mater mea episode 006: I Ain't Birthing No Babies!
Words: mater mea
We talk to two women about their decision to be childfree and the ongoing gender wars on social media.
In the studio with Anthonia, we have Shauna Stewart, a 28-year-old journalist and strategist living in Montclair, New Jersey, and Lelita Cannon, a 35-year-old writer and cultural and social critic. Lelita is the creator and editor-in-chief behind listentolita.com. Her work has been featured on The Root, Very Smart Brothas, and Diverse Issues in Higher Education. (You can follow Shauna and Lelita on Twitter.)
What We Talked About
It’s summertime, which means street harassment outside and gender wars harassment on social media. Before we get into our main topic, we discuss the ongoing “fixing the plate” debate: Should women always set up a plate for their men, and why is this even an issue?
The flaws in the “Don’t be a Kim Kardashian, be an Aisha Curry” memes, and our attempt to create one for men
Joy Bryant’s Lenny Letter essay—“Stop Telling Me I Should Have Kids” about her thoughts on people constantly question her and her husband's decision to not have kids:
While the lives and livelihood of women are still under assault, we have come so far and accomplished so much. We don't have to be automatic breeders. My womb doesn't belong to the world. It doesn't even belong to my husband. It is mine and mine alone, and my womb should be free to live life as MY nature intended. And if that doesn't include a child, that's OK, because I've got plenty of love to give, and plenty of plans to help make the world a better place through something other than my offspring.
Lelita and Shauna explain to us why and how they decided they wanted to lead childfree lives
The legacy question: Is not dying alone / furthering your family’s lineage enough of a reason to have kids when you don’t want them?
“I’m just really concerned with living my best life while I’m alive…and I honestly don’t feel like I can do that with kids.” —Lelita
Why the financial and emotional cost and responsibility of having children and being a parent don’t appeal to Lelita and Shauna
How American policies don’t support women at all, whether they want children or not
Is it more pearl clutching for Black women to say they don’t want children because of the stereotypes of Black women’s fertility?
How “Black family goals” doesn’t always include people who don’t have children
How Lelita stays baby free
How their decision to stay baby-free has affected their dating lives and relationships
Why do women get more pushback about their decision to not have children than men?
“Motherhood isn’t the only barometer of women’s value.” —Shauna
Will Lelita and Shauna have any regrets about not having kids?
How their social lives may change as more of their friends have kids
How people who have kids view them and their decision to not have kids
Things That Gave Us Life
Shauna: Nice New Yorkers (which really do exist, we promise) who helped her after she fell in a subway station.
Leilita: Being a part of the podcast to share her experience and support other women who may feel alone or ostracized because of their decision to stay childfree.
Anthonia: The e-newsletter Tomorrow Looks Bright that highlights the work of Black creative women around the globe, created by Kristy Tillman.