Saturday 24 February 2018

Colette Fitzpatrick: 'When you're of child-bearing age, you don’t need anyone asking what the score is with your womb'

Colette Fitzpatrick

It’s got to be one of the most antagonising things you can say to those who don’t have children – ‘when you have a child, the world makes sense. You realise what it’s all about, why we’re here.’

Ugh. As a mother-of-two, this actually makes no sense. Of course your children are the most important thing in your world.

But to suggest they ‘make sense of the world’ is ludicrous. Make sense of what, exactly? They might motivate you more to make the world a better place or strive to combat social injustice. But the world does and doesn’t make sense to a lot of people a lot of the time. Kids or no kids.

But the yellow jersey for offending comments has to go to those who think it’s okay to say to people in a relationship  or of a certain age (say, 21 to 45) ‘why don’t you have children?’

Insult much? Do you not realise there’s a chance that the woman or couple could be trying unsuccessfully? That they’ve been trying for a long time? That every month and every negative pregnancy test is a hammer blow to their dreams? 

I don’t think there’s anything  wrong with asking a young woman, as in a woman in her teens, if she’d like to have kids some day. But only if she’s single and only if it’s patently clear she’s not in a couple. 

Most teens I know baulk at the idea. I know I did. I did right through to about 35. But I never minded anyone asking. I just replied honestly that I didn’t want any (and I ate my words on that one).

I now get asked all the time, if I’d like another one. Perhaps if I was younger. If the others were older, maybe. But not now.

Model Sarah Morrissey (right) this week said she gets asked the baby question all the time, and described the question as “inappropriate”.

Meanwhile, research shows that women without children are not anomalies.

An official US population survey last year found that 47.6pc of women between age 15 and 44 had never had children, up from 46.5pc in 2012.

This represents the highest percentage of childless women since tracking started in 1976. And you’d have to think the numbers can’t be too far off that here.

There may be a controversial reason for not having children,  other than not being able to.

In his book The Intelligence Paradox psychologist Sanatoshi Kanazawa suggests that for every 15 IQ points a woman has, her maternal urge drops by 25pc.

Colette Fitzpatrick
Colette Fitzpatrick

In other words, the smarter a woman is, the less likely it is that she will want to have kids.

Aside from that theory, there’s some other reasons – maybe some women don’t like children. Maybe they realise that paid maternity leave, flexible work schedules and subsidised childcare are a pipe dream.

You don’t need to give birth to be a real woman. You’re not selfish or immature and your world can make perfect sense.

And when you are of child- bearing age, you certainly don’t need anyone asking what the score is with your womb.

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