From politicians to your Auntie Clare, everybody has an opinion about what you should do with your body. Family size, child spacing, birth control and maternal age are all up for grabs. You know what, haters? My family planning is none of your business. It’s my family, life and body, and no one else’s ideals will stand in the way of those facts. Here’s why the choices I make about my body are no one’s business but my own, and the choices I make about my family are no one’s business but my family’s.
Say Hello to Bodily Autonomy
No one decides what happens to my body but me — and that goes for contraception, conception and any decisions about calling fertility a day and tying my tubes. Ever heard of a little thing called “bodily autonomy?” Well, that’s it, and everyone needs to stop shaming women about it.
My Shoes Belong to Me
People say you don’t know what someone else’s life is like until you walk a mile in their shoes. We could all do with a little empathy and perspective, but that doesn’t mean it gives others an excuse to thrust their life philosophies on me, my body and my family. More importantly, women need to remind each other that they don’t have to get pregnant, give birth and raise a child to find value in their world. My life choices impact my life, and my shoes belong to me. Whether you’re child-free or have six kids, to each their own.
Choose Your Path, Judgment-Free
There’s enough judgment going on in this world, and I often wonder when the shaming towards women and judgment towards their bodily autonomy will stop. Will it ever? Having kids changes your life, and it’s a big decision. Some people love being a young parent, while others wait until they’re older. Sometimes, you get pregnant in your forties. Many people get pregnant right after having a child, or they may wait five years or longer. You may end up deciding you don’t want to have kids at all. Choose your path, judgment-free, because we all have that right.
Look — I’m Happy
The bottom line comes down to my happiness and that of my family. I’m satisfied with my decisions, and anyone who critiques my life needs to look at their own. Judging someone else isn’t kind or helpful, and it doesn’t matter to me. The negative things that others say only reflect on them and their dissatisfaction.
Pregnancy is No Joke
Do you really think it’s funny to walk a pregnant lady and her other three kids to the condom aisle? Yes, people do this ridiculous, judgmental crap even in old age. There are those neighborly strangers who ask “Was your pregnancy planned?” The implied don’t deserve my time, and they’re not anyone’s business. It’s like these weirdos want to stick their noses right up my hoo-ha. Questions like that make me cringe, and so many pregnancies are unplanned. Stick your nose in a book, instead, creeps. Mind your own life.
It’s My Family, Not Yours
If you talk to me about my family planning decisions, you’ll end up talking to thin air. It’s my family, not yours.
Pregnancy Is Serious and Risky
Modern medicine now assists with bringing more, healthy lives into the world, but it doesn’t change the fact that pregnancy is serious and risky. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that more women in the states die in childbirth than in less developed countries like Turkey, Libya and Iran. This is often due to factors like family planning budget cuts in each state as well as the high obesity rate. Many of these women are also young. You spend most of a year of your life feeling like you’re going to die, even if you don’t. Yes, low-risk pregnancies also have serious challenges and tax the body physically, mentally and emotionally. Deciding to bring a life into the world is serious business, and an expecting mother doesn’t need you to add more complications to her life.
Because It’s Personal
Haters make “educational” comments because they “care,” and then get defensive when you tell them “It’s my body. not yours.” They tell you not to take it personally, and politicians — mainly old white men — decide they should have more autonomy over a woman’s uterus than the woman herself when they legislate family planning and take away her fundamental bodily rights. It’s up to each mom to decide how big her family is and how long she waits between children. What anyone else thinks doesn’t matter at the end of the day. They have no right to control this personal matter. Get your grubby hands off my uterus! All people get to decide how they want to use their body.
Women Have Different Adjustment Periods
After birth, especially if it’s your first, you learn your baby’s needs quickly, and yours take a back seat — which can make your health suffer if you let it go too far. You need to respect your body and health as you adjust to having a new member of the family. Sadly, many women also neglect to respect the adjustment you need to make on a deeper level after the birth. That may mean you need a year, three years or five years until you’re ready to have another child, if at all. Additionally, women disrespect how long it takes for other women to adjust — every woman differs, and that’s okay. Many factors affect this adjustment period. Many women suffer from postpartum depression, with numbers as high as 20 percent, and before they consider bringing another life into this world, these moms have to look after themselves first. Women may move back into family planning when they feel balanced at home and work and find themselves swooning at every newborn and feel confident about their long-term plans. Only a mom can say whether she wants another baby, and that desire should be respected no matter what.
People Forget That Trauma Impacts Family Planning
Mental, emotional and physical trauma to the self and one’s child can make a mother think twice about having another child. Let her go at her own pace.
Unrealistic Work Schedules For Moms and Strangers’ Preferences
Realistic parental leave policies hardly exist in the United States, and government legislature puts the country far behind even third world countries on that matter. Many employers require new mothers and fathers to return to work just a few weeks after their child is born since FMLA only gives you 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Parents feel torn between caring for their child and affording to care for their child while keeping a roof over their heads. For breastfeeding moms, the burden weighs even more heavily as they struggle to work and pump — often in unfriendly professional environments. So, judgy strangers, lay off!
Can Women Finally Get Their Bodies Back?
Isn’t it time that women finally get their bodies back? Female sexuality isn’t a curse—it enables the continuation of life, and that doesn’t make a woman’s decisions about her body wrong just because of others’ preferences. Women aren’t selfish for choosing to use or not use their breasts to feed their child. It’s not selfish for women to want their before-baby bodies back or to be just fine with accepting the extra pounds that each child brings. Women aren’t selfish for wanting sex for pleasure. Don’t “all people should” the entire sex of women — sweeping value statements don’t help women at all. It’s not okay to tell women how to plan their families or how to use their bodies, and I, for one, am not listening. Now, good day.