Feminism | Posted by Alicia L on 07/23/2012

Ticking Clock

Biological clock? No such thing.

All women want babies eventually, right?

I come from a big family. I mean huge. My second cousins are starting to have children, so now I even have third cousins — third cousins who require lots of family celebrations. Every baby shower or child’s birthday party I go to, I get asked the same question: “So Alicia…when are YOU having kids?”

I always respond the exact same way with, “I’m not.”

And like clock-work, I always get told the same thing: “One of these days, when you’re older, you’ll WANT kids.” or “Every woman wants kids eventually. It’s natural.”

Which leads me to wonder: What is all this B.S. about a biological clock?

Is there really some crazy ticking time bomb in my uterus ready to break out in some crazy baby fever and impregnate me? Am I some unnatural freak for not wanting children? Somehow, I think not.

We’re constantly exposed to the stereotype that the only type of women who don’t want kids are the ones that choose a career over a family and who end up old, crazy cat ladies after retirement. Women are never told that we can get married and have a life without children. I just don’t believe that having children is a requirement to be in a long-term, happy relationship. I really don’t believe that if you don’t want kids, you’ll end up a lonely cat woman.

My boyfriend feels the same way about children. He never wants them. But for some reason, this same opinion when expressed by a guy seems perfectly normal to our friends and family. It just seems more acceptable to them — and to most people — for a guy not to want kids.

Is it just me, or does this all seem a little gender stereotypey?

I think it’s just safe to say that some guys don’t want kids, and some girls just don’t want kids. It’s as simple as that.

There is no “ biological clock.” Seriously, there isn’t. Don’t believe the bullshit that some day you are going to have an intense longing for an offspring. I mean, you might, but that isn’t because something inside you is
compulsively making you want to breed — it means you are at a place in your life when you feel ready to and want to have kids. It’s a choice.

I think the reason so many people assume I want kids is because that’s what women are supposed to do: have babies and raise them while the hubby brings home the bacon.

Just like marriage isn’t for everyone, college isn’t for everyone, straight relationships aren’t for everyone — having kids just isn’t for everyone, either. People are different. Just because society says it’s “natural” for
all women to want children doesn’t mean it’s true. And just because society says it’s “un-natural” for men to want kids, even in their 20′s, doesn’t mean that’s true, either.

Who knows — maybe one day I will have kids, but it will be because I make the decision to have that child not because some biological timer has gone off.

So don’t like anyone tell you that you are “un-natural” or “a freak” for not wanting kids. You’re not, I promise.

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  • Gigi @ at 1:41 pm, July 23rd, 2012

    Thanks for writing this, I don’t want kids either and yet somehow I always feel like people are shaking their heads and rolling their eyes whenever I express that. I learned it’s just like everything else I’m committed to and sure about: as I get older, and remain childless, only then will I have PROVED to them what I’ve known all along.

  • Alicia L @ at 6:41 pm, July 23rd, 2012

    Thank you Gigi,
    I really appreciate the feedback.

  • Jess/Lance @ at 10:25 pm, July 23rd, 2012

    I don’t mind raising children, it is the birthing part that I don’t want. (But i admit i’m kind bad with very small children or children in large groups. something freaks me out a bit) I get alot of shit for admitting I don’t want to give birth, but I bet you get even more. I’m happy that you stay strong to your choice and don’t let people tell you other wise.

  • T @ at 10:53 pm, July 23rd, 2012

    I thought that the term “biological clock” referred to the age when a woman was physically unable to have children? Instead of the supposedly eventual yearning women have later in life to want children?

    Great post, I completely agree with your thoughts.

  • Destiny @ at 6:02 pm, July 24th, 2012

    Thank you for writing this. I had seen a video about this subject a while back and I was glad that people feel the same way I do. When I say I don’t think I’ll ever want children people just say “you’ll change your mind later.”

  • Nina @ at 4:23 am, July 25th, 2012

    The biological clock refers to the fact that most women cannot have children past a certain age, namely with the start of menopause, when they stop menstruating.
    Nevertheless, I completely agree with you, it’s so ridiculous how we are supposedly predestined to want children. My brother’s girlfriend doesn’t want them, my parents have other friends who don’t want children and for the longest time I didn’t want them either. These days I’m not so sure about that anymore. I’m not saying this will change for you or anyone else also. Maybe we all will end up having children, maybe we won’t. But it’s ridiculous and shows a huge double-standard that women who don’t want children are seen as freaks while for men it’s not a big deal… We should all do what feels right to us.

