Men who want to get you pregnant

// 19 August 2008

If a woman doesn’t hatch a sprog by the time she reaches 35 her ovaries begin to vibrate. What, didn’t you know? They start purring like a pair of pagers belonging to doctors working on call on the very same night binge drinking has been made compulsory and every car dealership throughout the land is offering free, unsupervised test-drives of their most expensive, fastest cars to all their customers. They begin slowly, getting faster and faster, rivalling your most powerful vibrator until, one day, they flash red and self-destruct, exploding like a tin of beans in a microwave taking with them any chance of you ever getting in the family way.

Whether this is founded in fact or the anecdotal depends on who you talk to. The press says yes. Of course. And did you not realise that once you embark on your third decade on this mortal coil all sexual contact is plagued by an incessant hissing reminiscent of a lit taper, as your womb begins to spin round and round like a Catherine wheel, spitting out ripe, yet unfertilised eggs? It’s a tabloid fact. Your friends say, no way! Your womb could cough out fresh-faced babes with the best of ‘em should you wish to lie back and think of England (or Scotland or Ireland or Wales or anywhere else in the world of your choosing). Science disagrees, and says you are too old, too young, too fat, too thin and too career-orientated to be a suitable vessel to bring man’s seed to fruition. And what do you say? Well, a good percentage of women, like me, probably go down the route of just not caring. While the media and family members try to centralise fertility as the most important facet of your being, there are a number of us who resent the idea that our existence and achievements will only be validated by getting up the duff.

There’s nothing wrong with yearning for a baby and, of course, each birth is a celebration of the wonders of the female body because, let’s face it, if something the size of a bowling ball can be squeezed out from “down there” it should be commended (I know I would want, nay expect, the biggest shiniest tackiest medal in the world ever, ever, ever, and be down right pissed off it I didn’t get it). But deciding not to have a baby should be considered an equally acceptable choice, without every woman who revels in her child-free life being greeted with the same pitiful and knowing smiles (“too single to get pregnant,” “too fat/thin to be a mother,” “what’s wrong with her? She must be infertile,” “her boyfriend’s/husband’s pants are too tight and too polyester,” “that’s why she works so much, but a career’s the only thing she’s got,” “it’s not like she’s got a good job to keep her occupied, she must be devastated,” etc…you get the picture…), because the default reaction is to always assume that if you don’t have a child, or aspirations of becoming a mother in the not too distant future, this is a consequence of physical/personality “defects,” rather than a conscious decision.

While from a personal perspective I am amenable to the idea that my opinions may change as I get older, at present I cannot envisage a time when I will want children. Babies are cute. I like holding them and feeding them from bottles. I like cuddling them, and watching them smile as I trace a finger around their tubby little faces, but I don’t want one. I like them because they are a novelty and I don’t have to change their nappies. I can give them back within minutes (or more commonly seconds – I have woken up horrified and sweaty at the thought of accidentally dropping a friend’s baby, so much so I only try to be around them in well-cushioned areas) should their faces start to crumple all smooth and soft and wrinkleless like folded dough, signalling that they are about to cry, scream and/or throw-up. I am not maternal at all, and so it would not make sense for me to start knitting booties and actively sniffing out a prospective sperm donor, because it’s not what I want. I like the uncertainty of my life. I like that I can do what I want, when I want, and that my money is my own to spend how I see fit. I’m inclined to say I’m selfish, but I’m not. How can I be? I’m not in a relationship with a partner who wants a baby/a mortgage/a pair of guinea pigs called Bubble & Squeak we can share on weekends. I have no responsibilities. I’m a single, child-free woman, just doing my thing, keeping it real, chilling, spending, and loving it, but what if I met and became besotted in love with someone who didn’t share my family planning ideals? Someone with whom I wanted to spend all my time with, maybe even the rest of my life with, until the subject of ze future reared its unpredictably ugly head and I found that despite the strength of my feelings I was unable to be receptive to my partner’s demands to have a baby? Would that make me selfish? And should the “do you want babies? I don’t want babies…” conversation then be a prerequisite before any relationship can develop beyond the first couple of did-it-hurt-when-you-fell-from-heaven chat-up lines? Because despite media pressures and family pressures, what about the men who want to get you pregnant? They are out there. Those you meet, commit to, tell you are not maternal, only to find they are expecting you to have their baby, romantically labouring all along under the assumption that, despite your explicit proclamation that you DO NOT WANT BABIES, they could convince you otherwise?

Having not been in a long-term relationship (and perhaps not being of an age where this would be a great issue) I’ve not had personal experience of this kind of emotional pressure, but this does happen. But how common is this phenomenon of the overly “broody” male? And is it a phenomenon as such, or something that’s always been hidden behind the male use of gross sexual innuendo and generic penchant for photo-shopped daguerreotypes of big naked breasts? Do men try to force women to have children behind closed doors? By which I mean, are there women out there who are embroiled in some form of emotional turmoil, wondering if they will have to sacrifice their partner, or their personal lifestyle choices to maintain their relationships? Is the idea that men like to have sex with as many women as possible, irrespective of the consequences, and more likely to scarper as soon as they hear the word “late” (whether or not you happen to be stood at a bus stop at the time) just a fallacy? Do a lot of men, in fact, just want to settle down, and nest with their chosen lady? Are they, too, acutely aware of their need to procreate by a certain age, their genitals tingling at the thought as if their ball sacks are filled to bursting with sherbet and fizzy lemonade? And why is it then, that if a woman chooses not to concede to the demands of her partner, she’s vilified, considered cold and faulty, and the reason why the relationship has broken down? Probably because this suggests an inversion of social stereotypes. Only women want to get pregnant, men don’t. Only men like to sleep around, women don’t. Only women cry and beg their partner’s to give them a baby, men don’t. Not true, not true. Not. True.

Just a short amount of searching on a London ad website (on which, I was told, it’s possible to get anything from a hair cut to a dinner date and a second-hand copy of the Goonies) yielded this, this and this, showcasing three men who are willing to offer their “help” to women to get them pregnant, with one ad in particular tinged with pitiful desperation. How sweet! And who said romance was dead, eh? But do these men deserve sympathy? Or are they just victims of their own vanity, assuming that they are so virile that any woman would want to gestate their spawn? Are they just plain offensive? I’m inclined to say the latter, but think each case needs to be assessed individually. While some undoubtedly just think any woman should feel privileged to have them ejaculate inside her, others may genuinely want a child, obviously convinced that getting a woman pregnant is the epitome of male biological achievement, which in itself is very sad. But can men such as these ever be given credibility, when they are expecting a woman to basically relinquish control of her body just so that they can point their erect cocks at her swollen body and smile with pride as they say “I did that.” Err, no thanks. But I wonder how widespread this is, which is why I wanted to write this piece, motivated in part by a recent advice piece in a women’s glossy magazine:

I’m 28 and my boyfriend is 32. We’ve been together for six years, we love each other and talk about our future – but he wants kids and I don’t. He thinks I’ll change my mind but I don’t want to pin his hopes on it. The thought of having a baby terrifies me – I’m too selfish and would make a terrible mum. I don’t want him to miss out on a family but I can’t bear the thought of splitting up.

