When Ebby Weyime was 29 years old, she went through an intense period of self-reflection. That was in 2020.
The entrepreneur, who runs The Grace Cup, a menstrual hygiene product tells Eve that it was during this time she decided that she does not ever want to have children.
The entrepreneur reflects on her decision. She says it was a subject she thought about for a long time, taking over a year to scrutinise it.
“I grew up wanting children, and I did all through my early adulthood. But when I was in my late 20s all that changed. I asked myself ‘why exactly do I want children? And that led me to write a pros and cons list about it.”
She looks back at the list amused, recalling that the only pro she could think about for wanting children was that she “was curious about how her children will look like.”
And it was not just the list. Weyime reveals that that year, she got pregnant.
Instead of experiencing a maternal feeling, she was instead stressed, uncomfortable and facing the fact that this was not something she wanted.
“People say, oh you do not know what you are missing, but I felt none of that. I felt as if I had this alien growing inside me. It was a harrowing experience,” she says, adding that motherhood is not for everyone.
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NO CHILDREN BY CHOICE
After the termination of the five-week pregnancy, Weyime underwent a procedure to have her ‘tubes tied’.
Health website Mayoclinic writes that tubal litigation is a type of permanent birth control whereby the fallopian tubes are cut, tied or blocked to permanently prevent pregnancy.
“(It) prevents an egg from travelling from the ovaries through the fallopian tubes and blocks sperm from travelling up the fallopian tubes to the egg. The procedure does not affect your menstrual cycle,” the site adds, noting that most tubal litigation procedures cannot be reversed.
“There are many misconceptions about contraceptive methods, and that is a subject that most people need to be better educated on,” Weyime says.
Weyime adds that there is an expectation from society for women to have children as “an accomplishment” of sorts.
“I want people to ask themselves why exactly they want to have children - just like I had to. Perhaps they will find that it may just be social conditioning.”
“Part of my child-free journey has been letting go of society and its expectations of me,” she adds.
Alicia Mutua*, 29, a business executive in a leading corporate company says she dreads the idea of getting her own children. She says she has been trying to break the stereotype that, for an African woman, being childless is a curse.
“I am always thinking of that process of conceiving, changing body and having to go through the whole pregnancy process and undergo all that body transformation. I have always reasoned that that was never meant for me. Not that I don’t like children. I do treasure them. Just the pregnancy and the delivery process as well as the feeling that a man is part of my life simply because we have a child together does not work for me. I strongly feel that my life should be independent,” Alicia* says.
“I have actually come into terms with myself that if I am to ever get married, I will be a second wife. I actually want the relationship to be as private as can be and so without any public display. I would just want that security and identify that at least I have a man and a secure future with a partner without much of a buzz,” she says.
Irene Anyango*, a 28-year-old marketing executive based in Kamamega and Nairobi says that she has known since the age of 20 that she would not want to have children.
“At 19 I thought, children would be nice. But as time went by, two or three years later, my feelings started to change.”
Asked what ultimately led her to decide on a child-free lifestyle, Irene says that she finally thought through how much of a responsibility child care is.
“The whole idea of being responsible for this entire human being was just too much for me to take,” she says.
She describes her decision as one that is easy and clear.
“How do I explain it?” she poses. “The same way I know for sure that I do not want to try out eating snails is the way I know that I just do not want children.”
Both women say that the ultimate life partner is one who shares in the decision not to have children.
“I have thought about whether I would want to get married to someone who already has children from a previous relationship, and that is okay,” Anyango says.
Her perfect partnership, she says would entail living a luxurious lifestyle with her partner, travelling the world, and investing.
Weyime says that she would not say “never” to the idea of adoption.
“I highly doubt that I would regret my decision not to have children or ever want to change my mind. And even then, my tubes are tied. If I ever felt that need, I think adoption is a beautiful thing.”
Nowadays, the goal in life is not to get married and have children; it is evolving, and the modern woman is not afraid to put herself first in her decision-making.
The idea that ‘a woman cooks cleans and looks after the children’ has remained a tired stereotype, and for decades, women have been fighting for equality of the genders.