  • Emma E @ at 3:16 pm, July 25th, 2012

    Honestly, it’s not that I don’t want kids, it’s that I don’t want to give birth to them. I have a lot of younger siblings, so I’ve seen what it’s like to have kids, and it looks equal parts incredibly frustrating and fun, so I don’t know, but I DO know that if I did have kids, I would want to adopt them. I have ZERO pain tolerance. I thought this was relatively normal, but a surprising amount of people think this is weird, or that you should only adopt kids if you actually can’t have them. Frustrating. :/ So I can see what you mean.

  • Alicia L @ at 4:51 pm, July 27th, 2012

    Oh I’ve heard “biological clock” referred to both ways.

    http://www.thefrisky.com/2010-07-01/29-signs-your-biological-clock-is-ticking/

    this article for instance.

  • Jessica A @ at 3:45 pm, July 30th, 2012

    On everyone’s comments about the “biological clock” being the age of women to have children, I also believe this is a fallacy.

    While I agree with Alicia’s article and respect her choice to not have children, which I think is every woman’s right to say just as it is for any man, I am a woman who would like to have children, just not right now.

    One of my feminist idol’s is Tina Fey, she’s awesome no doubt about it. She has had two successful births over the age of 40, so what is this biological clock everyone speaks about? I don’t feel it is a ticking time bomb. When women feel it is right, they can take on this responsibility.

  • Renee G @ at 10:56 am, July 31st, 2012

    Thanks for this article! I think kids are great, but I’ve never had any interest in raising my own. It’s strange how society expects us to get married and raise a family. It just seems to be what practically everyone does, but it’s not the only way to live your life. I’ll be 39 in a few weeks and I’ve never faltered in my desire to remain childless. I respect every woman’s decision when it comes to children, because it’s very personal. It’s sad to think that many women who choose to remain childless get a hard time about it from their family and friends. My aunt is always telling me that my “ovaries are on crutches.” Who cares?!? Certainly not me. :)

  • Marija @ at 12:08 am, August 3rd, 2012

    I’m sorry to hear this attitude is still around. I’m 50, and I was 19 when I just knew I never wanted children. I kept it quiet because the few people I mentioned it to accused me of being “selfish.” At 26 I married a man who also didn’t want children, so it worked out well, although even after I married people assured me I’d want them eventually.

    We’re divorced now, and I’m facing a future without children to help me out in my elder years. Still, I don’t regret my choice for one single minute.

    You either do want them, or you don’t. Either choice is okay, and women should stop being pressured by society for feeling one way or the other.

  • Francesca @ at 2:14 pm, September 14th, 2012

    Thanks for writing this!Finally someone believes in what I believe :)

  • Brie Lyon @ at 6:38 pm, March 2nd, 2013

    Alicia,

    Would you ever believe that I didn’t want children? I’m about to have 3! Once I had one, I knew that this was right. But I never wanted them. And I believe I would have done fine without children. It’s not for everyone. And that’s perfectly okay. We’re not in an age where it was a woman’s “job” to have kids. Though there’s nothing wrong with a woman wanting to stay home and raise kids. I sure as heck don’t want to be home all the time. I want to have a career eventually as well. We all know a certain someone’s army career may not allow that for me for a while. Which is okay. I support you 100% for not wanting children. It’s normal. Well written.!

  • Kerra @ at 8:57 pm, March 19th, 2014

    This is a wonderfull article, I love it. Im a senior in high school that is about to go into the Navy as an avaiation rescue swimmer. Its what I have wanted to do since 7th
    grade. I have also said that I was never getting married and never having kids. You have no idea how many fights I have had wih friends and family about this. They all say that I need to stay home, setting down, and make a family. That dosent sound fun. I didnt want to do that. But yet, my family didnt care, cause I am a woman. This
    Artical made me realize that I am not the only person facing this problem, so thank you.

  • Robert @ at 8:09 am, November 16th, 2014

    Do you have a cat collection?

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