Jennifer AnistonDespite the fact that actress Jennifer Aniston says she wants and is going to have a baby someday -- and naturally -- and that she's not against having a baby on her own without a husband or baby daddy, it might not ever happen. I'm not just being negative about the odds or saying that biologically it might not happen "at her age," as infertility can be the case for any one of us, no matter our age. I'm saying the feels-just-right, baby-having stars may never align for Ms. Aniston, in Ms. Aniston's opinion, by Ms. Aniston's choice. She, and all the other single, non-procreating-by-choice women of the world (for whom lucky Jennifer Aniston stands as the symbolic leader), can and might ultimately decide to opt out of motherhood.
And you know what? It will be okay. All will still be right with Jennifer Aniston's life (and the world) even if our favorite celebrity single doesn't choose to become a mom ... ever!
It's really hard for us as a society of eager babymakers to come to terms with the idea that a woman may choose not to have a child, naturally or by adoption. Motherhood, we think, is in the cards for all women when really that is not the case -- whether by the woman's intentional choice all along or by a matter of circumstance.
To use dear Jennifer as the example again -- sure, she may want children in theory but may, as time goes on, decide she doesn't want to have them without a partner or before she finds the right partner. That's her prerogative. She may also come to the point where she seriously weighs her busy life without children against her busy life with children and opts to remain childless for a gazillion possible reasons. And it'll be okay. We forget that women can live very rich lives without doing the baby thing.
Of course, we worry that women who don't marry will be lonely or women who don't have children (and want them) will be unhappy or regretful, their lives forever incomplete, if they never have a child. Of course, just because we worry about these things doesn't make them true or the only truth. In fact, this world and all its experiences have something wonderful and enriching in store for all of us, no matter where our paths take us.
Women who opt out of motherhood can do most of the same things that mothers can do; however, in cases of traveling the world, studying their favorite subjects, writing a novel, hitting trendy eateries, living a super-healthy lifestyle (and having the bonus rockin' bod), owning a tidy, beautifully decorated house, starring in lots of movies, or attending all kinds of red carpet events, the time, money, and feasibility juggle is a hell of a lot easier. In the same way those of us who choose motherhood will not get to experience many things in our lives because we chose to have children, women who choose not to have children will not get to experience the gifts of motherhood -- however, they will receive the gifts of being one (and there are many).
Do you believe women who choose not to become mothers have less fulfilling lives than women who go the mom route?
Image via Jemal Countess/Getty