So, the advice? Don’t doubt yourself, do what you feel most comfortable with. Nope. Perhaps you need to sit your partner down and discuss with him why he devalues your opinions by assuming you are so fickle that you will soon concede to his wishes. Nope. While you don’t want your partner to “miss out on a family” consider whether you want to experience pregnancy and childbirth and probably be the sole carer for a sticky-tape baby, born for no reason other than to bolster your relationship. Nope. Rather, the agony aunt tells this woman that she should seek counselling to determine why she feels this way, before the old favourite of pseudo-psychologists/psychotherapists is wheeled out: “Was the relationship with your mother rocky?” A warning is also offered: “if you decide to continue with your childless relationship, there could be a price to pay in the future.” Shit. That sounds ominous. Even the use of the word “childless” implies that her life is not as fulfilling as it could be and that she is in some ways depriving herself of a great pleasure, as opposed to “child-free”, which would suggest possibility and opportunity, and an existence liberated from the shackles of the womb. Having read that I’m left feeling like I should have a baby myself right here, right now, even though no one has begged me to be his baby’s mama! Why the guilt trip? Why the suggestion that the woman who asked for advice will be, in effect, letting her partner down? Hasn’t he simultaneously let her down by putting her in a position where she has to choose and failing to accept her standpoint? Why the suggestion of counselling? Why the overt suggestion that yes, she is in the wrong? What with all this emphasis on fertility a girl can’t help but think this is part of some evil government ploy to distract us women from thinking about all the injustices we face daily, and instead force us to develop an unnecessary preoccupation with our ovaries and menstrual cycles just so we can more-or-less be herded-up and forced into huge sheds like battery chickens, where the wolf-whistle of any passing mail is likely to make us drop a string of young uns without even blinking.

I don’t want children. A number of my female friends share my disinterest, but I don’t think we need to seek counselling. Why would we? Oh, because if you don’t want babies, apparently there is something wrong with you. And if you don’t want babies when your man is sensitive enough and considerate enough to selflessly offer-up his services to impregnate you, then sorry, my love, you are apparently past helping. Don’t worry if he’s replacing your birth control pills with tic-tacs, or has jabbed so many holes in your supply of condoms that you could use them as colliders, he just wants to be a father. This is a prevailing belief that probably has it’s genesis in gender archetypes as well as the identification of a psychological condition called Tokophobia, in 2000, which is simply defined as a fear of childbirth. Having read two articles here and here about Tokophobia, I can appreciate that this can be very distressing for diagnosed sufferers. Some women are scared of pregnancy or even the possibility of getting pregnant. Others cannot abide the idea of giving birth, so much so that the very idea provokes a panic attack. So what? Some women feel that they were born with the intention of giving birth, and yet they are not considered to be “malfunctioning” in any way, just because this is what we are supposed to do. Why, then, has the female psyche been pathologised in this way? Why does science always assess every woman against the desperate-for-children template? Why are women who feel strongly that they could not cope with pregnancy forced to take a label that basically implies that they are somehow anomalous for their sex, and as such are victims of a “psychological condition” for which they have to seek help and are forced to feel a shame so deep that they cannot speak about this openly? Why is there a continuous need for society and academia to categorise women in this sort of way – either as normal, wanting children, or abnormal, not wanting children? Why is it that the contents of our lower abdomens seem to be such a source of controversy? And is it not possible that the greatest problem women who are diagnosed with Tokophobia have is the lack of acceptance of their choices by wider soceity. Some of us want children. Some of us don’t. There’s rarely more to it than that. It’s about choice. Can it not just be as simple as that? And are the men who want to get us pregnant ever going to be worthy of credibility? Probably not. Have you ever been forced to try and get pregnant by a male partner? Or at least been subject to unnecessary pressure concerning the need to procreate? What do you think?

Comments From You

Rachael // Posted 19 August 2008 at 8:17 pm

Another great post, Abby!! For my part – I am 36 – wouldn’t “vibrating ovaries” be marvellous?? I’d never need to buy the plastic kind again!

I have thought about having babies…but I cannot say that it has become more urgent for me as I have reached my thirties. Although EVERY bloke who knows me keeps on reminding me that “time is running out”! Do me a favour!!

Jen // Posted 19 August 2008 at 8:18 pm

Interesting – I’ve just broken up with my fiance, partly for this reason. I don’t know if I want kids, and at 23 I don’t think I should have to make that decision yet. He, however, was all about the babies – how many shall we have? Boys or girls? What shall we call them? – and assumed that as soon as we were married, babies would quickly follow. I only once got up the courage to say I didn’t know how I felt about kids, and you should have seen his face. So yeah, I’ve felt hugely pressured to get pregnant, or at least to want to get pregnant. It’s now quite a relief to be able to exist in a happy state of Not Caring Yet.

earlgreyrooibos // Posted 19 August 2008 at 9:23 pm

When my partner and I first got together, he wanted children, and I was on the fence about it. Over time, I decided that I was definitely childfree. I had never really wanted children to begin with. The only reason I was on the fence about it is because compulsory motherhood had been beaten into my head for my entire life, and it wasn’t until I was 21 that I realized that children were a choice. So I never experienced direct pressure from anyone specific, but I got lots of indirect pressure from just about every aspect of my life.

Anyway, my partner and I almost broke up, until he decided that he’d rather be with me than be with someone else and be a father. Several times during our engagement, I kept asking him if he was sure. I didn’t want him to be with me if he really wanted children. But he knows I’m not going to change my mind, and he has never pressured me. And now we’re married. And he can take out his paternal instincts on all of our pets.

Fran // Posted 19 August 2008 at 9:30 pm

Friends are often shocked to discover that I haven’t given a great deal of thought to whether or not I have children. I’m 20, for God’s sake. When I ventured that I probably won’t have children at all, one said “oh yeah, you’re a feminist.” As if all women are so naturally disposed to want babies that a woman who doesn’t really care has to be making a conscious ideological stand rather than just, well, not really caring. I suppose I’ll see the error of my ways in a few years when my ovaries start vibrating!

Donna // Posted 19 August 2008 at 11:40 pm

Very interesting post. I am 47 and I am like Fran in that I haven’t given it a whole lot of thought over the years. I just knew that I did not want to be a single parent for a large variety of reasons. Having said that I then did not spend a whole lot of time looking for someone to be the other half of a parenting equation. I had too many other things to do. So here I am, child-free (except for my furry children) and a life full of life. No regrets.

