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The Hungry Womb

With the title of this piece, you would be forgiven for thinking it is just another article about women and women’s business from just another man.

But it is not just about women … or men … it is about us … our relationship to each other … our individual gendered relationship to each other and the social and personal begetting of children.

Of course, the mention of ‘womb’ in the title gives clue to where this panegyric to male/female relationships must start … after all, all human life is first nurtured in a womb and it is that womb that gives shelter, food and bodily contact between new life and the ancient procedure of motherhood and fatherhood.

Times change, and with that change comes a differing interpretation and attitude to the idea of relationships and the begetting of children … The expectations of differing shifts in economic circumstances of women, of social status and generational ideals all impinge on this or that generation of child-bearing age women to want to be encumbered with the responsibility of child-rearing … and then too, and just as important, is the male father’s responsibility to provide for the family when the mother is in these most vulnerable times.

Now, that places the basic social structures on the table: Woman, man, relationship, child, responsibility, family. But it no longer has to work like this … social structures in these times allow separation of those essential ingredients of what was once considered the necessities of societus familius into units of consideration, ie: A woman no longer needs a secure relationship with a man to have a child without social condemnation. There need be no continuity of relationship to raise the child as a single mother/father. The child need feel no material disadvantage in being raised by the one parent and the ideal of “Family” has long since been retired to an almost anachronistic irrelevance. Of course, there are variables and exceptions taken to such situations depending upon culture and ethnic group … But all in all, in this country it is feasible to do those things just mentioned … and a very many do.

But what of this idea of “The Hungry Womb” … That maternal instinct for a child that can over-ride every social and physical hurdle in its pursuit for impregnation and childbirth?

And this is not just a female thing. Many men are driven by either instinctive lascivious desire, personal want, familial demands and/or genetic lineage considerations to reproduce “one of their own”. We have seen forced rapes, artificial insemination, surrogacy and trickery used to achieve such ends depending on the brutality or wealth of the male involved. On the other hand, we have seen allurement, sexual seduction, trickery, all the above save brutal rape and even that old standby: cuckoldry used if or when a woman feels the need to fill a hungry womb.

But in this day and society, is there even such a thing as the mythical “hungry womb” anymore?

This article; How People Decide Whether to Have Children poses that question here:

“Isabel Caliva and her husband, Frank, had already “kicked the can down the road.” The can, in their case, was the kid conversation; the road was Caliva’s fertile years. Frank had always said he wanted lots of kids. Caliva, who was in her early 30s, thought maybe one or two would be nice, but she was mostly undecided. They had a nice life, with plenty of free time that allowed for trips to Portugal, Paris, and Hawaii.

“I wasn’t feeling the pull the same way my friends were describing,” she told me recently. “I thought, maybe this isn’t gonna be the thing for me. Maybe it’s just going to be the two of us.”

At times, she wondered if her lack of baby fever should be cause for concern. She took her worries to the Internet, where she came across a post on the Rumpus’ “Dear Sugar” advice column titled, “The Ghost Ship that Didn’t Carry Us.” The letter was from a 41-year-old man who was also on the fence about kids: “Things like quiet, free time, spontaneous travel, pockets of non-obligation,” he wrote. “I really value them.”

Cheryl Strayed, the author of the column, wrote back that each person has a life and a “sister life” they’ll never know—the “ghost ship” of the title. “The clear desire for a baby isn’t an accurate gauge for you,” she wrote. Instead, she recommended “thinking deeply about your choices and actions from the stance of your future self.” In other words, think about what you’ll regret later.

“The Rumpus post helped me understand that no matter what I chose, there was going to be a loss,” Caliva said. Her ghost ship would either be a carefree life or the experience of parenthood. “That was freeing. It changed my perspective from having to make the right choice to just deciding.”

This “choice” is the reward of the success of a “world of individualist consideration” … a world where perhaps only the essential “I“ matters. A world where one does not need to consider social force, familial obligations, economic deprivation or anything other than “self”. Can this be the Utopia that we, as a people hungered for? The ; “I feel, therefore I will!” proof of existence?

On top of this securing of individualism in choice of lifestyle, we now have the added luxury of choice of gender association … and with a kind of dualism chasm opening up between the sexes, along with the violence and aggression, there would seem to be a determination to reduce contact to a minimal, safety guaranteed all-inclusive package of style, physical looks, career status and STD-free nights at some security enclosed club via a swipe left or right on a social connection app.

