I’m not married nor do I have children.
That’s not uncommon. However, as I age, these facts seemed to be frowned upon rather than celebrated.
I have encountered many women who understand why I’m not married, yet. However, the same can’t always be said regarding the fact that I don’t have children.
I am plagued by the question all the time: when are you going to have children?
Over the years my response has changed. I attribute this to my growth, confidence and age.
When I was younger my response was I don’t know. Around my mid 20s to early 30s, it was after I get married. Now, my response is simple: why?
The why can take on many angles. Why do you need to know? Why are you so concerned about when certain changes take place within my body? Why are you being nosey? Why are you asking questions you’re not entitled to receive an answer to? And my favorite why -Why? Are you going to take care of the baby?
In my current experience, I often feel like I’ve been shamed because I haven’t birthed a little human. I don’t feel ashamed but I believe society and other women want me to. The thing is, I don’t understand why. When did having children become the ultimate stamp of womanhood?
I believe a forced gap is happening between women who are mothers and those who aren’t.
Truth is, there are many women roaming this beautiful Earth who have no desire to be a mother, in the traditional sense. They don’t want the morning sickness, weight gains, mood swings(we have enough of those even when we aren’t pregnant), cravings, doctor’s visits and baby bump belly rubs.
And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Nothing at all.
Just like there’s nothing wrong with a woman who wants to experience all those things then be responsible for loving, nurturing and rearing a little human.
And then there are some women who can’t birth children due to medical reasons.
Knowing all of that, I am trying to understand the division.
I think, in the middle of writing this, I figured it out.
Women divided don’t create the same force as women united.
If society can find a way to separate us, willingly through ways that don’t define our womanhood, then they’ve managed to create a riff that can have a ripple effect for years.
I know many women that have children. I also know many who don’t. On both sides of the coin I encounter women who are giving, generous, persistent, resilient, caring and bold. They stand up for their beliefs, uplift others and fight for those closest to them.
There is more that binds those who don’t have children and mothers than what separates us. I am capable of providing advice to a mother regarding discipline, if she’ll let me. I don’t want my credibility to automatically be discounted simply because I don’t have children. I’ve supervised multiple afterschool and enrichment programs. I’ve been substitute teacher. I’m a summer camp director. I’m an aunt. I’m a Godmother.
I’ve got the experience and it can be useful if I’m given a chance.
As women, let’s work to celebrate each other more – let’s celebrate our different life paths, career paths, journeys, destinations and goals. It’s always more fun to celebrate with a gang of women who supported you as you made your way to the top.
Cheers to us – the mothers, the non-mothers, the pseudo mothers and the mothers to be.
United we stand. Divided we fall.