“Every healthy female of any given vertebrate reproduces more than once in a life time. Only the one with bad luck who died on her first delivery could produce an only child.” This is what you can read in a publication entitled What you don’t know about the young ones. It is a cute children’s book about animals. However, the same arguments are used in Czech society and only very rarely does someone note that people are not mice. Czech females therefore have a difficult task to convince their fellow mates that they can be useful to mankind even if they deliver only one baby or none.

All papers last week reported that the Czech Republic registered the highest number of birth since 1993. The information was accompanied by statements such as “demography experts glorify every single child that was born” (Právo). It is very nice when a child is born and we should celebrate together with the experts. But it is not necessary to classify women as heroic mothers and as inadequate mothers depending on the number of births accomplished. It is also not necessary because of the growing numbers of mothers with only one child (up to one fourth) and childless women (currently slightly more than one tenth) who deserve recognition and glory for something else than the number of children.

Women without any children are in a much harder position in defending their existence. So if it is possible, she gives birth to at least one child, gains the status of the mother and works off her duty toward humankind despite her wishes to do something completely different.

There is nothing wrong with that. Reproduction is something natural and healthy that allows every species the ability to adapt better. On the other hand, we have been living in post-Christian, postmodern, post-industrial Europe for quite a long time. And this suggests that quality now matters more than quantity and brains are more useful than fangs. That success is based on your ability to use more sophisticated tools and that sex equates pleasure. That some females have always focused on other activities rather than on reproduction, whether they were doctors, artists, singles or nuns?

There are 20% of childless women in Germany and in England; there are many single mothers in all of western Europe. Of course, this is not an example we should follow. But we can be envious of them because of their inner freedom which they use to decide whether to have zero, one or more children.

Having such freedom is certainly a luxurious thing. Freedom of decision-making is the pillar of Europe. As German philosopher Max Scheller wrote one hundred years ago, a man is the only creature capable to say no. That’s a luxurious offer for the Czech women. They can always say, I am not a female mouse, when it comes to it.