Societal expectations regarding the desire to have children

Social norms strongly influence decisions regarding the desire to have children. The reasons are manifold, for example the traditional gender role of man and woman is anchored in many people's minds. The man goes to work and takes care of the finances, the woman stays at home and takes care of the children and the household. These are classic images that often do not go hand in hand with one's own ideas and beliefs.

Women and the concept of femininity

For many people, for example, being a "real woman" is linked to having children of their own. However, this is a traditional concept of femininity that is increasingly difficult for a woman to realise in today's reality. Thus, women are supposed to work on their independence during adolescence, have a good career and find the right partner.

The image of today's woman

The media additionally promote the ideal image of today's woman: career, family and household are easy to reconcile. The reality, however, looks different. Reconciling the individual issues is hardly feasible and puts constant pressure on women. On the one hand, the career is supposed to be in the foreground, and from their mid-20s onwards, women are automatically expected to want to have children and fulfil this wish. Social expectations are contradictory and difficult to fulfil in all areas. Several statistics show that women suffer more often from depression and burn-out. 

The desire to have children

If the desire to have children cannot be fulfilled, it is considered a flaw and leads to social devaluation. Women who do not want children are often accused of selfishness. Many couples feel discriminated against and at the mercy of intimate questions about their personal desire to have children. It is like talking about the weather. In this context, questions such as "When will it be time for you?" violate any personal boundaries. Especially couples who are affected by involuntary childlessness feel at the mercy of this pressure.

The environment and childlessness

Dealing with involuntary childlessness is a challenge for those affected and is associated with emotional pain. In such situations, the environment is important as a source of support. In many cases, however, the environment cannot deal with the issue of childlessness and it can happen that friends and acquaintances withdraw. In addition, those affected feel at the mercy of well-intentioned advice and find it hurtful.

Childlessness as a taboo subject

Nevertheless, the topic of childlessness is often stigmatised as a taboo subject in society. Whether wanted or unwanted, there is often a lack of understanding, honesty, openness and exchange. There is hardly any acceptance of deciding against having a child, as it is a social norm to have children. Thus, the expectations of the environment are not fulfilled and this is followed by the disappointment of the environment.

The violation of the social norm

Suddenly everyone is getting pregnant, getting married or building a house. "Do I have to?" - a question many people ask themselves; these are common life goals. A kind of "debt to pay" arises. But what if one's own life goals are different and do not conform to the norm? In many cases, a violation of the social norm brings with it social exclusion. Not feeling taken seriously and constantly having to justify oneself are among the consequences.

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