September Mom StoryAug 31, 2019
This month, I’d like to honour all the women who were either unable to have children or who have lost children.
One of the things I discovered as I was searching for mothers to share their story is the plight of women who, for whatever reason, end up childless in their 30s or older. Society determines that women should have children by the time they get to their mid thirties. If you don’t have children, the assumption is that you don’t like children, you chose not to have children and your career, body or lifestyle take precedence over motherhood.
I personally know many women who chose not to be mothers and I commend them for being self-aware enough to know that they would not enjoy motherhood and would resent their children if they did have them. Many of these women ended up being an important mother figure to a number of young women later in life. I do not understand why we feel the need to judge other women based on a very personal choice. Motherhood is challenging even when you desperately want children. Why would we impose this role on women who don’t feel inclined to take it on?
Now that that is out of the way, I want to talk about the women I met while writing my book. I heard so many stories from women who felt judged by mothers as selfish and shallow because they didn’t have children. Their truth was that they very much wanted children. They were never able to conceive or carry a child to term. Some of these women had experienced multiple miscarriages. A few of them survived a stillbirth or had lost a child at a young age. One mother lost her child as a teenager. Her daughter died by suicide and she moved away because it was too painful to stay in her home and community. All of these women expressed how hurtful it was to not only experience a loss but be rejected by fellow women and, on top of that, receive harsh judgement and criticism.
I felt so ashamed of how critical we can be towards one another. Our ability to connect and support one another is our superpower. When you meet another woman and you ask her if she has any children and she says no, remember this post. First and foremost, her decision to not have children is no one’s business but her own. Second, we have no idea what she has been through. She probably doesn’t want to get into details about her experience of loss, especially if she is in a public place or she doesn’t know people well enough. Just because she doesn’t share her experience doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. No comments, assumptions or judgements are needed.
Lastly, another point of contention for women without children is that their peers and families assume they are unable to take care of children because they don’t have their own. Many women expressed how hurtful it was to have families hover around them while they are interacting with nieces and nephews because they don’t think they’ll know how to handle them. It is really insulting and disrespectful.
So that was my little rant for this month. I am hoping to raise awareness about how unfair we can be towards one another so that we can choose kindness.