Mothers are amazing. I know this because I am lucky enough to call one of them my own. I, however, made the conscious decision to never become one myself.
Once upon a time, in a portion of my life that seems so long ago it almost doesn’t seem real anymore, I thought I wanted to be a mother. I wanted two perfect little boys, two years apart. I had picked out their names years in advance thanks to a few friends having children while we were in high school. I had known exactly what I wanted.
But, like everything else I was so sure of in my younger years, what I wanted turned out to not be what I really needed. People always ask me what changed. It’s such a simple answer, me. I consider myself very lucky to have not had children during the time when that seemed to be all I wanted. The universe already knew that was not the path I was chosen to travel.
I do not hate kids. This seems to be something outsiders instantly assume. I’ve heard all of it. I’ve heard I must be selfish. I’ve heard I hate kids and, my favorite, the one that makes my blood boil and my hair stand on end – I’m a woman and that is my purpose.
I’m not even sure which one of these to tackle first.
I’ll start with the latter though.
I understand reproduction. I understand the woman is supposed to produce the babies. However, trying to tell me by not bringing a child into this world I’m somehow less of a woman or not fulfilling my purpose is completely ludicrous and straight from the Handmaid’s Tale. I’m so much more than a set of ovaries and a uterus. Please treat me as such.
If my sole purpose was to have a child, why was I given a brain and a heart? The notion of this blows my mind over and over. My purpose on this Earth is much greater than simply expelling a screaming being from my nether regions. I have mountains to conquer, lives to change, an impact to make and a mark to be left.
I can do all of these things without someone being able to call me Mom. If a woman’s worth is judged by her reproductive skills or the number of children she produces – does the addict with 6 kids hold a higher worth than, let’s say, Mother Teresa? Whose impact and legacy will remain?
In today’s society, it is truly sad women still face harsh words for making a choice to not have children. Have people looked around? I’m not saying we should be given awards for the choice but our population is increasing at an exponentially alarming rate. Our poor Mother Earth cannot sustain her motherly duties much longer. Eventually, the rise in population will destroy her. So why do I get attacked for not wanting to contribute to her ultimate demise? I am mindful of trying to protect her in many other ways so why should this be any different?
This leads to the second statement I will address. I’m selfish. Honestly, yes, I am but it is not a bad thing. I live my life on a whim based on my heart and I am okay with that. It has allowed me to find my true self and my deeper purpose and meaning in life. See that, a purpose other than reproduction. I have dreams to accomplish. Those dreams cannot be accomplished if I am tethered to a life I am responsible for the rest of my existence.
I do not view this type of selfish behavior as a negative. What happens when these women who don’t want to be mothers become one? Those children suffer. Society suffers. The children are treated as unwanted objects. They do not receive the love and nurturing environment they deserve and sometimes it is even worse. There are foster homes and group homes full of these children. Why would we shame women into becoming mothers when we can see the amount of youth who already are neglected?
I feel like I must address another issue here as well. I see a lot of this negativity come from women who have problems conceiving. Somehow, us choosing not to have children feels like a personal attack on them. I know they are in pain and it comes from a place of hurt and despair instead of a place of anger. The feelings attached to not being able to fulfill a dream, I can only imagine the heart-wrenching pain it inflicts. I am sorry to all of you, but my decision is not meant to add to your struggle. Please understand it is not my dream and do not fault me for that. We all have different dreams for a reason.
When someone asks if I hate kids, I laugh in their face. Anyone who knows me knows this is comical. I am a very proud Aunt. I spend as much time with those kids as I can. I take them on adventures, we have slumber parties at my house, I attend all of their events the best that I can. Basically, I treat them like the children I have chosen not to have. This might sound contradictory, but it is not. I feel like I have such a greater impact on their lives this way. Being an aunt is such a special gift. It is a bond I cherish because it is a role of a friend and a parent all at the same time. It is a role I do not take lightly.
This was not something meant to tear down those who choose to be mothers, it is for those of us out there who have consciously chosen not to be. Those of us who will never have a day set aside just for them. Those of us who choose to leave our legacy on the world in a different way. Those of us who harass our pets on not buying us presents on days like today. Happy Every Single Day to all of you who will never be called Mom but are still 100% woman.