Child-freeness in this country, and in the African continent, must be a novelty. Tumeadimika kama maziwa ya kuku.
In traditional African societies, a man’s wealth was gauged by the number of children he could have. And how many herds of livestock he had in his compound.
A woman’s worth was measured by her ability to bear children. If no child shot out of her birth canal, she was faulty. If she popped out children of the same gender repeatedly, she was faulty, too.
Around the world, it is a predisposed destination that as a woman, you should want children and have them by the dozen. Until your womb can’t handle any more. It’s just unnatural for you not to do what countless other women have done for centuries.
Women without children are either thought of as broken, barren or insane. I mean, how could you willingly not want to carry on your gene line?!
Men are not spared – an unmarried bachelor without children is suspected of being gay, and that’s not a good thing in this part of the world.
So we give in. We marry people we don’t like just so others can stop talking about us negatively. We procreate with them even when we know that at the end of it, we will resent the life we’ll be leading from now on.
What surprises me is that on the other end of the spectrum, there are people who are terrible parents. Yet your admitting to not wanting to get sucked into that prison earns you a verbal beating.
As there are no child-free websites or social networks in Kenya, I’m often logging in to international sites where women and men who are childless-by-choice discuss their situations.
We all give our reasons for not wanting to have children, but the bottom line is: we just don’t want kids. Simple as that, why should the “But why?!” be of importance?
The irony to my child-freeness is that I live in a neighbourhood where there is a child(ren) in every house. I’m not kidding.
So I have seen the amount of work it takes to raise them – you need six pairs of eyes to make sure that this one is not slipping out the door as the other one is not about to smash something while the other one is reaching for the matches. Parenthood takes tenacity and willingness, patience and strength, and there are only certain degrees of it that I can handle. What’s so wrong about admitting that you’re not cut out for the job?
I want to do what I want when I want, or not even do it at all.
I want to make decisions on a whim without worrying about their consequences on a child, like quitting my job without worrying about diaper costs or school fees.
I want to not be responsible for raising a helpless being, teach them what is right and wrong, change their soiled diapers or wipe their runny noses.
I want to still not learn how to cook and maintain my really bad eating habits.
I want to be able to fulfill my dream of traveling without worrying on who needs to be breastfed, who needs their homework checked, or who needs to hear from me about how much I love them.
I want to still possess the luxury of being lazy and caring about catering to only my needs.
I want my possessions left unbroken and undamaged. I want to not cry if they’re smashed to bits.
I also want to say that I don’t want kids and not have someone look at me like I just shot up heroine in public.
It’s okay if people call me selfish, because my life belongs to me.