One of the things about being childfree that I really hold dear is never having to take on the extra feminine body issues that mothers have to deal with. Let's think about the effect children have on our bodies for a few moments:
Pregnancy. Aside from morning sickness, bloating, constant peeing, fatigue, being kicked, and everything else that comes with the pregnancy experience, pregnancy can leave some pretty nasty scars behind. Severe stretch marks, loose skin, and an extra 30 pounds are just a few of the effects that pregnancy can have on a previously beautiful woman's body. I know, some of you out there are going to tell me that post-pregnancy bodies are beautiful too. The Shape of a Mother blog is one web site that exists to champion this viewpoint. While I think the purpose of this blog is quite noble and I'm happy that these women are comfortable with their bodies, I also know that I never, ever want to look like many of the pictures I have viewed there. And I know that once you do, it can be really, really difficult to do anything about it.
Childbirth. Oh joy -- hours and hours of pain, blood, exhaustion, and possibly relieving oneself on the table right in front of one's husband and all the doctors. And afterwards, along with a screaming baby, you get: a permanently stretched-out vagina. No one wants to admit this, but that is the scar that childbirth leaves.
Breastfeeding. Along with having milk stains constantly spreading across your shirt in public, and not being able to go anywhere without your child, and perhaps having cracked and painful nipples from all the sucking, I know that a lot of women's breasts permanently change shape from breastfeeding. They flatten out, and sag in a major way. And I really like mine. Of course age is going to change them a little eventually, but I'd rather not do anything to hurry the process along.
Day-to-day life with a child. In daily life, while running around feeding and changing and playing with and comforting your very high-maintenance new little friend, how exactly are you going to have time to:
Take care of your skin?
Get your nails done?
Shave your legs?
Blow out your hair?
...Not to mention lose that extra 30 pounds of baby weight? It's no wonder so many moms look so run-down and haggard. I've read comments from new moms who claim they don't even have time to shower. And what with saving for little Jane or Johnny's college fund, can you still afford that pricey mascara you love, or fashionable clothes, or great shoes and bags, or pro beauty treatments or any of the rest of it?
I'm not saying all childfree women look perfect. Sure, I might gain a few pounds sometimes, but it's going to be because I drank a few too many glasses of wine or ate too much ice cream, not because I went through the horrors of pregnancy and childbirth. And sure, sometimes I'm lazy about putting on makeup, but it's because I'm lying around the house with my husband on a Sunday watching baseball, not because I couldn't pry my screaming toddler's grabby hands off my eyelash curler long enough to use it.
As a childfree woman, I may not always love my body 100%, but at least I feel like I have control over it. I have time to work out. I have time to cook nutritious meals for myself. I have the time and money to buy nice clothes, get regular pedicures, put on makeup, style my hair and all the other stuff that keeps a woman looking good. And I'd like to keep it that way.
If I really wanted a child, maybe I wouldn't care what it would do to my figure, face, nails, hair or wardrobe. And by itself, vanity would certainly be a silly reason not to have one. But now that I know I don't want children, this is a pretty strong secondary reinforcement for me.