No Children – I am No less of a Woman

A very normal and common question to ask a woman is whether she has children or not, especially on a first encounter this is something we tend to ask. The other day I was visiting a friend’s house and I met a man there who was house-sitting the house at the time, we started talking and quite soon in the conversation he asked me if I had children, “No” I replied, “I don’t”.

In the past I used to not leave it at ‘no’ because I always felt I had to explain myself as to why I don’t have children. I was always feeling uneasy and awkward with the silence that would follow my ‘no’ so I would fill that gap with just letting out words and explaining my situation.

I don’t do that anymore. I feel great with who I am and I have accepted in full that in this life I will not be a mother. So after I replied with my ‘No, I don’t’, there was the familiar silent moment. But it was not for long, because the man told me that it is still possible to have them, so maybe a child will come at some point, there is still time. I could feel he was trying to comfort me and don’t get me wrong, I can completely understand and this is no judging from my part. It’s just how it currently is in society and how women who don’t have children are seen in the world; as lesser. Apart from the fact that I am 41 years of age, so yes, it is technically still possible for me to get pregnant, I am seeing the reflection that as a woman without children, you are not enough. I see people feel sorry for me, that I am missing out on something and that not having children, for whatever reason, is like a life unfulfilled.

The media plays a very big role in reflecting to women that not having children is something almost unbearable and that it is ok and encouraged to do whatever it takes to get pregnant. Women who are not mothers are often labelled as lesser or even times as ‘a victim’ of their circumstances, irrespective of the reasons why they do not have children. Every article I read about women who have difficulties with getting pregnant, don’t have a partner and want to have a child or women who are going to the hospital for fertility support, is laced with this notion that there is no life for women without children. The message I get from our society is that you will never be complete as a woman if you don’t give birth. This a very strong belief that lies deep within most women and is in my opinion the reason for all the desperation and deep emotional roller coaster rides women go through when they can’t get (or it takes longer to get) pregnant.

But what about our inner power and strength, our natural stillness and tenderness and the enormous love we bring as women – how about all those qualities that are within us all, why is there little reflection of this out there in the world?

Women are not lesser because we have not given birth. All women are beautiful and amazing, with or without children. We are complete as we are and this is for me, the most honouring and loving reflection I can give to myself and other women.

by Mariette Reineke, Holland

366 thoughts on “No Children – I am No less of a Woman

  1. To pity someone or feel sorry for someone who has not had children shows us how short sighted we can be and how we can ignore the bigger picture of life and its offerings.

  2. These are but some of the impositions in our society – a woman should be able to make the decision to have children or not without these expectations and impositions placed upon them: “The media plays a very big role in reflecting to women that not having children is something almost unbearable and that it is ok and encouraged to do whatever it takes to get pregnant. Women who are not mothers are often labelled as lesser or even times as ‘a victim’ of their circumstances, irrespective of the reasons why they do not have children.”

  3. There is no right or wrong in having children or not. For some women this is what is a natural flow in life, to have children and to raise them whilst for others it is not the case. But what is beautiful in what I have seen in some communities is that a woman who has not had children plays an equally important role in society in terms of walking next to the women who have had children, and often will support with the children no differently to them being their own. This to me is true family.

  4. The question we should ask ourselves is not should we or should we not have children rather then to ask what is my true purpose and from there let things unfold.
    Having pictures sets us up to fail.

  5. There is so much more to being a woman than having children in the same way that there is so much more to every one of us than just our physical body.

    1. You have nailed it Mary! This is so spot on – being a woman is so much more than having children, so we cannot reduce it to just this as function.

  6. A reason why there can sometimes be a lot of pain around not having a child is that we forget that we have all been mothers before in other lives and we will all will be mothers again at certain times in future lives.

  7. I am guilty of this questioning – but not out loud! I think it, I wonder instead of just meeting a woman with no other conditions, expectations or ideals! It’s crazy how engrained these are in us and how we really have to choose otherwise.

  8. We learn to look outside ourselves from young to be something as we are led to believe we are somehow lacking. Choosing to take on different roles only separates us further from knowing ourselves instead of turning inward and reconnecting to our essence that allows us to know and express our true beauty and the innate qualities of who we are and not what we do or whether we choose to have children or not.

  9. Thank you for sharing how ideals and beliefs are so prevalent in our society, and so how important it is for us to know we are are amazing and complete as we are, just choosing to live in our fullness.

  10. “All women are beautiful and amazing, with or without children. We are complete as we are and this is for me, the most honouring and loving reflection I can give to myself and other women”. I agree Mariette women have a great and very important role to play in our evolution, giving birth to children or not, does not add to or detract from this purpose.

  11. I love you sign off Mariette,”We are complete as we are and this is for me, the most honouring and loving reflection I can give to myself and other women.” Yes, our worth based on our ‘roles’ in life will always have us chasing some ideal of belief– we are in essence the full package before we choose what we do.

    1. We certainly are the full package and the more we claim this the less we will be caught up in ideals and beliefs that try to make us lesser because we are not conforming to some preconceived idea of what it is to be a woman.

  12. The beliefs and ideals we can be met with in society whether as a woman or a man are many. When we know ourselves and our own bodies we know what is true for us, and this is not something that can be imposed upon us unless we accept it.

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