For the first time in history, parenthood is a choice. Advances in birth control give women the ability to decide when, if, and how many children they have.
The Option to Choose
Although birth control pills first appeared on the market in the 70s, having children was still considered a given. It wasn’t a question of “if” but of “when.”
Society assumed everyone would eventually become parents; that’s just what you did.
In the past ten years or so, it’s become more socially acceptable for people (especially women) to opt out of parenthood altogether.
And they are.
Women Don’t Want Kids
The ranks of women who never want kids continue to grow. Here’s why so many women are noping out of motherhood.
Life is Expensive
An ever-increasing cost of living combined with stagnant wages makes it hard to get ahead before you even add kids into the mix.
Kids Are Expensive
Once a child enters the picture, costs go up. Childcare is the most substantial cost, but diapers, clothing, school activities, and everything else needed for day-to-day care add up.
Even the physical act of having a baby is cost prohibitive. On average, it costs nearly $20K to birth a child without insurance.
If you have insurance, your out-of-pocket expenses will be much lower, but you better hope there aren’t any costly complications.
Society does nothing to ease the burden. Parents have to figure out all these costs on their own.
The Double Shift
Women specifically have to endure the “double shift.” While fathers get to go home and relax after work, mothers are still expected to bear the burden of childcare and housework, even when both partners work full-time.
Women are tired of completing all the domestic labor at home.
Society places ridiculous expectations upon mothers. They must be nurturing and welcoming, acting as nurses, cooks, therapists, and chauffeurs. But they must also bring home an income while breastfeeding, be a career woman and a full-time mom, and only feed their children home-cooked meals sourced from the outdoor garden.
The “have it all” mantra from the 80s shifted into a weird expectation where mothers must do it all, and if they don’t, they’re judged harshly. Fathers have nowhere near the same expectations.
Give Up Your Dreams
When you have kids, your life is no longer your own. Mothers often sacrifice their hopes and dreams for the sake of their children. They no longer have time to pursue their passions, though fathers typically have plenty of free time for their hobbies.
Your Career Suffers
There’s a very real motherhood penalty in the professional world. Although it’s illegal to discriminate against women, people still have the biased opinion that mothers aren’t dedicated to their work.
Even in an office with no bias, mothers suffer. They must take time off for the medical process of birthing a child and are often expected to take time off to stay home with sick children. In addition, many mothers must take flexible, lower-paying jobs to be home when the kids are home.
All these decisions add up to lower lifetime earnings, reduced social security benefits, and lower retirement savings.
Pregnancy is Awul
Even “easy” pregnancies have awful moments. Most women experience at least a few pregnancy-related symptoms, from nausea to discomfort. Growing a whole human takes a lot out of you.
Childbirth is famous for being the worst pain a human can experience.
Discomfort is only the beginning. Pregnancy can have horrific side effects, from gestational diabetes to preeclampsia. Some conditions clear up after birth, while others cause complications for the rest of your life.
Childbirth can be deadly. The US boasts one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the West. When it doesn’t kill you, it can leave you permanently disabled.
Women’s Lives Have No Value
The terrifying political climate plays into many women’s decision to remain child-free. Some want to be mothers, but the genuine fear that their state would rather let them suffer and die than end a non-viable pregnancy stops them in their tracks.
The Supreme Court’s decision to reverse Roe vs. Wade has already led to an abundance of stories of women whose lives were placed at risk due to strict abortion laws. Amanda was sent home because her life wasn’t in danger enough to abort, even though the fetus wouldn’t survive. A Louisiana woman couldn’t end a pregnancy destined to fail because the fetus was technically still alive. Another Texas woman had to wait until her life was imminently at risk to receive a life-saving abortion.
These are just a small sampling of tales from brave women who speak out.
Women need assurance that doctors will do everything possible to save their lives if tragedy strikes during pregnancy, and current laws restrict doctors’ abilities to do that.
Parenting Police State
Remember when we were kids, and we used to run around the neighborhood? We’d bike to each other’s houses, play in the parks, and enjoy our summer freedom.
Nowadays, free-reign children are highly frowned upon. Parents get CPS called on them for allowing kids any modicum of independence, making it even harder for mothers to balance childcare with other aspects of their lives.
Women Have Options
Forty years ago, women didn’t have the career options they have now. Women relied on a husband to care for her financially – society wouldn’t let her rise up and take care of herself. Part of the bargain was providing children and domestic labor for her husband.
Women don’t have to make that bargain anymore. They can provide for themselves. No longer regaled to the home, women have the opportunity to pursue their dreams.
Women are becoming doctors, scientists, engineers, artists, and lawyers. They’re contributing to the betterment of society in ways our grandmothers would never have dreamed. It’s the lifestyle men have been accustomed to for centuries.
Why would a woman give that up?
Ditch the Life Script
You don’t have to get married and have kids to be happy. The life script isn’t for everyone. Here’s why you should ditch it and do your own thing.
She Can Afford the Bills on Her Own, Yet Doesn’t Want her Husband to Quit His Job
He wants to stop working, she doesn’t think that would be fair. What do you think?
How to Find Your Passion and Live Your Dream Life
Your dream life is within reach. Your passion is buried deep inside of you, aching to burst free. Here’s how to rediscover your passion and life the life you always wanted.
Find Fulfillment in Life
With the hustle and bustle of daily life, we often forget to take time to do what makes us happy.
Here are 37 tips to help you live your best life.
Live an Epic Life by Adding these to Your Bucket List
Don’t just exist, live! Here are over 200 bucket list ideas to pursue for an epic life.
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.