I wanted to add some clarification to my post yesterday.
We all know that people look at us, both within the ALI community and from outside it, and assume that because we didn’t adopt, or take other measures to ensure that we would have children, then we obviously chose not to. (I’ve written about this before, here – and Justine just wrote a great post here too.) So no kidding women (women without children), regardless of how we got here, are all tarred with the same brush. And therefore I was not so concerned with the article’s focus on women who choose not to have children (after all, it is the author’s prerogative to focus where she chooses, and she clearly expressed this in the title). But I was concerned with with the assumption that if women choose not to be mothers, then obviously they would not have been very good mothers.
And it was that condescending "there, there, weren't you clever not to become a mother" attitude, with the hidden implication that "you" would have been awful at it, that disturbed me. Because I think that women who think through their decisions* and weigh up what they want and don’t want, and are prepared to stand up for their beliefs when it is not easy or popular to do so, well, I think these women could be great mothers. It’s just something they didn’t choose.
Choosing not to be a mother doesn’t mean a woman wouldn’t be great at it anyway, anymore than choosing to be a mother (or accidentally becoming one) means they would be great at it. I mean, look around! But the article didn’t recognise this. In fact its entire premise was the opposite. And that’s what disturbed me, and motivated me to write.
* kudos to my husband, who made this point on a morning walk yesterday.