There was a time (not so long ago) when, for most women, getting married and having children was their ultimate goal in life. While we recognize nowadays that the definition of ‘family’ is as varied and different as ever, the topic of whether a woman chooses to have a Baby or not remains controversial and one in which others seem to feel they have the right to weigh in on. There are some feminists who believe that succumbing to marriage and children perpetuates the idea that women are submissive and even oppressed. Then, there are the more ‘old-fashioned’ (sometimes bourne out of religious/cultural beliefs) people who feel that a woman’s sole purpose in life to bear children and that if able to, she should have babies (perhaps even as many babies, as her body will allow.). Indeed, there is a wide spectrum of thoughts around motherhood, as with many other things and as human beings, it is normal to try to find our place along the continuum.
Ever since I was a little girl, I can honestly say that I have never felt a huge draw to having a family of my own. It was just something that wasn’t really important to me. I didn’t even picture myself ever being married (which I now happily am, but only because when I first saw my husband, I instantly knew that we would be together for life.). Sure, I thought about being a mom and a wife, but they were not dreams/wishes of mine that I felt compelled to fulfill. Contrary to what I have heard from others who have had difficulty understanding my position and/or my lack of desire, I am not broken, and I have not come from a broken home or upbringing. My parents have been married for close to fifty-five years and together, they have successfully raised three children, all of whom have turned out okay, I would say:-). My mom is not a feminist and though raised herself in a somewhat traditional, semi-religious household, she was the one who encouraged me to have my own career. Of course, like most mothers, she had also hoped that I (her one and only little girl) would get married and have children of my own someday.
I understand that my thinking, even in this day and age, may be different from many, and I am okay with that. I also realize that it may be hard for other women, including my own mom, to understand why I haven’t ever really wanted babies. I don’t have a long, drawn-out explanation for it all–it just is what it is and it’s my life, so it’s my decision. I am aware of the judgements which may or may not be passed about my choice to leave motherhood behind. Ironically, I have been blessed with a life wherein children have played a really huge and important part. I am an Aunt and a Godparent, which I love more than anything, and my career of more than twenty years involves working with children every day. Most of all, I love coming home to my family, who is my husband and our cat and, yes, we are a family; albeit a small one, but we love and support each other in the same way that other families do. My life is rich and full and busy (for some reason, being childless leads people to believe that I have exorbitant amounts of time in which I do nothing; “What do you do? or Must be nice!” I am sometimes asked/told, though they, too, had a choice) despite what others may think and I cannot picture what more I could want for myself.
So, yes, I have freely chosen not to be a mom just as other ladies have chosen to be called, “Mom”. Am I sometimes envious? Absolutely! But, not because I feel that I am missing out, just that I can appreciate how powerful motherhood is.