BY OLIVIA DUFFIELD
Women are born with wombs. This means we have been given the gift of being able to bear children. It is our gift. It is one of the many beautiful parts of the female body. Because it is our gift and our body we have the right to choose what happens to it.
THE BIG MYTH: YOU ARE NOT A REAL WOMAN IF YOU CHOOSE NOT TO HAVE A CHILD
This is not true. No one can say what a real man or woman is because all humans are different. If you put two women next to each other and looked at them you would find hundreds of differences.
If you put two men next to each other there will also be many differences. These differences help make our identities and personalities. This means there can be no single thing that makes a man a man or that makes a woman a woman. Women are not born for the purpose of carrying and raising children. Women should not be made to feel like there is something wrong with them if they choose not to have children.
Women are valuable in so many different ways. They are important members of the labour force. They contribute to the growth of the country’s economy. They are intelligent and creative with dreams and goals. These dreams and goals may fit into raising a family. If these dreams and goals do not fit into raising a family then the woman has a right to choose her own path in life.
It is wrong for a man to force a woman to have sex without a condom or without birth control, when she does not want to. This will increase her risk of pregnancy. This risk is one that only the woman will bear. It is therefore her right to say no. Pregnancy affects the woman’s body and the woman’s hormones. A woman has the right and should be free to make the choice to reject this.
Like men we have the right to choose how to live our lives. A family is a big duty. Any parent must make huge emotional, financial and time commitments to their children. No woman or man should be forced or feel forced to have a child. If they do not feel ready to take on these duties they should not be forced to. Unfortunately when a child is unplanned or unwanted it is the child who will suffer the most. A child should be born to partners that share the decision making and family planning process.
“A child should be the product of a loving, equal relationship”
CHOOSING HOW MANY CHILDREN
Family planning means being able to choose to be pregnant or not to be. Family planning means choosing when in your life you want to have children. It also means being able to choose how many children you want to have and how far apart you have them.
For a woman the responsibilities of bringing a child into the world start as soon as she becomes pregnant. In many cases the woman continues being responsible for raising the child after it is born. The more children a woman has the more responsibilities she has. She will want to provide those children with food, a home and an education. She will want to keep them clothed and to keep them healthy. She will want to keep them safe, loved and happy.
All of this requires money and sometimes there is simply not enough money to look after every child in a big family. Sadly this may mean that some of the children do not get to go to school or do not get the right medicine when they need it. Clever family planning should consider the worries and wants of both parents. This is an important step to prevent parents having to make tough choices that affect their children’s quality of life.
A LOVING HUSBAND
A loving husband will want to help make these decisions with his wife. A loving husband will want to support his wife as she makes difficult decisions. A wife should expect to be able to talk to her husband about everything from pregnancy to providing for older children. A good partnership means two people living as equal partners. It means neither a woman nor a man should feel stuck with fixed jobs and tasks. Living equally with a partner means making choices about living together. Having children is one of the biggest choices a couple can make and a woman should never feel like she has not made the choice or has made it alone.