Why worry about sex-bots becoming the norm … they already are!

Far cry are we from the days of male/female lust-thrust-trust relationships based on social demands and life or death situations … the whole damn thing was such a risk factor that one has to wonder how the Earth got so many people on it at all! … which brings us back to “The Hungry Womb” …

I recently posted a short story on this site; Write again, Blue Eyes, where a woman desiring children who suspects her husband as being infertile, uses the miscellaneous columns of a newspaper to “procure” a unwitting “sperm donor” to have her children .. she first asks for a picture to ascertain whether there is close approximation in physical comparison to her own husband before following through with the desired procedure. This is no novel idea … in fact it could be called a legitimate imperative if a woman so desires a thing fulfilled … it has been going on since the beginnings of time itself … as statistics and DNA test proved what was already unspoken but known … (and I might suggest; known by many “fathers”) that between 5 – 30% (in extreme cases in a village in England) of babies cannot claim the paternal link shown on the birth certificate

And so it should and must be … women’s right to children have to be held as a – priori consideration. Sadly, humanity fails again and again to place the ideal of relationship at the centre of stable society and the antagonistic division between the sexes seems to be getting wider and wider so that the totally bizarre consideration of sexual robots are even being considered as “normal”! I can recall a time when myself and my friends of either gender went out of our way both in sartorial splendour and economic devastation to seek out relationships no matter the time or distance travelled to achieve such and considered ourselves lacking in the essential emotional ingredients of life if we didn’t find it! Now it seems the opposite, where more consideration is given to securing a good financial opportunity for a mortgage on a splendid house in a respected suburb!

Perhaps it is a generational thing.


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  1. Joseph Carli

    Wow!..an eerie silence..even from the legion of the damned! and on such a topical and sensitive subject?..Am I, the author, that much on the nose, or is it that the subject matter is TOO sensitive?..I mean..a whole day without even admission of the presence of the post except from one brave warrior!…and just WHO is “aryablittleflea” ?…well, whoever you are, interesting name and I thank you for the read…it is much appreciated..But hang on..I see there is over a hundred plus “hits” on the post, so many must have read it…Could this be time for me, as a budding “philosopher of the back streets” to prove myself…a case of : “Philosopher prove thyself” ?
    Ok…ok…seeing I was just the other day waffling on about my theory of “Logical Truth” and how good it was..perhaps it is time to put such a theory to the acid test!

    A) We have a post that recognises and calls for the legitimising of the right of women who seek to fulfill a maternal hunger for a child to be able to use any means they feel must be used to obtain that result, and it is not for the male of the relationship to object to, prevent. or criticise perhaps any such a secret liason from taking place, only his duty to give emotional and practical support..for it is the natural right of woman to make that choice..and indeed it is in many cases of mutual benefit to the relationship of a couple if such a desire is fulfillled.

    B) We have many women commenting on this site who fanatically and correctly uphold the rights of women to have independence from patriarchal interference and intervention in all things surrounding “women’s issues”..and many of these women have themselves confessed to being of that age that would place them in the category of “Baby Boomers” of now around sixty years of age..yet we have silence on such a deeply personal and profound subject from that very cohort of usual commentators?

    C) In the article in Q’…I mentioned a story from the nineteen fifties, when most of the Baby Boomers were conceived, concerning a woman using the miscellaneous columns of a daily newspaper to seek out a “sperm donor” so as to facilitate a desire to have a child..I also pointed out that DNA analysis on genetic screening for disease on many older people has had the unintended consequences of now inadvertently exposing a percentage of between 5-30% discrepancy of paternity in those offspring..

    D) …………………………………………….oh dear!……………………..oh my!….

    E) Further commentary on this subject will be left to the appropriate place..thanking you..

  2. Craig Woodhead

    Very Interesting article Joseph. I have never commented before on AIMN, but regularly keep up with the contributions from all concerned. I do like that you get into difficult topics at times. You have wonderful story telling ability, and turn of phrase.
    I am a baby boomer, I think, born 1945, was married in 1969, but we waited nearly twenty years to have our two sons in 1998 and 1991. Had many discussions whether to or not, as business and securing the future, seemed to be more important for the longest time. The Bi-Centenery in 1988 changed attitudes for us, as we experienced the camaraderie of the crowds in Sydney, which contributed to a realisation that things could work out after years of angst.