LauraR // Posted 19 August 2008 at 11:51 pm

Not wanting children does not make a woman selfish in any shape or form. I have one small child and have another on the way, but it was my choice and my choice alone in both cases. I was/am not under any pressure from any man because I am single. And I certainly do not consider myself to be a ‘lesser’ feminist because I have made the decision to become a mother.

@earlgreyrooibos – that’s a really nice story. Good on ya (and your bloke).

shatterboxx // Posted 20 August 2008 at 12:17 am

1. I am terrified of the very IDEA of being pregnant, giving birth or raising a child.

2. I am 21 so the only response I have ever had to this is ‘awwwww, you’ll change your mind! you’re still young blah blah’

3. While I can at least admit this is a very very slight possibility I resent the implication that the default setting for a woman is to want to have children.

4. When I was with my ex he spoke about ‘him getting me pregnant’ as if it was a) a possibility and b) something I would automatically want. We were together barely six months.

5. I feel uncomfortable about a lot of male attitudes to pregnancy and childbirth. Check this out, it’s from the latest issue of Psychologies, a male perspective on marriage: ‘Marriage is not a natural state for men. I believe we’re hard-wired to have children with as many women as possible, and so it doesn’t feel natural to commit. But we still do and I will, too, when the time comes, because it is the best environment for children and it’s what women want. But for me, marriage goes against my instinct and I think that’s true for lots of men. A good example of this mindset is a friend of mine who married last year. His wife fell pregnant soon after their wedding and he found that, despite being committed to his partner, when he looked at other women his first thought was ‘I could make you pregnant’. His urge was natural. It may be against society’s norms, but it felt right to him. I imagine it’ll be the same for me.’

Er… EW.

Rhona // Posted 20 August 2008 at 12:34 am

Interesting to see this post against the new feature by Ruth.

I think the issues surrounding children and motherhood are areas where women can be guilty of rubbing one another up the wrong way, pitting mothers against childfree and vice versa.

I am childfree by choice and I’m no apologist – I don’t like children, being around them makes me uncomfortable and I find ‘child-centric’ company tiresome.

However, while I have no problem with people who do want to have kids, they seem to have a problem with ME – as though not liking children makes you some kind of amoral freak, high on selfish pleasure and too much disposable income.

Here’s the thing – I like cats, but when I meet somebody who doesn’t like cats, I respect their feelings. I do not try to force them to hold my cat, ask them if they’re planning to get a cat or tell them their feelings will be different when they have a cat of their own.

I think one of the reasons we are seeing the rise of the ‘militant childfree’ is because those of us who choose not to have children are becomingly genuinely fed up of living in a society that is increasingly geared towards children. For example, I’ll admit I do use words like ‘breeder’ to describe a certain type of parent (most commonly, but not exclusively, middle class mothers).

In her article, Ruth says she finds it offensive when such terms are used by the childfree – but the fact is that many of us have faced so much hostility and downright rudeness over our choice to remain childfree (including highly invasive questions about our sex lives, often from people we’ve never met before) that we choose ‘attack as the best form of defence’.

Personally, I would rather see respect on both sides and a lot more live and let live. If parents see raising their children as The Most Important Job in the World, then it would be nice if they would realise that my career and my lifestyle are equally important to me.

Actually, the next time somebody asks me why I don’t have kids, I might just turn it around and ask them why they DO. ;)

Apostrophe Police // Posted 20 August 2008 at 9:26 am

“Only women cry and beg their partner’s to give them a baby, men don’t” !!!!!

Sarah // Posted 20 August 2008 at 9:32 am

My boyfriend and I would both like to be parents, however the difference is that he places great importance on a child being genetically ‘his’, whereas I would be just as happy to try to adopt rather than try to get pregnant (though I realise there’s no guarantee of success either way). Obviously part of the difference is that having our ‘own’ baby is more of an inconvenience to me, to say the least!

I can see that there are advantages to doing it the natural way, in many ways it’s easier and more straightforward, apart from the pregnancy/birth. I just don’t feel any need for my child to be genetically related to me, it’s just not something I have any particular feelings about or place any significance on, and all other things being equal, I’d obviously prefer not to go through pregnancy if I don’t have to.

Qubit // Posted 20 August 2008 at 9:50 am

I imagine Tokophobia is very different from not wanting children it would be a fear of actually being pregnant or giving birth. This would be quite a serious condition for people who did want children but couldn’t go through the pregnancy stage due to fear so shouldn’t be dismissed.

My boyfriend and ex have always found the idea of having children very important to them. It seems to be about passing on their genes as well as a genuine desire to have and bring up kids. I have been ensured that they are happy not to have children but I still wonder if they are clinging onto the hope that I will change my mind.

The most interesting thing about it that differs from a relationship where a woman wants children but the man doesn’t is the assumption that I will be the primary parent. While I would consider taking a secondary parent role, I don’t believe my boyfriend would be happy being a primary parent. This is possibly because men haven’t been bought up to think they have a choice between children and career or that they should sacrifice many of the things in their life for their kids.

While I can’t truly understand why people would want children I can certainly respect the fact they do. I don’t think primary parents have it easy or are anti-feminist.

Sabre // Posted 20 August 2008 at 10:00 am

My boyfriend and I are both 25 and are quite scared of having children, although we would both like to be parents one day, and grandparents too (the grumpy kind that embarass the kids). So we’re fairly happy with our state of uncertainty, we both get a bit broody when we see small tots in the park but agreed we’d rather our friends or siblings had some kids that we could play with and give back. So there isn’t pressure from my boyfriend and although he has started talking about babies a bit, it would be unfair of me to criticise that as if it was me being broody and him being annoyed I’d be pretty pissed off. The fact is that both men and women get broody.

There is some pressure from my family. He is the youngest of his siblings, and a man (so no pressure at all) whereas I’m the oldest, female and from an asian family. Murmers have started eminating from my mother and aunt about marriage and children, it’s seems they’re concerned about my ovaries drying up, having read too many worry-articles. Apparently they were patient when I went to university, then more patient when I started working, and now I’ve been working for 3 years they’re starting to wonder when I’m going to pop a sprog (but of course marriage has to come first!) Surely I can’t REALLY be that interested in having a career?

Like many women I am petrified of the thought of having children. The pain of childbirth is nothing compared to the terror of being responsible for another human being, forever. I’m really not mature or unselfish enough for that.

Aimee // Posted 20 August 2008 at 11:28 am

Um… Whilst I completely agree with this post and think that women who don’t want children are just that and not remotely abnormal or wrong, having children myself, I rather resent terms like ‘breeder’. Choosing to have children is an equally valid choice as choosing not to and no one should ever be villified or subject to derogatory terms due to their personal choices. Similarly, I resent the kind of people who roll their eyes and whine at you because you’ve mentioned your child. Obviously, harping on about them day and night and talking about nothing else is extreme, but being labelled a doting, mad eyed, sick covered mother just because you’ve mentioned something amusing that your child has done is equally offensive as being labelled cold because you’re not interested in procreating. Personally, I have experience of both issues… I never really wanted children. They were not planned. I am happy that they are here now, but I wouldn’t have chosen it for myself. I know what it’s like to be told that i’ll change my mind etc. I also know what it’s like to be labelled because I DO have children. Neither are nice and neither are fair, so can we please refrain from using terms like ‘breeder’, because they are equally as offensive as any other women orientated terms.

