Thirsà, a Brazilian intellectual with several degrees now living in Cagliari, tells us of her private and working life, comparing the different approach of Brazilian and Italian societies towards the motherhood debate.
THIRSÀ: «My name is Thirsà, Rita Rosy Tirapelle, I’m Italian but I was born in Brazil,
precisely in Rio Grande du Sul state, in a small town by the name of Erisin,
making me a Gaucha.
I’ve studied a lot throughout my life, I have three degrees, I’m a journalist and a lawyer, I’ve studied public relations and have two master’s degrees.
I’ve been living in Cagliari for a year and eight months now.
And no, I never thought about becoming a mother, this thought never occurred to me, Since the age of seventeen, I decided I did not want children.
I told my mom that, I didn’t want to have any children, being the only daughter between two brothers.
Looking to other people and the society around me, it always seemed to me that children were such a burden for their parents.
The great philosopher Nietzsche influenced me deeply, and I felt I couldn’t bring a new life into this world, not knowing what the future would have in store for them, whether they were going to struggle and be unhappy.
I just didn’t want to bring a new life into this world.
I never had a maternal instinct.
Looking back, I find it interesting that at the age of sixteen, seventeen, twenty, whenever my friends got pregnant saying they felt the baby moving inside.
I wondered what a woman could feel, having a living being inside her.
When they talked about this feeling inside… I felt a kind of repulsion.
I still don’t experience maternal instinct.
Although I never experienced it, the process of procreation itself, thinking of one single sperm in 300 million penetrating the egg, creating a perfect being: with feet, legs, organs, a brain… things like that fascinate me in every species, even in an elephant or a mare, even in sea life, in fishes, because reproduction is so awesome!
To be honest, I was always ahead of my time.
Being born in a small village, I was very open minded compared to my friends, for the society where I grew up.
I was born in 1956, clearly, at the age of ten, I still wasn’t able to see the real world, but by the age of seventeen, I started reading the great philosophers.
I read Kant, then Jung, one of the fathers of psychology, I read Freud, and then Nietzsche.
His writing makes you think about many aspects of the world, but the real world, not the world everyone talks about, where all is marvellously pink.
The world is not perfect!
The world is difficult and painful, the world is unfair and that made me realise that I never wanted to have children.
You know what?\NI had a very special moment, the only time I dreamt that I was pregnant.
That dream influenced me greatly.
It wasn’t a normal pregnancy, I had been pregnant for ten or eleven months.
I had a huge belly!
I remember I entered the church, it was empty.
It was a small and wooden church, with no priest, no one was there.
I was wearing a short white dress, my legs were showing, and I had a twenty-five-meter-long veil that continued outside the church.
That image was really confrontational, I was heavily pregnant and I was getting married but there was no one there, it was not a nine months’ pregnancy, and I was dressed inappropriately according to society’s standards.
I went to therapy for years, my therapists were all male, I tried Freudian and Jungian psychoanalysis, I tried unconscious therapy and I realised that maternity wouldn’t have been a good choice for me, as a woman, for the way I felt… I’ve always wanted to work, study, learn and help other people.
I also realized that having a child doesn’t make you whole: you’re a woman,
you’re already perfect and whole as you are.
I feel bad for my mom, Egilly, that was her name, she was shocked because she wanted grandkids from me.
She told me: “Don’t you want me to get married?
Don’t you not want to have children?
How can it be? Why don’t you want children?
I would like a child from you. A grandchild.
You must give me a grandchild!”
I came from Brazil, I was born and basically spent my entire life there.
When I came to Italy I was surprised to see how very different Brazilians and Italians are when it comes to women not having children by choice.
Because I feel that here there is prejudice against women who choose not to have children.
In Brazil, we’re all free to do what we please.
A woman can have children or not, choose a man just to get pregnant, because she just wants a child and not a whole family, we have different concepts.
You know, I always thought that we all have a role because this planet needs each of us.
I have studied a lot, I have been a public defender, a position that doesn’t exist in Italy.
It’s like a lawyer who takes care of poor and destitute people.
I worked with them for 10 years, in court, defending them and making sure they could live slightly better.
Not only that, but I have also been the Director of Taxation in the Journalists’ Union of the Paranà state, I have been the President of the Council of Ethics in the Journalists’ Union of the Paranà state, Here, I am a volunteer, I teach Portuguese and Brazilian as a volunteer, I actively participate in the movement ‘If not now, when’ that advocates against femicide because I believe that femicide in Italy is a plague.
Every two days a woman dies and action needs to be taken.
In Brazil, the majority of women work, but the pace of work is completely different.
Nursery stays open until 7pm, so moms can go pick up their babies after work.
It opens up at 7 a.m., moms can take their children at 7:30, whether it is daycare, primary school or high school.
The whole system built by the government, to allow women to work.
Working parents cannot pick up their children at 4 pm.
That’s why here in Italy you see the grandparents acting as as babysitters.
You know, I haven’t thought about my inheritance, I don’t worry about it.
I believe that the seeds I planted, will grow and will be my legacy.
I can leave any asset, but I haven’t thought about that, I think everyone can and should plant good quality seeds.
When Marilisa contacted me to make this documentary about not wanting to have children since I have never had such a desire, I was very amazed and I thought:
“oh my goodness, how wonderful that two women can make a documentary on this theme!
It will be revolutionary in this country”; What I see, and what I hear women talk, what I perceive in society must be talked about, so that women can choose other paths other than what society has imposed on them.»