Women who choose to not have children and are openly expressive about that choice often receive a lot of backlash in our communities. They are often shamed and made to feel like something is wrong with them for not falling within the stereotypical ideas of what a woman should be, do or want. However the question is, if as human being we are all different; why can’t we make different life choices?
One such woman is Project Communications and Operations Manager of niche recording label, Jozi Unsigned Christine Msibi. She chats to us about why she doesn’t have children and how her decision was received by those around her.
By Kwanele Mathebula
1. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I came to realize that I didn’t want children. I’ve never had a yearning to be a mother. But, I do love children. I’m always conscious of the kind of interactions I have with children because I want to leave them with a lasting impression. I have three God children with whom I have active and happy relationships with.
2. I introduce this subject early on in my relationships. My previous and current relationships were with people that I had known for a while, and I had told them about my decision to not have children or get married. Throughout my school years, I always mentioned that I wanted to adopt a troublesome 15-year-old multiracial boy and raise him in Soweto to challenge the world’s perception of culture. I’m pro-adoption. But I’m in a relationship with a man who, given a choice, would prefer for us to have our own children as opposed to adoption. I’ve even considered donating my eggs, but I can’t imagine anyone carrying my DNA somewhere in the world.
3. I don’t feel any less of a woman. These stereotypes are narrow, and limit what women can be and achieve outside of the boxes they’ve been put in. I have been in a relationship for five years and at the beginning, my partner found it cool that I didn’t want to have children. This is because the relationship would remain fun and easy. All the love and affection that would go to a child is redirected to us, and I have a full life.
4. I have received mixed reactions from my family, friends and strangers because of my decision. I’ve always been true to myself, and never easily persuaded into societal norms. Those around me have witnessed the love and passion I have for children. My aunt, who is a teacher, once mentioned that people who loved children like I did usually didn’t have their own. My friends, on the other hand, thought it was a phase that I would eventually outgrow.
5. I am responsible with my sex life. I use condoms to prevent pregnancy. If I were to fall pregnant I would terminate it, and this is something that I have done before. When I was 26, I was engaged and fell pregnant. I knew that I didn’t want to get married nor have children. So, I told my then partner that there were complications with the pregnancy, and that I had to terminate it. He accepted this, and never questioned me.
6. It’s okay not to want children, especially as black people. Many of us have helped to raise a child within our families, and it is fine to not want our own. I encourage people to adopt. This doesn’t only mean welcoming someone into your home, but also opening your heart to children in need, and loving them.