JENNIFER DREW // Posted 20 August 2008 at 11:52 am

One very important aspect which is often overlooked is that ‘men do not give women babies.’ Women are not incubators for men’s sperm. The reproductive process involves both the egg and sperm, yet still we hear claims that ‘men give women babies.’ A woman’s internal reproductive process plays at least 50% in the reproductive process. Yet, we constantly hear the refrain women are incubators and their sole purpose is to give birth to men’s children. Which is one of the reasons why women are still subjected to intense pressure to give ‘birth to men’s children.’ Women are supposedly not complete until they have reproduced a man’s child. (sic). But some women have always rebelled from this male-centered view and refused to have children. So what is wrong if a woman says ‘I do not want children.’ Answer is because it threatens male power that is why. Women are supposed to be incubators and nothing else – unless of course they are men’s sexualised commodities.

As a feminist said once, if men were to give birth there would be no children. Says it all I think. Women should not be pathologised because they do not want children or they are afraid of the process of pregnancy and childbirth. We are not one-dimensional despite patriarchal claims women are x and men are y. It is never that simple.

Emily // Posted 20 August 2008 at 12:32 pm

Very interesting post, Abby. I read Ruth’s article too, and while I agree with much of what she says, I just wish that some mothers would have a bit of respect for women who aren’t mothers, instead of being bitchy and judgemental and totally invading their privacy, and basically thinking they aren’t full human beings deserving of rights.

Rachael // Posted 20 August 2008 at 12:52 pm

Apostrophe Police: whaaaaatever!! I have never “cried and begged a man to give me kids”! I have self-esteem! In fact – most of my exes have been more interested in children than me so less of the sexism.

lindsey spilman // Posted 20 August 2008 at 1:09 pm

I have known since the age of 11 that I do not want children, I am now 27 and this opinion is only getting stronger, at present I am at that single and happy stage anyway. I have also never been willing to take the pill, as I do not see why I should have the natural chemistry of my body altered. When I was 19 I had a boyfriend who I knew at the time was not going to be long term. This was because he was one of those that rattled on about his paternal instinct. I opted to have an IUD inserted. Yes I managed to convince a doctor to give a 19 year old girl who has not had a baby an IUD!. Then I dumped this guy after a few more months, I then went through the phase where I thought that all men were after babies. I even started feeling sorry for women who had kids and wondered if they had been pushed into it. A few months later I met another guy and he had been vasectomised! He had had it done at a young age. Why? Because he was married to a woman who wanted lots of kids and he didn’t! This was his way of putting a lid on it. There was an age difference between us which was probably why we did not last much more then a year. But at least I found out that there are men out there who do not want to become fathers. But at the end of the day they do not have to carry the baby, so many of these men farther them and clear off after wards. Women do not have that option so are more likely to be more vocal about not wanting children.

I can remember been called selfish by my mother at the time for not wanting children. My response to her was that if she wanted grandchildren she should have had more then one child to increase her odds. I did used to wonder in myself if I was selfish. Then I read a book called the selfish gene. After reading that, I began to think the opposite, all reproduction does is propagate your own DNA, maternal instinct translates to guard your genome instinct. The world population is growing, and if everyone had lots of kids there would not be enough resources for every one. Mass deaths would then occur from disease and famine. So if ever someone who had lots of children tells you that you should do the same. Tell them you are indirectly doing them a favour, as the natural resources your genetic off spring would have taken up will be available for there’s! This one works for me every time. Even try telling them you have an altruistic genome. That’s a genome that is not out to propagate it’s self at the expense of the planet.

Ruth Moss // Posted 20 August 2008 at 1:36 pm

I think this blog entry makes a very important point about how women and our choices are seen as public property.

In my article some of you have mentioned, I put out a plea for feminists to be thoughtful about some of the language they used to describe mothers.

“Up the duff” / “hatch a sprog” – are they just jokey phrases or have they been used too often by men to put women down, to be used in a feminist context?

“Breeders” (in comments) is offensive. But I understand the frustration behind it.

I also think that the blanket statement “I don’t like children” (in comments) is a little unfair. Can you think of any other set of humans where you can freely say “I don’t like them”?

I am not sure society *is* increasingly geared towards children. Try getting on a bus with a pram, washing a child’s hands in the adult-height sink (mentioned by a respondant to my article), breastfeeding a noisy toddler in a restaurant… but if society *is* becoming increasingly geared towards children – good – children are people too and should be able to access services other people can.

But at the same time – I can totally see the point here in that women who choose not to have children have come to expect to have their entire life and motives called into question.

It is like being public property!

And yet, how often is a man, who does not have children, questioned about his reasons? Rarely if ever.

And that is how it should be – so surely that should be extended to women, too?

And it isn’t only those without children or who do not want them who are questioned and become public property.

For all the questioner knows, the woman in question might have been trying to conceive for years and years and not been able to. How upsetting to be repeatedly asked “why not?”

And as soon as you have had one child, “so when’s number two?”

What if you only want one? Then you are selfish for not giving your child a sibling. And what if you want a second child but aren’t able to conceive again? What if you want a long age gap between siblings?

In fact your reasons shouldn’t have to be anyone’s business but yours. Just like your reasons for not wanting a child shouldn’t have to be anyone’s business but yours.

*Everyone* suffers in a society where women and our choices are seen as public property. That’s why it’s so important to work *together*.

Cockney Hitcher // Posted 20 August 2008 at 2:24 pm

I’ve never been pressured to procreate by any specific person (thank goodness), but I feel the general societal pressure to do so. It is such an ingrained assumption that all women want children and all women who are able to have children will inevitably do so. The view that the childfree are selfish is ridiculous. I imagine that most people who have children nowadays in the UK do so because they WANT to rather than because they are inspired by altruism and self-sacrifice. Why is that want any less selfish than the desire to not have children?

Ruth Moss said: I also think that the blanket statement “I don’t like children” (in comments) is a little unfair. Can you think of any other set of humans where you can freely say “I don’t like them”?

I agree. I used to feel really angry as a child when I came across people who ‘didn’t like children’. Like adults, children are individuals with different personalities, not a homogenous group.

Rachael // Posted 20 August 2008 at 5:44 pm

Sorry – again I disagree. I don’t see any problem with not liking children. Perhaps they are individuals and have different personalities….but they can also scream in shops and other public places and because they are children, parents sometimes just let them. They can also be annoying and clingy- and they are characteristics that many children display so I think it is valid to not want to be around them or to not like them.

