TRIGGER WARNING: For graphic discussion of pregnancy, description of primary tokophobia, parenthood, sacrifice, and how those topics relate.
Apparently my womb is a point of contention. More precisely, how and when I’ll use it.
I’ve had this conversation many times. I’ll tell someone I don’t want children, and they argue with me. Why is it always something to be argued with? I had a literal nightmare last night about pushing someone- a baby- out of my body. About the visceral submission to another person. About how a baby comes to be inside a body. And no part of that scenario appeals to me.
From beginning to end, pregnancy is a violent, sacrificing process. It would require sacrificing myself, first my privacy and personal space to another adult, and then my entire body to a baby. For nearly a year, this baby, this other person, would do as it pleased with my body- steal nutrients, drive my emotions crazy, make me vomit, make me ache. My first sacrifice would be visible to everyone I interact with for five to six months while the baby was still inside me, telling of the events which lead to a distended abdomen and swollen breasts.
This trial wouldn’t end gently, either. Hypothetically, one act, one assault or moment of pleasure with another person could lead to this life-changing, life-creating process. For nine months approximately I would wholly contain another human being- and then that person, who I’m encouraged to love, encouraged to want- that human being would force my body open, possibly killing me, or wreak so much havoc that another person must cut into me and take the infant out manually. It’s violent. It’s invasive. It’s uncomfortable. It’s sexualized, fetishized, expected. Expected.
I’m expected, at some point in my life, to willingly enter this process of pain and physically be controlled by two different people, at the end of which, I will be expected to stay with both and care for the one which recently wrecked my body. After enduring total-body invasion, my hormonal levels and health would never be the same, and I would be expected by many people to keep the child who caused it in my life, to raise that child and provide care as soon as I’m done pushing blood out of my body. After pregnancy, I would be expected, forced to become a parent as well.
And parenting, as many people seem to think, doesn’t end after eighteen years. It’s the rest of my life twined with a person who caused me unimaginable pain, whose birth would undoubtedly give me nightmares and phantom aches long after I had healed. I would need to feed, clothe, educate, and communicate with that person. I would need to call them weekly, pay for what I can, keep seeing them into my old age, should I live that long.
As I write this, I’m nearly crying. My heart hurts at the thought of so much sacrifice, so much pain. And I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s too much to ask of a person, too much to expect, but we ask it of our mothers and sisters and daughters and wives. I begged my mother for a little brother, and I do now have one. I can’t tell her or my father, can’t express how terrifying pregnancy and parenthood are to me.
I wish so badly that I could rip these parts out of myself, all the parts which support reproduction. I wish I had been born infertile. I wish this wasn’t a choice I had to make, and I wish it hadn’t been decided by everyone around me that I wanted this before I even knew what a uterus was. Yes, I played with babydolls, yes I played at motherhood. But I never understood just how much of a sacrifice parenthood is. And I can’t see myself ever wanting it.