Since the time we were small children, starting with our first ever doll, all women are expected to love babies. Before even reaching the first days of kindergarten, many girls already have a collection of baby dolls. I’m not trying to start something up against girls playing with dolls; I myself was the proud playmate of an American Girl doll, who I took on (imaginary) horseback riding trips and sled dog adventures, and whom I read books with.
After the period of being gifted dolls as young girls, upon reaching the teenage years, it is largely expected for women to ooh and aah upon seeing a baby. From being bombarded by babies showing up in your newsfeed to new additions within your extended family, it is always an unquestionable assumption—not only from the proud parents, but literally everyone—that you’ll fall in love with the baby, because that’s just what women do, right?
No, actually. Not every women loves babies. And I’m not talking about not wanting babies, I’m talking just not liking them. That’s right: there are women (with ovaries no less!) that actually don’t like babies, and I’m a member of that party.
And guess what, I’m allowed to hate them. Well, hate is a bit of a strong word, but to be honest, I do strongly dislike babies. I’m not a kid lover either, but babies are even worse in my eyes: helpless bags of humans that cry, disrupt sleep, poop and pee constantly, are always hungry, can’t do anything on their own, and take up a butt load of time, just to name a few of their not so charming characteristics.
I’ve never even thought babies were cute, so there goes the one thing that you may have thought they’ve got going for them. Out of the babies I’ve seen (and I am certainly not surrounded by them, thank goodness), whether in photos or in real life, ranging from fresh to toddler age, I’ve never released the expected “aww.” Although I have given something like a grimace to the proud mommy, forcing a smile to make the awkward silence more bearable. I naturally think puppies, kittens, bunnies, baby elephants, and especially baby gorillas (have you seen a baby gorilla? You haven’t lived until you have), just to name a few, are all hopelessly adorable.
But human babies? Nope. Those chubby cheeks, big eyes, tiny feet, and fuzzy-wuzzy hair have no positive effect on me. There’s recently been more acknowledgement that not all women want children, but even they still typically (in the public eye, at least) think babies are cute. Even Carrie Bradshaw, the mother of none, save for fashion, has said on her and Big’s decision on not having children: “We both love kids but it’s just not who we are.”
You’re probably thinking “What a heartless bitch. They’re babies, they’re supposed to act like that!” In response, I am completely not heartless, as being a teacher, an animal lover, and a regular giver to various non-profits, I have a pretty big heart (and a not so modest one, as it turns out). As to the second thought, well, duh. My point exactly. Babies act like babies, which is precisely why I don’t like them.
I’m free to not like them, because that’s just how I feel. But why does my opinion even matter, really? As a married 26 year old, I’m starting to freak that this year—which will see my two year wedding anniversary—may mark the year of being asked the dreaded question of if and when I am going to start making a baby, which funnily enough, family, friends, and even strangers all feel entitled to ask. To answer that question, all I know is that right now, at my current place in life, it is a big no to baby-making, and not necessarily because I don’t like babies, but largely because my husband and I want to focus on ourselves for the next few years, and not take on a huge financial responsibility as well.
But more importantly, it’s sadly become a natural assumption that a woman, especially one of child-rearing age, must adore babies. It matters because for every woman (because, let’s face it, if a man doesn’t like babies, it is culturally seen as typical) who doesn’t like babies, she’ll receive judgmental, nasty looks, and the “What’s wrong with you?” or “You must think that baby is cute, or else you’re just evil” comments (all of which I have received numerous occasions).
Just like the desire to have a baby isn’t in every woman, neither is she necessarily wired to like them. And there is nothing wrong with that, so get the fuck over it. I’m allowed to not like babies, just as some women opt out of not having any. And even though I’m inching nearer to the supposed biological clock, I’m just a woman with an open, loving heart who would rather babysit a baby elephant (and clean up its poop) over your baby. Sorry, not sorry.