I don't want children -- stop telling me I'll change my mind | Christen Reighter | Summary and Q&A

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December 7, 2017
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TED
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I don't want children -- stop telling me I'll change my mind | Christen Reighter

TL;DR

This content explores the societal pressure on women to want and have children, and the challenges faced by women who choose not to conform to this expectation.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What persistent concept did the speaker observe in our language and media regarding women?

The speaker observed a concept that women are not only supposed to have children, but they are also supposed to want to have children.

Q: How did people typically react when the speaker explained her desire to not have children?

When the speaker tried to explain her disinterest in having children, adults would often laugh at her and dismissively tell her that she would change her mind.

Q: What types of questions did the speaker face when discussing her decision to not have children?

The speaker faced intrusive questions such as whether her husband and parents knew about her choice, why she didn't want a family, and why she didn't want to leave anything behind.

Q: What reasons influenced the speaker's decision to become surgically sterilized?

The speaker's decision to become surgically sterilized was influenced by reasons such as the risk of passing on hereditary illness, the need to stop life-saving medication during pregnancy, concerns about overpopulation, limited access to resources, and the large number of children in the foster-care system.

Q: How did the speaker feel during her consultations with medical professionals regarding the procedure?

The speaker felt dismissed, silenced, and disrespected during her consultations with medical professionals. They often asked condescending questions or made belittling statements, treating her as if she was a little girl instead of respecting her autonomy and informed decision.

Q: How did the speaker perceive society's view of women and motherhood?

The speaker realized society strongly clings to the notion that a woman's identity is tied to being a mother. People are unable to separate a woman being a woman from her being a mother. She believes a woman's value should not be determined solely by whether or not she has a child, as it strips her of her individual identity.

Summary

In this video, the speaker discusses the societal pressure on women to have children and her decision to become surgically sterilized. She sheds light on the biased treatment and dismissive attitudes she faced when seeking approval for the procedure. The speaker emphasizes that a woman's value should not be tied to motherhood and highlights the importance of self-determination in choosing whether or not to become a parent.

Questions & Answers

Q: What observation did the speaker make about the roles placed on women?

The speaker recognized that women were not only expected to have children but also supposed to want to have children.

Q: How did people react when the speaker expressed her disinterest in having children?

When the speaker tried to explain her disinterest in having children, adults often laughed and dismissed her, assuring her that she would change her mind.

Q: What are some common questions and judgments faced by childless women?

Childless women often have to face intrusive questions like "Does your husband know?", "Don't you want a family?", or "Don't you want to leave anything behind?". The primary criticism they face is being labeled as selfish.

Q: What are some reasons that influence a woman's decision not to become a mother?

There are numerous reasons a woman may choose to abstain from motherhood, such as the risk of passing on hereditary illness, the need to stop life-saving medication during pregnancy, concerns about overpopulation, limited resources, and the number of children in the foster-care system.

Q: How did the speaker approach her decision to become surgically sterilized?

The speaker approached her decision to become surgically sterilized by conducting thorough research to fully understand the procedure's approval process, satisfaction rates, risks, and statistics.

Q: What disheartening pattern did the speaker observe while reading about other women's experiences with obtaining a tubal ligation?

The speaker discovered that many women faced financial hardships and disrespect from medical practitioners when trying to get a tubal ligation, often being turned down multiple times over many years.

Q: What requirements did the speaker need to fulfill in order to have the surgery?

In the speaker's state, the requirements for the surgery were being at least 21 years old, appearing of sound mind and acting of her own accord, and waiting for a 30-day period.

Q: How did the speaker feel when she faced opposition and biased treatment from medical professionals?

The speaker felt dismissed and silenced when faced with condescending questions and statements from medical professionals. She hated herself for allowing the disrespect but persisted in her pursuit.

Q: What struggle did the speaker face in convincing medical professionals to approve the procedure?

The speaker had to go through multiple consultations, seeing five or six medical professionals in the same hour, in order to convince one to allow the procedure.

Q: What belief did the speaker challenge during her pursuit of becoming surgically sterilized?

The speaker challenged the belief that a woman's worth is determined by her role as a mother and emphasized that having children is an extension of womanhood, not its definition.

Takeaways

The speaker highlights the societal pressure on women to conform to traditional gender roles and the importance of allowing women to make choices regarding motherhood based on their own desires and circumstances. She encourages women to embrace self-determination and challenges the notion that a woman's worth is tied to her role as a mother.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The speaker discusses societal expectations placed on women to have children and how these expectations conflicted with her personal values of not wanting children.

  • She shares her experience of seeking a tubal ligation and the obstacles she faced due to medical paternalism and societal biases.

  • The speaker highlights the importance of women's autonomy in deciding whether to have children and emphasizes that a woman's worth should not be determined by her choice to become a mother or not.

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