Sarah Louisa Phythian-Adams // Posted 20 August 2008 at 5:53 pm

Men have always pressured women to have babies! It’s in the nature of the Patriarchy. It was why virginity was so prized (and therefore conditioned into women) – so that the proud patriarch can be assured of their heir!

The problem with men wanting babies these days is that with increasing self-determination in women, they can no longer fool us that THEY are doing US a favour by us stressing our bodies (and lives) to create something in the image of them!

Cynical – me!?

LauraR // Posted 20 August 2008 at 7:03 pm

I also resent the term ‘breeder’. It’s an -ism, like any other. I don’t resent other women who decide not to have children; but that doesn’t make your decision any less valid than mine.

I would also take issue with the commentator who said they are ‘fed up of living in a society that is increasingly geared towards children’. Firstly, this is rubbish, as those of us with children are only too aware. Secondly, children are a huge part of society so why shouldn’t society be geared towards them as much as any other human being? Thirdly, there is absolutely no way on this earth that statement could be used to talk about any other maligned section of society, so why is it acceptable to talk about children that way?

Jennifer-Ruth // Posted 20 August 2008 at 8:26 pm

Ruth – I also dislike it when people blanket state that they don’t like children. Basically because there isn’t another group of people that you can put into a box like that and get away with making such a statement (“I don’t like women” “I don’t like Asians” etc.)

Children are people too and often very worthy of your time.

I am undecided if I want to have children myself or not. I have five nieces, one nephew and another nephew on the way. Plenty of children to devote my time to! At the moment I would say that I wouldn’t have children myself, but I wouldn’t like to second-guess how I will feel in 5 years time (I am 26). However, I don’t for a second think this means that other women can’t be sure and I fully respect a woman’s decision that she will remain childfree no matter how old she is.

Hazel // Posted 20 August 2008 at 9:24 pm

Rachael, I think your comments contravene rule 6 of this blog’s rules i.e. “Be nice.”

Just because some parents let some children behave badly is a pretty poor justification for a blanket dislike of all children.

As Ruth says, can you imagine saying that about any other set of people in society?

We wouldn’t tolerate blanket dismissals of women or men or old people or [insert group] so why is this tolerated?

Mark Headey // Posted 20 August 2008 at 9:49 pm

Funnily enough, recently I /was/ asked whether my child-free status bothered me.

I once asked an aunt if she’d ever felt pressured into having children (she didn’t have any) and she said not, and she died years ago. So, it’s not that new a phenomenon.

I know 3 women who adamantly state they do not want children and all are in their mid/late 30s. Unfortunately, I can’t say whether they’ve ever been pressured by friends or family, but they all give the appearance that, were it to happen, they’d give the person a piece of their mind for their presumption.

Ruth - not the author // Posted 20 August 2008 at 10:02 pm

Um, Rachael, Apostrophe Police was not making a statement about women and babies, she was quoting a line in the article which had a misplaced apostrophe…

Emily: “some mothers” DO have respect for the choice of not having children, in fact I personally don’t know even one mother (and I know many mothers) who does not. You may have had bad experiences, but to tar all mothers (instead of, for example, saying you wish *more* mothers were supportive, which would be fair enough) with the brush of those limited experiences is both inaccurate and unfair.

Amity // Posted 20 August 2008 at 10:51 pm

Rachael obviously strongly dislikes children at least in part because she does not understand them. Otherwise she would know that being ‘annoying and clingy’ — and, yes, sometimes shouting in shops — are all part of normal child development and behaviour and that we all acted as such when we were kids ourselves.

I don’t know why so many people have such unrealistic expectations of children, as if they were just small adults. Surely if a parent was forced to maintain constant ‘control’ of their child while in public so they did not utter a peep or bring any attention to themselves, they would be doing so through intimidation, bullying and physical threat or actual harm, at least when they are very young and not able to understand the concept of social etiquette. Is that the kind of parenting you would prefer?

And ‘breeder’ and ‘sprogs’ and other derogatory terms relating to pregnancy, birth or child-rearing need to go. They have no place in a truly feminist sphere. If you want respect you have to give it as well. Attacking mothers as a defense against asinine comments you are bound to get from people about being child-free is no excuse. I could just as easily say that I’m tired of being labeled a brainless baby-making machine for choosing to have children and stay at home with them. And yes, I am still a feminist. In fact, even more so now than before because I have been on both sides of the fence. Those of us who have children have experienced being child-free *and* being mothers. Unless you can say the same, I’d lay off the assumptions and -isms.

Kristy // Posted 21 August 2008 at 12:49 am

I don’t understand why these two issues need to compete? To me it is one and the same thing! Public ownership of our ovaries.

Every choice relating to our bodies as women are criticised and judged especially those regarding the use or non use of our ovaries – they are public property apparently for the future of the human race.

A lot of us would fit into these categories:

Never want children – labelled selfish

Want children but not yet – tolerated for a while then labelled selfish, especially if left it ‘too’ late and have to ‘resort’ to other ways of conceiving

Mother of one – is that a second baby bump yet or just excess weight?

Working Mother – labelled selfish for working and obviously neglecting their children at home

Mother of more than 3 children – labelled selfish for having so many (cause everyone can control how many they have of course)

Mother in general – criticised for letting baby scream in shops, criticised for telling child off in shops for screaming…

Basically we are all labelled selfish and constantly criticised for everything, it doesn’t need to be two issues competing for attention separated into two groups: mothers and women who chose not to be mothers.

Some of us have been in both the situations – not wanting to have children at all and labelled that way with an attached “she’ll change her mind”, then one day changing our minds/falling pregnant accidentally then come out the: “i told you so!” and forever onwards labelled a mother rather than a professional who happens to have a child – a victim of both situations!

just a thought.

Rachael // Posted 21 August 2008 at 9:16 am

Hazel – if I had contravened any rules then I am sure my comment would not have been put on. And er yes….people critisise each other all the time. I have every right to critisise children and parents if I wish.

Having worked with abused children, I have seen hundreds of desperate children who deserve decent homes. They do not get their because adults are all fired-up about having “their own”. To me that is selfish. Did you know that there are more people who are members of animal protection groups than children’s? So what does that say about our species if we think less of our own young? Of course animals need protection too but if we care so much about our own children then why is that so?

The environment has been all but destroyed and we we over-populated.

Amity // Posted 21 August 2008 at 7:36 pm

I have to say, I find it rather disturbing that you claim to not like children, Rachael, but say you’ve worked with ones who have been abused. I truly hope that for their sake you were able to disguise your distaste for them while doing this work. Otherwise, you might have done even more harm to them than they had already experienced. Abused kids are pretty good at picking up on adults’ dislike of them. The last thing they need is to get that vibe from someone meant to be helping them.

Shea // Posted 21 August 2008 at 7:42 pm

Rachael I think its a little more complex than that– though I share your concerns about overpopulation and environmental destruction. The major problem results not from the number of babies being born, (there are in fact fewer than during the post war baby boom) but that life expectancy has extended so dramatically. I don’t think it has to be an either or with animal/environmental protection versus human rights either- thats a fairly anthropocentric viewpoint.

