I was recently diagnosed with premature ovarian failure AKA…Early Menopause.
At the time of diagnosis I was 37, so it is around 7 years too early for the menopause by ‘normal’ standards.
There are many tracks I could go down in this blog, like the treatment I received from various medical establishments; the emotional roller-coaster I went through (and to an extent, am still going through) during testing, diagnosis, and beyond…I am sure that I will cover these subjects in later blogs. Right now I want to focus on the Childless Vs Child-free ‘debate’ that I am witnessing in various blogs and newspaper articles.
There are so many reasons why women do not have children, by choice or not. Some actively choose not to have children for whatever reasons; some realised late that they wanted to have children, but their bodies have already stopped producing eggs; some wanted children all along, but the work/life balance wasn’t exactly in their favour, so they ultimately missed out; and others can not have children due to medical conditions / treatments such as chemotherapy for example.
In the blogs that I have been reading, I have noticed a divide appearing between these groups of women. I know that we all have different experiences relating the fact that we do not have children, and I can see the benefit in women with similar experiences grouping together. However, I would urge caution that we do not create a negative division between women. It kind of reminds me of the Brass Eye show (for those of you in the UK who can remember this show), which satirised the division between ‘good AIDS and bad AIDS’ (and no, I am not comparing women without children with people who live with HIV or AIDS or vice versa, so pls don’t lynch me)…
Women have enough pressure to conform to society’s [many] norms, and goodness knows, discovering that I cannot have children has certainly made me re-evaluate myself and my relationship to these norms, particularly in my line of work, in which I work with communities where motherhood is highly valued and you are certainly not perceived as a grown woman, nor qualified to have an opinion on child welfare if you do not have a child yourself.
Neither is superior. It’s ok to choose not to have children, but we need to recognise and appreciate that even by making this choice, women often become subjected to certain pressures and judgements. It’s not all a bed of child-free, carefree roses. And women who through no choice of their own have found themselves unable to have children have their own sensitivities…We should stand together, as women, united, not divided.
Have you or someone you know experienced a similar issue? I would love to hear your opinions. Please keep in mind that this is a personal blog; I am not an expert on this issue, and am simply expressing a personal point of view.