Choice, Feminism and Humanism

Why having a choice in life matters.

I have a friend. This friend is a woman who chose not to have children. Her choice was not to be child free, just to not have children of her own. Her choice wasn’t even to have an abortion; it was a choice to not get pregnant in the first place. For some reason that choice was and is still considered radical. It’s one thing if you can’t have children of your own. That makes you an object of pity, but to choose to not have your own children ever? Well, that just isn’t normal. Is it?

And this gets to the heart of the matter and why choice, feminism and Humanism are so important even now. I am a mom. I love being a mom, but that is a role I chose for myself. I choose a lot of things for myself, like what I will eat and wear. Where I want to live, who I want to live with and what sort of work I want to do. Every day I make a slew of choices. Most are mundane, but sometimes, they are life altering, like the decision to get married and another decision to become a parent.

My friend took the decision to be a biological parent seriously. After all, it’s a big choice and it has a huge impact on your life and so of course you should have the right to choose it.  Except that when it became publically known she had chosen not to be pregnant, not because she couldn’t, but because she didn’t want to, she lost her job as a teacher and ended up becoming an advocate for a woman’s right to choose to be childfree.

I take my ability to make these choices for granted because I grew up in a household where I was given autonomy.  I was not indoctrinated in religion because what I choose to believe is just that, my choice. So it shocks me when I meet people whose choices, that impact them and them alone, are not accepted by others, like the reaction my friend still gets as a result of making her choice public.

Her story is a fascinating one and I highly recommend you read her book: Confessions of a Childfree Woman: A Life Spent Swimming Against the Mainstream 

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