I've been told that Czech society is rather old-school conservative when it comes to gender roles. It’s not like I’ve conducted a formal survey or anything, but a few women have told me that their husbands expect them to perform all of the household duties, since it is “women’s work”. This would explain the look of shock I received from someone when I said that I – a woman in my late thirties - have never been married, nor had children. This was the first time that anybody reacted in this way towards my lifestyle choices (outside of the developing world that is). Thankfully in most of the enlightened world, a woman’s worth is not based on her ability - or willingness - to rent out her uterus. Despite the persistence of fundamentalist extremists who might argue otherwise, motherhood is increasingly becoming more of a choice and no longer the only available path.
My childlessness can be attributed to a combination of not meeting the so-called "Mr. Right" and a long series of choices that have resulted in a rather rootless and nomadic life. More importantly, however, I’ve never wanted children. I'm not comfortable around them and the little leeches require more attention than I am willing to give. I guess it's safe to say I’m way too selfish to be bothered with the needs of a child.
With that being said, this article really resonated with me and put into words some of the feelings that I have been dealing with for the past few months. Unlike the author, I don't spend nights weeping into my pillow grieving over the realization that I probably will never have a child; but, as I find myself nearing “the change”, and it becomes increasingly more difficult to conceive, I do feel as if I am mourning something. I don't know if it is hormonal or the persistence of traditional expectations taking up space in my brain, but I feel as if I am missing out on a part of me, as a woman at the very, very basic, evolutionary level. Whatever it is, it is definitely messing with my head.
My choice to not have kids (or at least delay the process) is valid and definitely a positive thing and the purpose of this post is not to denigrate any woman who makes the same choice (or who is unable to bear children), nor is it to make motherhood into the most significant aspect of a woman’s life. It’s very definitely not. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that being a woman is weird.
I don’t know if the choices I have made in my life were the right ones. Maybe I am missing out on something. I dunno. Since George Clooney has yet to come-a-knocking at my door, it's becoming less likely the world will ever see a radical Kung Fu goddess burst forth from my mommy parts. It’s kind of a shame, really. She would have been totally badass.