From my perspective they are interlinked. Concern about human rights and resource allocation impinges on environmental protection and animal welfare.

I agree with above commentators– I think if anything our society is reverting to being much less child friendly than it ever was. There is a neo-Victorian expectation that children should be seen and not heard which is repugnant. If there were similar levels of intolerance and prejudice against any other group, it would be rightly called out for the discrimination it is.

I agree with the above commentators who rightly noted it is about public ownership of women’s reproductive and generative capabilities. (And increasingly about private ownership if we look at the market in IVF and regenerative medicine– all of which require womens ova).

Rachael // Posted 21 August 2008 at 9:21 pm

I agree with you Shea in many ways – and I would like to apologize for the last comment – I was ranting because I was angry! And also apologies for not checking my spelling!

I was just angry that I could not express my own personal opinion on children. And I stick by it….but again, sorry for the rant.

Sabre // Posted 22 August 2008 at 10:14 am

I’d say that any country where breast-feeding in public is illegal is not particularly child (or mother) friendly.

Mothers generally do not get enough respect, especially working class and single mothers. Screaming kids in public tend to attract glares, whereas in many other countries children really are seen as a blessing, and even strangers want to talk to them, play with them and chat to the parents. Notice how if a man is out with a child he gets admiring looks, and if the child is screaming he gets sympathetic looks. If it’s a woman she tends to get disapproving looks more, i.e. why can’t you control your child? And the mother usually compounds this by looking guilty. This is from personal observation anyway.

I think part of my fear of having children stems from a feminist fear of how I will be seen negatively by society and other feminists. It shouldn’t be that way. A classic rule of war is ‘divide and conquer’, and separating motherhood from feminism ensures we don’t really work together against oppression – and that’s how some people want it to stay.

As for terminology, I didn’t realise that sprogs and tots are bad terms because I actually like kids and use those terms endearingly. They’re cute, but I can accept that some people don’t like them. Terms for mothers such as ‘breeder’ are far worse because they define a woman solely by her choice to have children and also make her sound like a machine.

Charlotte // Posted 22 August 2008 at 12:04 pm

Firstly, I.Love.You! This is the first blog I’ve read from you – you’ve voiced my EXACT sentiments on me being anti-pregnancy/kids/typical gender stereotypes, ugh!

I’m 21 and the ONLY girl within my group of friends who despises the idea of having children. I can barely tolerate them as it is, they don’t really like me anyway.

Everytime I say, ‘No, I don’t want kids’, they do the whole defensive/nervous ‘Surely not!’ laugh, the ‘Oh you silly thing!’ side glance…’but ONE DAY, right?’, er, nooo!

They coo over children, heck one even said the dreaded ‘ I was born to have kids…’ line. Vomit, clap clap for you though, because I don’t.

I just want them to coolly accept my choice, instead of silently judging me as to whyyy. arghh. It’s all about free choice, damnit!

Wonderful blog.

Anna // Posted 22 August 2008 at 2:04 pm

I’m completely the opposite and feel similarly ostracised – I want kids, I wouldn’t mind them now (I’m nineteen), and none of my friends want them at all.

Aimee // Posted 22 August 2008 at 5:17 pm

I agree with you all and I don’t wish for their to be any kind of animosity amongst women for any choice that they wish to make. If a woman chooses to have children… fine, if she doesn’t, fine. If she wants to stay at home, if she wants to work… all fine because they’re personal choices. Why should be apply labels to anyone because of the choices they’ve made… because those choices differ from choices that others might not make? It’s really upsetting that i’m finding this kind of unconscious resentment on a feminist website. I also agree that saying ‘I don’t like children’ is, in my opinion, unfair. We wouldn’t say ‘I don’t like black people’ or ‘I don’t like *insert generic demographic here*’, we women don’t want to be generalised and labeled as having a shared characteristic because we know we do not. Why should this not be the case for children?

Essentially, I don’t wish to be made to feel like i’m not a proper feminist because I have children. I don’t wish to be the recipient of scorn from women who don’t have children… this is completely contrary to what I consider feminsm to be about… for me, feminism is about the acceptance of individuality and personal choice, and I don’t think that some of the comments this thread reflect that idea.

Cara // Posted 22 August 2008 at 8:02 pm

Yeah – absolutely agree that having children or not is a personal choice that should not be judged. Both sides should lay off the insults.

I do agree with Rachel’s point about adoption. There are so many unwanted kids and it is justifiable to ask why more people don’t adopt, especially older kids. I am not sure the biological urge to have your “own” genetic children necessarily holds – “adoption” is well known to happen in animals such as elephants when the mother dies, and studies show that lots of men (can’t remember exact figure but it was a significant minority) are in fact bringing up another man’s biological child (oh, horrors! and as someone pointed out, much patriarchal evil is done to ensure kids are his).

Of course kids are people too and should participate in society – I guess society is not homogeneous. I don’t have a problem with that as long as there are adult-only spaces too. Not everywhere, but that’s important (as having women only and x ethnic group only spaces is).

I do have to confess, as a single girl, to finding *some* kids annoying. Yes I do understand kids are kids – but I was never allowed to scream and shout in public, etc. There is a difference between a tired or hyper kid being, well, a kid, and just plain bad behaviour that *should* be disciplined by the parent. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been bugged by kids on transport and in shops yelling and screaming, and I don’t mean babies, but kids old enough to talk.

The other day on the bus to work I was constantly annoyed by a kid sitting behind me kicking my seat and flailing around, his mother did nothing whatsoever. You don’t have to be cruel to discipline a kid – firmness works. A kid does not NEED to yell or kick someone’s seat. If a child is hyper they’ve been fed too much crap or not given enough exercise/ activities to do. If not they are just naughty and pushing the boundaries – kids do that, you know, they NEED someone on occasion to tell them firmly “we don’t do that” – and some parents do seem unable to discipline their kids these days, see Supernanny. My own mum agrees – she would not have allowed us to scream (again, not talking about babies who do not know better but kids old enough to control themselves). I remember well my little sister, at about 2, throwing a screaming tantrum on the way home from school, having collected my brother and I, and mum just walked away (not in a call social services way). She never did that again. Kids at 2 or 3 are not morons, they know when they are being bad and in fact need to learn self-control at that age – or when will they? If we’re going to respect children as people too, it seems patronising to say the poor dears can’t control themselves.

Cara // Posted 22 August 2008 at 8:20 pm

And also – it is not unreasonable to expect parents to exercise consideration in where they take kids, when. Like the other week, packed bus home from work full of commuters, already one buggy in – a woman shoved her way on, despite the driver saying he could only carry one buggy for safety reasons, making the bus even more unbearably sardine-like and delaying it while the driver refused to move off and they had a stand-off.

