I have an unpopular opinion: I believe being childfree is an accomplishment. I can’t believe I made it to 28 without children despite all of the reproductive coercion I’ve experienced. Being childfree is an accomplishment if you hail from a country where motherhood is forced upon you as soon as you’re able to talk. I’ve written about the 5 signs of reproductive coercion where I described examples of oppressive practices I’ve endured. I was indoctrinated within an institution where marital rape and forced motherhood is both normalized and legitimized. It’s a taboo topic, however, it must be addressed. GabarIskuFilan is about exploring feminism, women’s liberation, and reproductive rights from an intersectional approach.
Being childfree is a luxury if you hail from a country where every resource imaginable is tied to men. This is an uncomfortable truth. Women in my family were forced into motherhood to access basic needs, financial stability, and even citizenship. I am writing about these experiences because reproductive coercion is a form of domestic violence we often overlook. Children are the most effective form of bondage. Being childfree is one of the reasons I was able to make it this far in life. Early motherhood would’ve ruined my chances of escaping poverty, graduating from college, and gaining decision-making power.
Next time, you meet a Somali woman who’s in her late 20’s and early 30’s who’s childfree, congratulate her. She most likely survived an incredulous amount of reproductive coercion from intimate partners and family members. The most effective way to control women is to limit their reproductive decision-making power. We have to overcome institutional racism, gender/racial wage gap, sexism, and reproductive coercion. We resist in spite of these oppressive systems so that we can live self-determined lives.
Being childfree made it possible to graduate college, travel abroad, accomplish my goals, gain financial independence and leave abusive male partners and family members. I doubt I would have this life if I weren’t childfree. Being childfree has made the life of my dreams possible. Women’s liberation includes the right to live without reproductive coercion, forced birth and grooming from male intimate partners, families and religious leaders. I am grateful to have privileges (i.e. education, financial freedom, reproductive decision-making power) that have safeguarded my person from forced motherhood. I am the first woman in my family’s legacy who was not forced into birthing or childrearing.
When I launched GabarIskuFilan, my goal was to shift the paradigm by introducing new perspectives, inventing new terminology and challenging the discourse around Somali womanhood. Support my work by subscribing, sharing and commenting. I post on GabarIskuFilan twice a week.