Having children is one of the few decisions in life that is irreversible.
Hamsters get round this by occasionally eating their young. Cannibalism in humans usually has far more paperwork and custodial sentencing involved, and is therefore a less popular choice. My own mother left when I was four. She'd given motherhood a fair shot- four years, after all, is longer than the length of most degrees, and eight times the length of a celebrity marriage. It was long enough to decide once and for all that it wasn't really for her. I am of course, being extremely flippant. It was not an easy decision and was precipitated by all kinds of contemporary events and the weight of history, which has not been kind to the mothers and daughters on that side of the family.
I'm not going to pretend that my mum walking out on me didn't have repercussions. But I would like to point out she only did something that men have been getting away with since the dawn of time.
Even today, there's a pervasive sense in society that a woman who hasn't had children is somehow slightly defective and unfulfilled; in my mother's generation and social circle you would possibly be burned at the stake for taking such a decision. For her, and sadly, even for women in this day and age, not having children was just not an option.
Telling someone that they should have a baby because they're a woman is like telling someone they should be a basketball player because they're tall, or be a paedophile because they work for the BBC, and frankly, just as insulting. Even telling a woman that they'll regret not being a Mum because they're a maternal person is daft. I have a good sense of rhythm; it doesn't mean every time I listen to a White Stripes album I start weeping over anything that resembles drum sticks and moaning to friends that I ruined my own life by not becoming Meg.
Besides, when you pick apart the phrase 'being maternal', what you're really talking about is being compassionate, kind and caring; something you like to think anyone might aspire to, regardless of whether or not they push a small human out of their vagina, regardless of whether or not they are even a woman.
Even if you can't look at a baby panda without crying, or dress up your pet in human clothes or put your handbag in the child seat of a shopping trolley because it looks cute, the only reason you should ever become a parent is because you 100 percent want to, and that's it. We live in a society that subtly suggests that if you don't become a parent you are at worst a weirdo and at best that you'll live to regret it. This is not OK. The world is overpopulated. We can manage just fine without your contribution, thanks. Save yourselves- and the T-shirts.