Whether or not a woman wants to have children is a very personal decision. Unfortunately, it's also one of those things that everyone seems to feel empowered to comment on.
Pieces written by women who are childfree by choice reveal the extent to which their choices are constantly questioned and dismissed. "Early on, I learned that the worst thing I could do was to give an honest answer," Carolina A. Miranda wrote in an August 2013 Time magazine piece. "Saying 'I don’t want kids' simply set me up as a challenge to be surmounted."
In another August 2013 Time article, Lauren Sandler argued that: "If you're a woman who's not in the mommy trenches, more often than not you're excluded from the discussion." And in a March 2011 blog for The Huffington Post, Stefanie Iris Weiss summed up popular opinions to childfree women:
People react to the idea of women not having children with total incredulity, shock, and worst of all, pity. They assume it's a case of infertility in disguise, a lack of a relationship, or that women without kids "hate children." In the majority of cases, it's none of the above.
We're strongly of the opinion that women shouldn't have to justify their reproductive decisions to anyone. Really, everyone else should simply stop commenting on them. So we polled our Twitter followers on what you should never say to a woman who doesn't want to have kids.
Here are 23 things childfree women never ever want to hear you say:
- "What a bad decision."
- "Now that I have children, my life has true meaning!"
- "You're a crazy cat lady in training."
- "You think you're tired? You don't know what tired is."
- "You're being selfish."
- "You'll change your mind when you meet the right man."
- "What are you waiting for?"
- "Your mom had you!"
- "You're missing out on one of the best things in life."
- "That's a shame. You might regret it."
- "What's wrong with you?"
- "The size of that house and just the two of you? It's a waste of space."
- "But you would be such a great mom!"
- "Just find a donor and have kids. I'll babysit."
- "You think you don't want children, but once you have them you'll change your mind."
- "Don't wait too long."
- "You'd better hurry up and give your husband a child before he finds someone who will."
- "You don't have children, so you won't understand."
- "You don't know what real love is."
- "Wait until your biological clock kicks in."
- "Aren't you worried there'll be no one to look after you when you're old?"
What else should you never say to a woman who chooses not to have children? Comment below or join the conversation on twitter @HuffPostWomen!