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.