What About the Non-Moms?
I love Mother’s Day. In addition to our own familial festivities, anyone five miles from social media gets a peek into every friend, old college buddy and colleague’s cousin’s co-worker’s celebration of motherhood and child rearing. I enjoy the blogs about sleepless nights and the hashtags about a #motherslove and #lovemymom and #nobodyunderstandsmylifeexceptothermothers (stolen from my Instagram feed yesterday). Additionally, I get to peek into others’ lives about moms passing too soon and estranged moms. It’s intimate and real and breaks down just how critical moms are to our livelihood, our well-being and every relational component of our adult lives.
But, what about the non-moms? What about the ladies who are creeping into their mid-30s and haven’t found “the one”? Truth be told, I’m confident 95% of us in that category are doing some simple mathematical subtraction and wondering how this will all be going down for them. How about those of us who just can’t get that wiggly sperm to latch on like we need it to? With ever growing pesticides and hormones in our food and the extensive career obligation that women feel in this decade I’ve watched a 1:3 ratio of my friends confront infertility. The $20K plus of costs with IVF or adoption draw a solid line in the sand as to who has the capability to make it over to mommy-land. And finally, there’s a large batch of us who “aren’t ready” or have definitively decided not to have kids. With no judgment on that, I’ve connected many of these decisions to past unresolved trauma, other mental health issues, or extreme financial deficit that takes precedence. It’s not necessarily about not wanting to be unselfish and declining the “most rewarding job in the world” – it’s more about hardship, loss and grief.
As a non-mom myself (for one of the reasons above), I’m constantly confronted with many mixed emotions about my current status (mostly inflicted by myself). They’re positive and negative and usually jumbled up into one. Do any of these stand out for you?
“I love my friend’s kids and my nieces and nephews so unbelievably much. They are mini-mes of the people I love most in the world and bring hope for the future of this upcoming generation”
“Men don’t want to date me, marry me or impregnate me. I’m clearly unlovable”
“I’ll probably have kids at some point in the future. I feel comfortable not really knowing what will happen (at age 31)”
“If I have to hear ‘until you have kids you won’t really understand what I’m talking about’ one more time…”
“I’m raging jealous of all my friends with babies. I can barely make it to these countless baby showers”
“There aren’t really words to my childless-ness right now. Maybe I just feel empty, barren, void… something like that”
“I’m ok with not having kids, I guess. It’s nice to just focus on me right now”
“Am I the only one who has miscarried a million times?! What’s wrong with me?”
“My mom bailed on me when I was 4 and I’m not really up for the task to make my family narrative better. I feel like other women are judging me for this”
“If I spend another dime I will literally lose my housing. But people keep saying I can deal with my debt after kids!”
“All my mom-friends are dealing with no sleep from babies; I’m dealing with no sleep from loneliness”
“Dare I saw this out loud but my husband is abusive. Having kids would be a really bad idea. I’ll just keep telling people I’m focusing on my career right now”
Many many women have chosen not to have children and are happy and satisfied with this choice. For this blog, I wanted to focus on the loss, pain, insecurities and feeling of failure that is often involved with being childless. It’s real, not talked about enough and is isolating. I’d love to toss out that curtain of shame and embarrassment that comes with infertility, singleness, past family trauma and other factors that make us into non-moms. I’d love to come together with support, encouragement and open-mindedness and draw moms and non-moms toward each other with an extension of grace and nonjudgmental, intimate and raw friendship.