NoMo Women, Beyond Motherhood

NoMo women want their decision not to have children respected because they sometimes feel that society, because they are women, suggests that they be mothers.
NoMo women, beyond motherhood

Throughout history and in various contexts, woman has been given the role of mother (mother).  However, over time, this concept has changed in some cultures. Now, more and more people think that we should no longer make this association. There are even groups of NoMo women, women who have decided not to have children.

These are people who claim their decision not to be a mother, simply because they don’t want to be.  Moreover, they know perfectly well that taking this path will not make them less female or make them incomplete people.

This term comes from the English  Not Mothers. It has started to become popular thanks to all these women who fight for society to see motherhood as an option and not as an obligation. We will tell you more about this new movement throughout this article.

Origins of the movement

Women who do not wish or have decided not to have children have always existed. It is simply easier to express it in the news thanks to the spaces that women have gained, spaces in which she had no role in the past, and thanks to the groups that claim their rights.

It is therefore a phenomenon with a differential visibility depending on the culture. But how did it become popular? Thanks to associations which act as guarantors of freedom and the right of women not to be mothers.

NoMo women prioritize work

One of these associations is  Gateway Woman. Through a blog, a virtual community, books, meetings and other resources invite women to be separated from motherhood; that is, to the fact that she has to be a mother just because it is a woman.

Its founder, Jody Day, helped make this movement visible  through, among other things, her book Living the life unexpected. She reveals her thoughts on motherhood, including some personal experiences of times when she realized that the life she had been shown and for which she had been prepared from childhood did not exist.

Therefore,  thanks to these movements, more and more visibility is given to the idea of ​​motherhood as a choice.  Not wanting to be a mother doesn’t mean the woman has something wrong.

Society and motherhood

Society has linked the concepts of woman and motherhood for a very long time. Even if, currently, there are movements which ensure that the right of the woman to choose whether she wants to be a mother or not is respected, there are still societies where motherhood is required, in a certain way. .

This is found in sentences like:

  • Hasn’t your biological clock struck yet?
  • It’s getting late to have children
  • Not having children is a mark of selfishness
  • You say this now because you are young
  • What will happen when you are old and no one will be around to take care of you?
  • What will give meaning to your life?

Social pressure is clearly visible through these comments – or others. However, in reality, receiving them is far from being a dramatic situation. Rather, it is a conscious decision aligned with the person’s desires.

However,  many women, despite their desire not to be a mother, continue to feel the pressure  of their social environment. They do not know how to act in this situation. For this, there are different support groups or the option of going to see a psychotherapist who will help them get out of this deadlock that they do not know how to overcome.

A concerned woman at her desk


How are NoMo women?

NoMo women are no less women because they have no children. They are not people who are incomplete, selfish or who have not fulfilled their duty. They simply made the decision not to have children. Here is what characterizes this type of woman:

  • Their achievement is not based on having children
  • They believe they can succeed without having children
  • They do not think that children are insurance for old age. These women see other alternatives
  • They believe motherhood is a personal decision
  • They know they don’t have to do what is expected of them to feel fulfilled
  • NoMo women would not put off their goals or plans to be mothers

For NoMo women, not having children does not mean not being motherly. We can have this way of being with pets, nephews / nieces, relatives, etc. Moreover, they believe that the reasons for this choice should be respected.

Several studies have been carried out on this topic. For example, Sharon K. Houseknecht, professor in the sociology department at Ohio State University, in her article “Voluntary Childlessness,” reviews the literature on studies of not having children on a voluntary basis.

In his article, Houseknecht explores points such as: the trends and incidence of the phenomenon, the reasons for not having children, the actors involved in this decision, the role of society and the differences between not wanting to have children. children and not be able to have any.

Like any other decision, this one concerns each person. This is why NoMo women do not understand that they are asked to be mothers because they are women. They have other goals and plans and just want their opinion to be respected.


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