That woman got glares, I can tell you, and it wasn’t hating women with kids – it was just anger at that specific inconsiderate person.

Would it have been so hard for her to wait 5 minutes for the next bus?!

Also. If you go to Pizza Hut, a family film, or a child-friendly museum, you expect kids. But children should NOT be taken to nice restaurants, more adult-oriented films, art galleries etc. until they can behave or it ruins things for everyone else.

Cara // Posted 22 August 2008 at 8:25 pm

*Breathes* I didn’t mean that to sound like an anti-child or anti-parent rant. I do realise not all parents behave like this.

I should also add – there is way not enough support for parents to help them learn to be parents. It is not innate. In the old days it would have been grandparents around, relatives in general, friends, generally people – as the saying goes, it takes a village. The nuclear family is actually quite a recent invention – and I don’t think it works. 2 parents and 2.4 kids and no help from anyone else, not realistic.

Also avoids having to take a kid which is tired/ bored e.g. shopping, on transport at peak times, if the kid can be left with someone else while mum does the shopping.

tefelome // Posted 22 August 2008 at 8:36 pm

yay! i agree with this article so much! i myself have never wanted kids, and have had countless arguments with people about this subject. it is as if people feel personally offended by MY choice of not having kids, its none of their business what i choose to do with my vagina/ovaries! men seem to be more disturbed by this than women at times. i am offended by the fact that as a woman-owner of ovaries-i am seen as unable to make my own life decisions because, surely, my ovaries will take over my brain and magically change my mind. i do respect peoples decision to have kids, or not to have kids, it just seems to me that the underlying factor here is that women are thought unable to make decisions about THEIR life, “youll change your mind” is a line i have heard endless times, oh yeah i forgot, im just a ditzy girl that cant make decisions! i have also been asked if i had ever been in love, and that surely if i was in love with a man i would want to give birth to his babies, that i find VERY offensive, as if my love isnt validated unless i become pregnant. ugh i feel a rant coming on so i will now stop! basically…good article! and also, if rachael doesnt like kids, so what? its her opinion, im personally not offended by it, its not like she said she is a nazi sympathizer or anything wierd like that..

tefelome // Posted 22 August 2008 at 8:58 pm

ok, just realised the last bit of my comment could be misunderstood, so before anything kicks off, i am in no way saying that anyone here on this blog is a nazy sympathizer, just meant that she doesnt like kids, and thats ok, its not a crime! :)

Ruth Moss // Posted 22 August 2008 at 9:19 pm

Just a note to say, quite a few parents – and child psychologists – think Supernanny’s methods are actually incredibly unhelpful because they look no further than the child’s behaviour and do not consider the needs the child has that cause her/him to display that behaviour.

They may solve the “problem” in the short term but what they do to the children’s long term self-esteem is a different matter.

The disciplining of children is an incredibly complex issue because each child is different and has different needs. It is far more complex than the blanket approach which is touted by some childcare “experts” (who often turn out not to be as expert as they claim – remember Claire Verity for example?)

This is why the NSPCC’s “not naughty, but normal” leaflet is so useful (I wish every parent could be given one). Actually, a two or three year old, although able (just about) to speak, is not being naughty by throwing a tantrum; it is as normal for the age as wearing a nappy is for a baby.

Much child neglect / abuse occurs because parents don’t always understand that certain behaviours are age-appropriate for a child, rather than “naughty”.

I realise that is a little off-topic. I just wanted to say that it’s a very complex situation and needs a variety of strategies.

For what it’s worth, after a long bus journey, *I* feel like screaming, and I am 31. I can totally understand why toddlers and young children do! (And I think I *have* been known to scream in a supermarket.)

Charlotte // Posted 23 August 2008 at 12:54 am

Haha! yes Ruth, bus rides are torture, and I HAVE cried in a supermarket, after an argument with my dad, at 19. However, very silent tears haha.

I like kids, i just don’t want kids, I can’t see myself having them, but I cant stand annoying, screaming kids, which I see/hear more than the good ones. I agree with Cara, there’s a difference between hyper/kids just being kids and plain f’ing annoying one’s.

I could go into the whole I never misbehaved as a child because if i did i was heavuly reprimanded spiel but i won’t…

LauraR // Posted 23 August 2008 at 4:50 am

@ Cara – toddlers are not being ‘naughty’ by throwing tantrums – see the comments by Ruth Moss.

Also, instead of being hacked off at the woman who got on the bus with her pram, why not get hacked off at the bus companies who only have ‘space’ for one pram on their buses? How about if a disabled person wanted to board the bus and the driver wouldn’t let him/her because somebody else was already in the one available wheelchair space? I’ve been on a bus with a pram and, believe me, it’s no fun. But at the time I could afford neither car nor taxi. By not having pram/baby-friendly buses, the companies responsible are guilty of discriminatory behaviour, particularly where lower-income mothers are concerned.

Rachael // Posted 23 August 2008 at 8:51 am

Amity – yes you have a point. If I had not liked children at the time I was in child protection then I agree, they would have picked up on it. But I have only begun to not like them in the past five years as I have got into my mid to late thrities.

And I am certainly not ignorant of normal child develpment. Obviously I had to learn about it to help the children.

But personally I do find these normal parts of child development – screaming, being clingy, that I mentioned earlier as annoying. And I am getting quite annoyed at some of the recations on here to be honest so this will be my last post on this thread.

Also only children display the traits above. Adults do not (or very rarely compared to children). I cannot remember the last time I was in a shop and an adult started screaming and wouldn’t stop, for example!

I also do not think of children as “little adults” either. As I said, I know how children develop – I just do not like some of the traits they display as they do. There have also been others on here who have said they do not enjoy children (Rhona for example – sorry Rhona!!) so my view is the view of others. I have also got people I know who feel the same.

I also think that much of this is the instict to protect one’s own children rather than to be logical. And if we are not a child-centric society, why such anger at people saying they don’t like children? I know I will now get lots of “That’s not the point” comments after this which is why I will not post on this issue again.

April // Posted 27 August 2008 at 4:22 am

I’m 47, and since the age of 12 I’ve told people I didn’t want any children. I am desperately tokophobic, and now that I am too old to have a child of my own I regret it. I could never overcome the tokophobia, even with counselling, so I just accepted the loss, but it’s really sad now. No children, no partner, alone.

Janine // Posted 20 September 2008 at 9:00 pm

I like this article as I believe a man has been pestering me to have babies. He pushed up against me and said “I want to make love” yuck!!

I am almost 30 and the thought of kids terrify me and with me having dyspraxia I m almost certain to have a child who will be dyslexic, I don’t want to be labelled a bad mother for no fault of my own, my son/daughter having this learning problem. So I’m quite happy not having a baby for that reason, futher terrifying for me is the fact my mother was an alcoholic as well and I’ve just not the right mental set up to be a good mother. In fact I do worry if one day by accident or whatever, I do fall pregnant and have a little baby in a cot, I’d be a crap mother through the effects of the Dyspraxia!!

