When I was a little girl, I always thought that my future had to have a husband and kids in it. Growing up, it was common for my very Italian and incredibly old-fashioned grandma to tell me to find a wealthy man so I could “settle down.” But that never sat right with me. The more I thought about having kids or even getting married, the more I began to dread the future.

Throughout history, women have fought so hard to be seen as more than birthing machines and homemakers. Despite this, society continues to pressure us into motherhood.

They force women who can’t afford to have kids or have never wanted to have kids to still give birth, to still have children. Because of this, so many unwanted children are born. And what happens to these kids? They are put into the foster system, notorious for not being a supportive or safe environment for a child to grow up in.

But what happens to these kids does not matter. As long as women push babies out like machines and keep the population thriving, society is satisfied. All they want is for these kids to be born.

On top of being child-bearers, society’s other purpose for women is to pass on their husbands’ genes. Women not only have to go through the painful process of birthing the children, but it is commonplace for women to become the sole caregiver for their children in cases when the father is barely around.

Historically, many cultures promote the idea of having lots of offspring being a sign of societal success for men. And it’s a bonus if the woman births a son or two to carry on the husband’s so-called legacy. These children even carry the father’s last name despite their mother having formed and birthed them.

That pressure society has put on women is sickening. Women are more than just child-bearers. They have careers, aspirations, and dreams outside of the house.

It is important to note that women who choose to be mothers are not “wrong” or deserving ofshame. Women should be able to choose what they want for themselves. There’s nothing wrong with wanting kids or being a housewife. One of the best things about being a woman is that we have the power to decide if we want to be mothers or not — even if society tells us otherwise.

So why are we letting society tell us what we should become? Why are we letting it tell us that motherhood is our only future? And why do women shame other women for choosing that future?

The only way we can move forward is if we embrace the fact that we have the choice to become what we want to. And a future that is right for one woman won’t always be right for another.

Motherhood is beautiful, don’t get me wrong, but it’s certainly not for me. My dream is to get into book publishing and focus on my career, not raising children. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

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