Mother’s Day can be a harrowing day for those struggling with infertility, to say the least (as well as those who have lost their moms and are staring at the empty chair). There are many of my “silent sorority” sisters that await the day with dread and trepidation. As our fertile friends are getting showered with flowers, homemade cards and gifts, we are left to be further reminded of our own losses, lack of reaching the milestone of motherhood, and feeling the sting of what has never come to be yet (as well as the arduous journey just even trying repeatedly, month after month to get there).
The media and greeting card companies do not help with this at all, often making us feel that we are “incomplete” without the crown of motherhood as one of our many tasks as a woman. After all, isn’t this what our bodies were built for? To create human life? What is up with that, that our bodies don’t seem to work correctly as they were intended? The word “frustrating” doesn’t even begin to come close to describing it.
Even in an era in which women can presumably do other things with their lives than reproduce (or become a mother through other means), there still seems to be an assumption that people who don’t are “selfish, shallow and self-absorbed.” That’s pretty remarkable, especially when you consider that many women don’t have children. For example, the U.S. has one of the highest percentages of childlessness in the world (www.pewresearch.org). In my own circle, I definitely know quite a few childfree women, and the number of them I’d describe as selfish, shallow and self-absorbed is exactly zero. Some are authors, teachers, fitness instructors, executives in their field, volunteers in soup kitchens, and avid party planners for their loved ones. In contrast, on occasion, some moms can actually be annoying, having moments of selfishness and being self-absorbed. So I’ll never really understand the need to generalize and throw stones with such things as “All childfree women are X” or alternately, “All mothers are X.” We are all individuals with individual traits which can change and evolve as we do.
I have a good friend that I have mentioned before named Pamela Tsigndinos. She has written a book and blog called “Silent Sorority” that has received many accolades. She is working hard to create a new way of looking at Mother’s Day where we not only honor all of the amazing women in our lives who are mothers, but to also take the opportunity to honor those who help guide, instruct, support and love compassionately and lovingly others around them, regardless if they have children or not. I bring you:
Mentors Of Many Day (M.O.M. Day)
Now I’m sure this concept will never take off and surpass the importance of Mother’s Day and all that that entails and honors. I would simply like to support Pamela’s goal of bringing to light and celebrating the women in our lives who are offering much to the world (if they have children or not). I would like to counter the constant reminders that the best and most important “job” a woman could ever aspire to is motherhood, and the cultural glorification of it. I definitely know that giving birth to a child and raising them can be an extremely meaningful, beautiful and profound experience for a woman to have. Let’s just remember that women without children simply check off a different box for the “extremely meaningful, beautiful and profound experiences” in their respective lives. Maybe go ask one of them what that is! You might learn something magical. 🙂
I truly wish we lived in a world that respected ALL women more, regardless of their reproductive habits. I wish we gave every woman the freedom to make a choice without being judged. I even wish we’d stop seeing tabloid magazine covers demanding that celebrities like Jennifer Aniston have a baby already. Let it go! She’s done plenty with her life already, and giving her some room to breathe might be nice. To my childfree friends who’ve innovated in their fields, explored the world and have proven to be just amazing rock stars, I truly admire you and am so privileged to call you my friend!
Lastly, to the several friends that contacted me to let me know that you were thinking of me on Mother’s Day – a day that you know can be challenging for someone in my position (infertile and now childless by choice in a “mommy” world), I really appreciate the sentiments and I love you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for listening, for caring, for acknowledging, and for being the amazing humans that you are. Big hugs to you, lovely lassies!
This post is also available in: Arabic