About a week after the birth of her daughter, Amy Monticello says, she came to an important realization while nursing her underweight newborn: having a child had only made her more pro-choice than before.
Nobody should be forced to do this, she posted online at the time.
“What I want is for women’s choices regarding fertility to be supported, full stop. I want our privacy respected,” says Monticello.
Ever since, Monticello says, she’s been encouraged by a feminist movement that supports a woman’s choice not to have kids and discusses her ambivalence or regret about having them — and, perhaps most importantly, includes a call for privacy “because asking a woman whether or not she wants them is intrusive, judgmental, and sometimes extremely painful (see: fertility struggles). It makes many problematic assumptions that ultimately underscore a dangerous premise: that a woman’s life without kids lacks in meaning.”
Monticello remembers she was full of doubt after she found out she was pregnant because she had been enjoying a very “complete life” teaching up till then and she worried whether having a child would change all that for the worse.
In the current political climate of “inventive oppression,” Monticello insists, “it’s essential that women push back mightily against having their desires, expectations, and choices about having children legislated by others, including the law.”