  3. Craig Woodhead

    Oops make that 1988 and 1991.

  4. Kronomex

    “Wow!..an eerie silence..even from the legion of the damned! and on such a topical and sensitive subject?” What a crock of crap! How about the fact that people may not have gotten around to reading your piece yet. And that accounts for there being no comments.

  5. Joseph Carli

    Kool it, Krono’….take a bex and lie down…Can’t a bloke have a bit of fun these days?

  6. Andreas

    Joseph, I used to find your writing interesting and I like your thoughtful and constructive approach. But of late I sense a slight drift into the areas considered untouchable by Australian standards, hence the lack of response, perhaps?
    Your foray into the area of female reproductive considerations serves as a case in point. Consider this, if you may: What female of reproductive capability would want to share her innermost desires with whoever on a forum kicked off by a male?

  7. Joseph Carli

    Thanks , Craig…yes..a serious decision with definitely long-term consequences eh?….but then, if we look at it in an artistic way…: “What point a vase without flowers?”

  8. Joseph Carli

    Andreas..: ” What female of reproductive capability would want to share her innermost desires with whoever on a forum kicked off by a male?”

    Those who seem to have few such qualms when swiping left on Tinder?

  9. Kronomex

    Joseph, DON’T tell me what to do. Fun? If that was meant to be fun then I would hate to see what you call hilarious.

  10. Joseph Carli

    Yeah…heard about it..flogga……a bit like that “Barney” character in The Simpsons, eh?……..say..do you reckon the cognome : “flogga” sounds a tad TOO Catholic?

  11. Joseph Carli

    Andreas…Further to your concerns of my wandering too far from the “Australian Standard” concerning “women’s issues”:… You seem like a nice, well-informed chap…so perhaps you are already aware that it is not so much the outraged noise some people make when confronted with such topics, as the silence from those same people on some topics…
    There is an old Trentino saying..: “A man will take his secrets to the Tavern…Women ; to the grave”.

    It is the silences in some conversations that are the most telling, Andreas…especially from the loudest women.

  12. Joseph Carli

    Amazing coincidence this appears on the ABC site just as my post disappears from here!…. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-11-27/half-sisters-reunited-in-their-60s/10519550

    You see!…there are things going on in this world besides the everyday trivialities of politics…important things many more of us should take notice of..after all, as Charles Darwin said..: “It’s not so much the little things in life as the life in little things”….
    Wakey wakey peoples!

  13. gerard oosterman

    I am not a woman and can’t really talk about womb-hunger. What I do know is that perhaps with womb-hunger comes security- hunger. So many relationships end in disaster or separation, often both, that I am surprised Choice hasn’t put an end to it, by promoting a law against it. If fridges or mouse-traps had those rates of failure, they would be banned.
    I have never thought much of trying to find a hungry womb. Perhaps in more community based societies hungry wombs can be assured of loving compassionate care for the resulting fruits, even when things turn sour.

  14. Joseph Carli

    Gerard..: ” I am not a woman and can’t really talk about womb-hunger.”….Thanking you for your comment..The idea of a “hungry womb” I use as a metaphor for those very sad situations you mention above..perhaps a more accurate phrase would be “society hunger”…a hunger for a compassionate understanding of the wants and needs of both genders..a hunger for that security of care for those children and the relationships they come from..as you say..rather than a hunger for more of more material things…yes..the womb is the birthplace of humanity and it is also a metaphor of the nurturing of humanity.

  15. Josephus

    Many ways to see this: having a baby is an ego trip, ie I must make another me or us , a primeval wish to reproduce that survives times when most babies died young, or a way for atheists to live on after death. I know some who have decided that for the sake of the world they should opt not to reproduce, as there are far too many who have multiple children as it is. These wider issues have been ignored in the article.

  16. Joseph Carli

    Josephus..: ” These iwider ssues have been ignored in the article.”….The centre point of the article was an emotional point…those external principles would take several articles to respond to and experience tells that any article over 1500 words is lost to concentration and time allotted …
    I must say that those points you make on the subject are pretty much judgemental in origin…whereas many reasons to desire children are deeply emotive and imperative to some women..It is not necessarily an objective subject that is easily answered..it can destroy a person in some cases.

    I have been told by a woman who, having lost a pregnancy, had a subsequent “phantom pregnancy” replete with milk production…

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