For some reason, Medium has become a place where men’s rights activists like to hang out and comment, comment, comment on feminist pieces.
I find myself enjoying an article on issues related to women only to find the responses are stomach-turning. Recently, one such incident included a discussion of whether or not women are pressured to have children. An MRA insisted they were not and countered with the claim that men are forced to have children, because doctors won’t give them vasectomies.
I had a friend who is a parole officer who was told by doctors that they wouldn’t tie her tubes until she was 35 years old, because she was childless. She was told, “Women get emotional and change their minds.” She was never going to change her mind.
I know how she feels, because I am now 45, and I’ve never given birth. It was my choice. Riddled with health problems, I decided that I wasn’t going to pass on my problems genetically to another generation. I had also been a parent to four younger brothers and a sister throughout my childhood, so I had raised enough children for my time. Finally, I have a condition called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome that makes it harder to get pregnant. I saw many women with PCOS lose their minds about infertility on internet forums in the 1990s. I didn’t want to become one of those bitter, angry women who practically hated every woman capable of having children. One of their frequent comments was, “Wouldn’t you know I can’t have a baby, but those welfare mothers are just popping them out.” Thanks, but no. I will bypass the bile.
My decision has not gone unquestioned. Repeatedly. Are you sure you don’t want children? Surely, your biological clock will turn on. Give it time and you’ll want a child of your own. I can’t say it was men who kept making these remarks. Typically, it was women. But women reinforce gender roles almost as often as men do. Unless you’re talking about doctors. Male doctors. Then, they joined the chorus.
I am going to be the best aunt I possibly can be. I think that role was made for me.