Sophia // Posted 25 November 2008 at 12:49 am

I don’t know what it is, but I have never wanted children (I’m 41 now, so this isn’t going to change), yet always seem to attract the men who want me to settle down and have babies with them. A few years ago I was briefly involved with a married man (yes, I know …) who used to make wistful comments about babies to me; once, when I told him about a picture I’d drawn of an aeroplane engine, his response was to sigh, “What about doing some other subject – like babies, for instance?” I don’t think he had any intention of leaving his wife or anything – he just wanted me to do the socially correct thing and be a “normal” woman. Finally, after too many instances the “b” word, I headed for the hills and have been happily single ever since.

A guy // Posted 7 May 2009 at 4:12 am

What is the man to do then if his partner decides she does not want to be pregnant, but he wants children who are his genetic descendants? Is their relationship doomed?

Roberto // Posted 27 May 2009 at 10:41 pm

This is interesting as most of your comments are extremely biased. Most of you are either mothers, and let that blind you, or are children haters, and let your feelings blind you.

I think it is fair that I should first state how I found this website. I am writing a paper to prove that we as human beings cannot and will not be able to solve overpopulation until we can control our own emotions and instincts, if we can control them at all. I predict the latter.

I am gathering information to support my case, and this debate is interesting in that there is no real conclusion(s).

I think we can all agree that the world is overpopulated and most of this overpopulation is in metropolitan areas. Also, I hope we can all agree that most of the world’s pressing issues are all connected to overpopulation, minus a few.

My point in the paper will be that women cannot overcome the human instinct to bear children and men cannot overcome the instinct to ‘sow their seed’. It makes sense that a young couple will want to raise children. But then why is that so few adopt? We want our own genetic code living on. It is natural.

It is because our brains are programmed to want to reproduce. When a man sees a women of childbearing age, with curvy hips and supple breasts his brain releases neurotransmitters that produce a feeling of attraction. Why? To mate and reproduce. The levels of ‘feel good’ transmitters the brain makes when you hold your child for the first time is incomparable. There is nothing like it.

Is this why it is very rare to see a mother and father together with only one child? We know there are already hungry mouths to feed. We know that one more person will make the world hotter. But in the moment of passion, our instincts overcome all logical thought and take over. “I want a baby”

I apologize if I am all over the place, I’m trying to cram too much info in here.


A guy // Posted 23 July 2009 at 3:48 am


You touched on a few interesting topics in your comment to which I would like to respond.

You are correct that I would like to reproduce with my partner. I definitely desire to pass on my genetic code. I think that it is some pretty good code, too! Moreover, I would also like to see my partner’s genetic code be passed on.

Holding your child for the first time is an awesome and majestic experience that I would like to have. I have seen it with my friends and desire to have it myself.

And, aye, in my moments of passion I do think to myself that I would like a baby. Outside of moments of passion; however, I also think that I would like to have children. And that seems perfectly normal to me.

To future men who may be reading this and in a similar position, I would like to share my thoughts on the questions I posed several months ago. Your relationship is not doomed. Although, none of the possible solutions, such as suppressing the desire for fatherhood, or finding surrogate mothers or secondary partners, are as easy or straightforward as conceiving a child with your partner would seem to be. Remember friends, chin-up, face this problem as you would any other, and be creative.

Off of the topic at hand, Roberto, and because you mentioned it so often in your comment, I think that the premise of your paper is flawed. I disagree that the world is overpopulated. There are large swaths of land that are unpopulated and underutilized. Yes, there are some peoples whose population is growing, but in general it is because those peoples are finally escaping the grips of starvation and disease due to the advances of modern medicine, agriculture, and technology. Other areas of the world are actually being depopulated. I happen to live in one of them (rural Alaska).

Also off of the topic at hand, and again because you brought it up for discussion, I think that worrying about increasing global warming because you conceived another human being should be low on a person’s list of things to worry about. The quality of the data that supports global warming is poor and, if anything, you should be worried about global cooling. For a semi-humorous discussion, see (I am in no way associated with the site.)

To the moderators of this site, I realize that this comment is outside the general stream of your publication; so, if you want to let it flitter-away into the void, I understand. It is just that I feel called to fatherhood and I think that is as equally valid as not feeling called to be pregnant. For me, in real life, it is challenging to balance the two.

Guy // Posted 24 September 2009 at 4:16 am

I dont know how I stumbled upon this, but these stereotypes of men and women wanting children are alot of times its true because we are still animals, its nature.

Explains lust for sex, and why people without children usually have pets.

Simple as that,

If every woman thought about this as much as this group we would be,

(minus rape and mistakes) extinct

Interesting though

lauramarie // Posted 22 November 2009 at 2:56 pm

i would love to have a kid but finding the right man is hard.

also i am only 27 so am not in any hurry

but my mum and sister are getting on to me saying that when she was my age she was married with 2 kids.

why should i rush when i have not got a boyfriend yet and am in no hurry to get on

Jane // Posted 26 November 2009 at 11:15 am

I have really enjoyed reading all of your comments on here, especailly from the ‘A guy’. I’m with a loving boyfriend who would make a great father (and who cant wait to have children) and I love children (though I don’t mind either way of I have one or not)…but….I went to uni (I’m 26 now) and thanks to the global economy was not able to get a really well paid job once I had left. I am now on a training job which will eventually lead to a nice salary. But if I were to get pregnant now or even in the next 3 years I would be passed over for promotion because I would be off work for a year on maternity! My BF doesnt have a well paid job either and we have a nice house that we rent but its expensive and if we have a baby now we would have to move out into maybe a one bed flat and go on benefits! This is what scares me the most! I want a good job and salary but becoming a mother would throw that to the wind! I’m so scared of being in debt and having to work 3 jobs just to support a child. How would this make for a happy child if the mother is unhappy and resentful? Yet if I wait til I’m well off, I’ll be in my 30’s at least.

jasmine21 // Posted 4 February 2012 at 11:58 pm

Very interesting article. I am studying to be a Pediatric Nurse, and so obviously I love children. People assume that being around babies all day will make me want one as soon as possible, and I think my career choice has actually put men off me, because they are expecting me to be baby oriented! But I just cannot imagine completely sacrificing my life for a child, I don’t think it should be about choosing between a family and a career, but I would much rather be established in my job when I have a child, something men don’t have to think about. But my current partner wants me to think about having a child as soon as I have finished university, he is a few years older and cannot wait to be a dad. Sorry but I don’t want to start my maternity leave when I have barely been working 5 minutes. It seems as though I have to choose between him and my immediate career….not really a difficult choice.

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Has The F-Word whet your appetite? Check out our Resources section, for listings of feminist blogs, campaigns, feminist networks in the UK, mailing lists, international and national websites and charities of interest.

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