So now that you have chosen to have children. How do you want to have them? Yes, there is more than one way and this, in my opinion, should be a choice as well.
I love Gabrielle Union-Wade, I really do, but I’ve been reading about what she went through trying to have children by her own body in her tell-all book, and… I need more wine. Like so many women in the world, ‘society’ sold her the impression that having children by your own body was in some way superior to other forms of bearing children. That to ‘earn’ your womanhood, you must subject your body to 9 months of ‘hell’, and then and only then can you experience the true joys of motherhood. I call bullshit, and I’m not even halfway through this glass of red. This is why so many women and families have suspended their lives and given their all to this singular pursuit-pushing out another human being through your vagina. Society’s concern with a woman’s life can be summed up in two phases- what goes in her vagina, and what comes out.
I do not believe that everyone who decides they want to raise children is supposed to bear the children they raise. If that was the design, then every woman who wanted it would be able to, no? If that was the plan, then why do we have orphanages and children up for adoption? Many a case has been made for adoption, but a good number of families would still rather go through torturous ordeals to bear than own children, than adopt a child. You know why? Because we have been viewing adoption as secondary to child bearing, instead of simply another, equal, way. Currently, adoption is seen as sort of a last resort; an ‘after you’ve tried everything else’. So women are queuing outside their doctors’ offices for days on end asking, begging him/her to find a way to send them on a most uncomfortable 9-month journey, instead of simply skipping the entire before and after pregnancy ordeal- having to hit the gym and wear tummy blasters and vagina tighteners and hormonal balance pills etc. Women are spending time at altars and mountains, starving themselves and begging God to send them children. Meanwhile God is like, get up child, I already answered and sent you a kid; go pick him up. I saved you 9 months of struggle, and 24 months of trying (and mostly failing) to ‘snap back’; you’re welcome.
Until we begin to view adoption as an equal route to having children, our orphanages are always going to be oversubscribed. Yes, adoption comes with its own complexity but so does child bearing. Plus, a great portion of that complexity is caused by the way the world views adoption vis a vis child bearing. This is not to knock the child bearing process in itself, no. And I hope we get that. I’m sure it is beautiful, etc. Who knows, if I do decide to have children, perhaps I will opt for this method. But all I’m saying is that it should be an option, as much as adoption is an equally viable option open to me.
So let’s raise our collective glasses (you were right Gab, we really do need more wine) to the end of shaming women for not (deliberately or otherwise) bearing children.
Published originally on Akoma. Akoma is a community of creators, influencers, storytellers
and audiences sharing diverse narratives on Africa and its diaspora.