccurate or negative light on women who don’t become mothers.
It’s so true that often, articles like this imply that, you know, we childfree women “probably should not have a child” because we might “not be cut out for it”. Not only should we “probably” not have children–we SHOULD not, and we don’t need anyone to tell us that because we are already quite aware of that fact which is why we’ve already made the choice. The only reason many of us are not cut out for it is simply because we don’t want children. If we DID want them, many of us would be awesome mothers.
Thanks for posting…will be sure to forward on others like this.
It would actually be nice if more people viewed parenthood as a goal or ambition to be achieved and done well. The fact though, at least in the United States, is that over 50% of pregnancies are unplanned. This is a key statistic when you consider how many women are anti-abortion. They accidently get themselves pregnant and Poof, they’re instant mothers without even considering their interest in taking on the role or their ability to do so well. We do a better screeing of people wanting to adopt pets from the humane society than we do of allowing people to be parents. It’s got to stop! Dr. Ellen
While the 50% stat includes married women and women in committed relationships (at least the stats I have seen), unplanned teen pregnancy concerns me most. Stat I have seen thru Guttmacher Institute–in the U.S., 82 percent of teenage pregnancies are unplanned. The number rose in 2007 to its highest in the last 15 years. The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics and other organizations claim it is in part due feelings of isolation and thinking that having a baby will fill this void. Not only is better comprehensive sex education needed, but life skills education that exposes them to the idea that motherhood is not only optional, but also that feeling good about oneself and one’s life will not come automatically when baby comes on the scene…teens and esteem is whole topic unto itself!
I wish more people could look at parenthood as a goal, and not “the next step” after getting married. I’m in a time in my life when all my friends are having babies. It seems like they all agreed on having babies at the same time. Seeing them now with kids only reassures more of how much I DON’T want kids. They’re all about Gymboree, play dates and birthday parties. I don’t get invited to any of those events (thankfully!), but I can’t help feeling excluded, in a negative way. I don’t want to be a part of that, but at the same time I do miss my friends. I don’t share their goals, and therefore have nothing in common with them anymore. They seem happy right now, and keep telling me that having kids is the greatest accomplishment. I really don’t see it that way for me. They were all interesting, smart and fun women to be around. Now they can’t imagine that life before kids was considered life. I need to find new friends without kids! People with kids often complain about how selfish and immature people without kids can be. But people with kids get so wrapped up in their kids lives, and think that the world revolves around them (including other people). They look at people like me and think we’re awful and purposely exclude us from their lives because we don’t spend our days changing diapers while sleep deprived. We’ll see if they’re still full of the same happiness when their precious babies are teenagers, and I’m on vacation with my husband, and looking 20 years youger than them!
You are not alone! Lots of cf have found like minds in local meetups and through NoKidding! chapters. Sustaining friendships with childfree and parents can be a challenge, and it takes continued effort on both sides. So often that just does not happen….~L
Do you know, I’d be a bloody MARVELLOUS parent: small children like and respect me, I have a good education and a well-grounded sense of morals and ethics, not to mention a secure financial and home life, a working womb and a regular menstrual cycle.
But…I. DON’T. WANT. CHILDREN.
I’d also be a fabulous concert pianist, given my remarkable spread and ear for syncopation, harmony and timing.
But, do you know what? I. DON’T. WANT. TO. BE. A. CONCET. PIANIST.
I think the crucial elements there are ‘DO NOT WANT’. Just because something exists doesn’t mean mean it should be exploited.
Kudos to Zellweger, btw, we need more CF women in the public domain. 🙂