This is a rhetorical question but also a thought I’ve been having.
Lately, I find myself in conversations with people (both Muslim and non-Muslim) about the pros and cons of having kids. I’ve spoken to people who have kids and are bidding their time until those kids are “out of the house” and I’ve spoken to people who have smaller kids who love them to death and couldn’t imagine life without them. I used to want to have a baby very badly. The feeling would come in waves. Sometimes it would manifest itself as severe desire and border on obsession. Eventually I would have a lull. At times I could think of nothing else.
Fast forward to 2009…
I don’t know exactly when or how it happened but my feelings have changed. I’m having serious doubts about having kids and more often than not, I feel like I don’t want them at all. The weird part about is that I like kids. I’m pretty fond of them. I have no problem with other people having kids or being around their kids (unless they’re bad :) ). But when it comes to me…well, I feel like I should sit this one out. (If Allah allows it to remain that way, of course).
Now, if I say this around Muslims…oh just wait for the backlash! They start talking about increasing the ummah, femininity, womanhood in Islam, etc. Some have even suggested that my feelings are from shaitan. (Really?) What I want to know is why my personal decision affects other people so much. Last time I checked this body was mine. Furthermore, I don’t think everyone is cut out to have children. (Look around you, I’m sure you can spot plenty of who shouldn’t have had kids). And I wonder if I’m one of those people.
Some people say that I’m being selfish. They say I don’t want to make the necessary sacrifices that go along with having kids. The irony is every reason I can think of to have kids involves selfishness on my part; the desire to further my legacy, because I feel like I want one, because I want someone to be there for me in my old age etc. But it also has to do with other people’s reasons; societal/Muslim community pressures, being told that I’m incomplete without children, being told that I am abnormal because I don’t want what every woman is told she should want etc. If Allah willed, and I chose to have a child, shouldn’t I be doing it for reasons other than the aforementioned ones?
I’m not trying to start any mass movements here. I think deciding to have children or not is a personal choice. I just want people to take their hands and ideas off my ovaries…