So many parents (particularly new ones) look with pity on those who are childless through cruel circumstance, and with scorn on those who remain so by choice.
Often I'm chastised, by those who have had children, about my "choice to remain single and childless". When I respond that it was likewise their choice to have a family, they fall mute or change the topic.
I refuse to subscribe to the idea that having a child is the pinnacle of a woman's existence. We're constantly told that people didn't know true love, or understand the meaning of existence, and so on, until they had a child.
Read the full article in today's Age.
Happy Birthday Clem!
This article garnered a lot of varied responses, not the least from the comments on Fairfax. The hornet's nest was well and truly stirred. The following comment was not atypical of the majority of those who felt compelled to tell Clem what they thought of her.
Miss Bastow, you would be best to simply stay silent rather than use your words to spread your own negativity, weirdness and confusion. Too many young women (and men) have been encouraged to supress their natural inclinations by the likes of you to their regret latter.
A more thoughtful (and useful) ripple can be found in the local blogging community. I really valued Penni Russon's post on her blog Eglantine's Cake.
I wanted to say something here, about choices. About the many women I know who have chosen not to have children, and those of us who have chosen it. I wanted to say that choices pretend to be bipolar, especially in mainstream media, but they are actually nuanced, complex and as individualistic as the individuals who struggle with them.
And as a mother of three Penni continues, "Motherhood is nuanced too".
Parenthood is something other than the pinnacle of existence. But this is because existence is a continuum too. There's no pointy end. Motherhood doesn't have to negate ambition, creativity, professional success, sexual desire or individualism(as Clem Bastow comes dangerously close to implying). But neither does the desire to be childless negate a sense of family, community, love or selflessness and I support both Clem Bastow's choice and her need to write about it.
Beautiful post Penni.