The Pressures Women Face
There’s an unfortunate cross-cultural norm that still exists today.
It’s one of the many that directly affects women. It’s the comparison of women’s bodies to ticking clocks.
If you’re between your 20s and 40s, you’ve probably experienced this comparison in some form or another.
Often times it’s expressed out of genuine love and concern by friends or family members, sometimes it’s mentioned by acquaintances.
The seemingly harmless questions such as “Don’t you want to have more kids?”, “When are you having another little one?” or “You’re in your late 20s/30s/40s aren’t you worried your biological clock is ticking?” and other such questions are commonly received by many. Yet at the same time not everyone realizes the immense pressure put on women, in society as a whole, by them.
Sure, the questions are quite simple, but if you factor in the fact that almost every woman of childbearing age is asked them, then you start to see the problem.
The Decision To Give Birth
Birth and the decision to have kids (or more kids) is huge, where one person’s body (that of the childbearing person) and well-being is affected the most.
The decision to have kids is never one to be taken lightly, nor one to be made out of pressure. Parents also need to be able to have the time and resources to care for each child they bring into the world. Raising tiny humans can be wonderful, but it also takes resources, time and attention.
But society also needs to start acknowledging the reality that is childbirth, and both the positive and taxing effects it can have on a woman’s body…the body that belongs to her. Any decisions to have a child or more children should be one she is totally okay with and not pressured into due to the expectations of others.
The Potential Impact of Childbirth on the Body
Consider the following:
- It can take weeks, months or even a year or more for a woman’s body to fully recover from giving birth
- Many women experience long and painful labors (especially when giving birth for the first time, where the average is 18 hrs of labor)
- Some women go through major surgery, (with cesarean birth) and can take a long time to recover from it
- Many women experience tearing, minor trauma, incontinence, etc. as a result of birth
- A large percentage of women 15%-20% experience postpartum depression
- In worst case scenarios women can experience major trauma, injury or even death due to childbirth (both in developed and developing countries)
If more people thought about the above factors, perhaps less women would be pressured into having more children, but rather supported in their decisions either way.
Yes, birth can be beautiful and with the right care providers and team, complications can be significantly reduced, but it still takes the body time to heal.
The Responsibility That Comes With Each Child
Every child deserves love, time and attention from their parents equally. If a woman or couple feels they can provide it and are at a time in their lives that they feel they can support having another child, then that’s okay. Raising a child or children is one of the most important jobs there is and if more people viewed parenting this way, the world would be a better place for it.
That being said, the decision to bring another human being into this world and to give birth is a very big one and comes with a lot of responsibility both toward the birthing person and baby.
Families, partners and even acquaintances can best support women by learning to understand this and realizing that the decision to give birth and bring another human being into the world, should not be taken lightly.
Sure, it’s true that there are limitations on the time period of one’s childbearing years, but that should not be reason to pressure women or set expectations on when or if they should have kids. There are also other ways women and couples can become parents, such as adoption and surrogacy, that can be options too.
Women should be comfortable to make the choice of whether or not to have more kids, knowing that they are fully understood, loved and supported by their partners and families regardless of how many children they decide to have. And every child fully deserves to receive love, time and attention from their parents.