France is proud to be the country in Europe which has the most children. However, in France, nearly 15% of women do not. They represent 4 million French women, of whom more than a million have no children by choice. Among them, Chloé Chaudet, who tells in a testimony book, I decided not to be a mother, the daily struggle that she must lead to have her personal decision respected in the face of the weight of social injunctions.
His questioning begins at a young age, when, in college, a sex education class makes him discover that one can get pregnant without wanting it and therefore have a child without having wanted it. A first shock, which leads her to wonder about the famous “maternal instinct”, terribly “sly” since you can only know if you have it by becoming a mother. Over the years, her readings, her encounters and her personal experience have reinforced her conviction that there are other ways to flourish and pass on other than by becoming a mother, since this is an argument for her. often strikes. Lecturer in comparative literature, she is passionate about her profession, the basis of which is the transmission of knowledge. She writes, she also plans to work as a translator … so many ways of transmitting to others, without having blood ties with them.
Of course, Chloé Chaudet recognizes that choosing not to be a mother is giving up certain things, like giving up lives that one could have lived if one had made other career choices. A certain “melancholy”, even “sadness”, sometimes seizes her when she thinks about what she will not know, “but these moments never last long enough to [l]’to shake in [s]a decision ”. All the more so since the more she reflects on the subject, the more she finds arguments to support her decision, from the books of Simone de Beauvoir and Virginia Woolf to those of contemporary feminists pointing to the mental load or the maternal load, not to mention the state of the planet, current and future, and, quite simply, his personal aspirations for fulfillment: his need to breathe and to live at his own pace, his thirst for freedom and independence would be inexorably challenged by the arrival of ‘a child.
Her testimony also underscores the rejection she experiences because she has no children when she “should” have seen her age. Many young women without children but “of childbearing age” will find their way there, and readers who are not will get a glimpse of this reality. Between the friends who impose their children during a reunion and are therefore not really present, those who gently laugh because she does not seem to know how to take care of a baby, those who automatically exclude her by conversing motherhood and baby -children, strangers who judge her in a single question (“and you, do you have children?”) and all the people who tell her “so, when are you going to do it? “, Chloé Chaudet underlines the regular spikes against which we must learn to arm ourselves mentally. Not wanting a child is a personal choice, but in 2021, it is still struggling to be accepted, throwing on those who make this decision a social disavowal that weighs on them psychologically.
I decided not to be a mother