Welcome to today’s episode of Unclassified Woman. Today I’m speaking to Shanghai based Keturah Kendrick, who shares her perspective on being childfree by choice.
Many people make assumptions about others without even realising it. We see a woman in her 40’s without children and assume she is selfish or too career-oriented to take time to raise children. Often there are circumstances playing out behind the scenes that we just aren’t aware of.
Whose voice do you listen to most? When it comes to marriage and having children, it seems that everyone has an opinion regarding how YOU should live your life. Today’s show is all about listening to YOUR voice and making the choices that make YOU happy.
Keturah Kendrick is an American writer, blogger and podcaster who has lived on three different continents and travelled to more than a dozen countries.
For years Keturah has written about her life as a single woman who sees being unmarried as a lifestyle choice like any other, as opposed to an “illness from which I must be cured.” She also writes about her lifelong disinterest in motherhood, critiquing the cultural expectation that black women, in particular, are destined to birth and raise children.
An English teacher by trade, she has discussed her favourite books with her students in New York, Rwanda, and Shanghai. Her debut collection of essays, No Thanks: Black, Female, and Living in the Martyr-Free Zone, will be published in June 2019. Keturah enjoys food and travel, specifically, eating her way through her favourite countries—and who can blame her?
What you’ll hear in this episode:
- Keturah calls New York and New Orleans home. She needed a break and wanted to travel, so spent 2 years in Rwanda teaching English and then found a position in Shanghai.
- Her not having a child is “absolutely by personal choice”—she always knew that motherhood would never be “her thing”.
- How she has felt the pressure just beneath the surface and has been told she is being silly, selfish, and must be a broken woman to not want children.
- The mockery she felt when she voiced her desire to never have kids.
- How she was raised that the only thing that validated a woman’s life was to be someone’s wife and mother.
- The subtle influences that she was “being unfair to her phantom husband” by not wanting children.
- Where is the logic in anyone trying to convince another person to have a baby?
- Why Keturah has become more vocal in her writing and her podcast.
- Why parenting should be a lifestyle choice that some people make and shouldn’t be tied to your gender.
- Many women around the world don’t have a choice and don’t have access to contraception.
- Why there should be tolerance for everyone’s right to individual choice about their roles.
- How Keturah uses her creative energy in her blog, writing, and being with other people.
- How she’s always been true to herself about what she wanted–”When I look back, I see that everyone was wrong but me.”
- The ways we encourage and blatantly tell young women that every other voice but their own is important.
- Why Keturah is glad she trusted in her own instincts and didn’t let anyone convince her to go against what she knew was right for her.
- How Keturah approached the topic of children with a longtime partner, who believed he may want children.
- The conditioning by society to fit the dominant narrative and how this plays out in relationships.
- Keturah’s advice: “Ignore everybody’s voice but your own, including your mother and your man. I want absolute joy and fulfilment for everyone. If motherhood is that for you, then do it, but if not, then listen to your voice until you make a decision.”
Parting words from Keturah: Don’t get off the fence if you are undecided! Don’t be afraid to tell people to mind their own business! Listen to no one’s voice but your own!
Find out more about Keturah and her work here
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