Posts Tagged ‘Childlessness’

Except for the part where she says ditch university, I don’t disagree with this British woman. We need to stop being duped by technology’s promise that women have all the time in the world to have children.

Kirstie Allsopp

British TV presenter, Kristie Allsopp

Allsopp says fertility is the one thing that cannot change.

“Some of the greatest pain that I have seen among friends is the struggle to have a child. It wasn’t all people who couldn’t start early enough because they hadn’t met the right person,” she said.

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too-late“Welcome to the Otherhood.” That’s what Melanie Notkin, author of a book of the same name on the topic of  childlessness wrote in my copy. I don’t actually want to be part of a group that calls itself “other” but I get why she did it. So few books available show exactly what our lives are like, outside the mythology of the woman hiding out with her cats, her career, and her lonely grief. So, when a book, or an article, or a video sees the light of day, we childless women – and some men too – come out of the woodwork to say thank youRead more from my Zoomer Singles article

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Late last night I emailed my friend S to wish her a happy 1st Mother’s Day. Knowing it’s a sad day for me, both because my mother is dead and because I’m still working out not having had a child, her message back to me was sweet and appreciated. She said,”They should really change it to Women’s Day… since it takes a village to raise a child, so happy day to you too.”

She’s right. I, and many other non-moms, find so many ways to nurture others. Though it’s not celebrated and barely recognized. The world still doesn’t understand that just because you’re not rearing children doesn’t mean you misspend your mothering instincts. We find ways.

Mother’s Day has been difficult for 15 years since my dear mother left this planet. I’d mute TV commercials, or change stations; I’d try to ignore the Mother’s Day sales flyers and ads in newspapers. I stopped buying May issues of magazines, and knowing that even glancing at a greeting card that said “to the greatest Mom,” would send me over the edge I didn’t go near the aisle in any store that sold them. But with the advent of social media, it’s more difficult to ignore the build up. For at least a week before the day I have to all but avoid the F and T logos on my computer and phone. (sorry if I missed any birthdays in the process)motherless-child

I don’t need Mother’s Day and its hype to remind me of my mom – I think about her just about every day. In the last few years of her life, I was so caught up in my career that Mother’s Day, her birthday (Aug) and my birthday (Dec) were just about the only few occasions I was able to spend real time with her. So, these three days have become ever more significant. They’ve also become days around which I have to build armour to get through them.

Add that to the ongoing process of making peace with not having had children and you have a recipe for a very sad day. I prepare for it, I usually make a plan to honour it in my own private way and avoiding too many mentions of moms is part of the preparation. Anyone who has lost someone significant understands this practice. Grief is unpredictable, even years later. It’s been pointed out to me that grief is also the word for my feelings about being childless. And I think that’s right.

This morning I woke up in a panic because I think I’ve actually forgotten the sound of my mother’s voice. That voice had the ability to instantly sooth and calm me, no matter my age, independence or accomplishments. I miss that. Lacking any adequate replacement or surrogate, I still need it. You know, someone who is for me no matter what, who knows me inside and out and still loves me. Someone who so openly adores and loves me. The one person who happily accepts, without reservation, all the love and attention I have to give. A place where so few words of explanation are ever needed because of a deep and ongoing knowing. I have to wonder how I get by without that. I think the lack of it can sometimes make me a harder person than I am. An unwanted outcome.

How many of us have suffered through this day, while putting on a sweet smile and wishing others a happy one. It’s the polite thing to do. And I’m not the type of person who isn’t happy for people who have what I lack. I’m happy for my friend S, the new mom, and my friend J, the new dad. I’m happy my siblings have children in their lives so the sense of continuity is still alive for them. I hope they all enjoyed a wonderful day of pampering and celebration.

Still, I cannot tell you how much I cherished the words of my friend S, because it meant she took a moment to let me know she knows it’s not the same for me.

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Last night I was out for some birthday’s eve drinks with a gal pal. I’m in my late 40s, she’s in her mid-2os. I have a few younger friends and always seem to fall into a mentor type relationship with them, giving them career advice, lending my ear on relationship worries. I enjoy hearing about their struggles and triumphs in the world — the same, and yet so much different from mine, based on being born decades apart. Though I am a nurturing person in general,  I wouldn’t say I mother these young women.

So, I was surprised when my pal and I were mistaken for mother and daughter. A first it was a vanity thing, I suppose. You know, mid-life birthday sensitivity. People never tire of being shocked when they find out my age because apparently, so I’ve been told regularly, I do not look it. (Believe me, I know how old I am when I look in the mirror in the early A.M.!)

AHA, I thought, I caught the lot of them in a lie! I said as much to my friend. Her reaction was to say that she gets mistaken for older than she is, which only made me feel worse! (after all, not too long ago a corner store clerk asked me if my request to buy a transit pass was for adult or senior!!!)

But anyway…

I realized later the true reason why I bristled at the mistake. This innocent observer (who, by the way, was a street person who had sadly, but with savvy, set up a temporary shelter on a very cold night in the ATM vestibule of a bank), couldn’t have known that I am not a mother, and that I’m still getting square with that in my mind. Some days it’s ok, sometimes – and the passing of another year might be one of those times – it’s not.

The truth is, had I brought forth life, he or she may well have been early to mid-twenties by now. I’d be enjoying a companionship whose bond goes way beyond even the best friendship.

There’s no way my young friend, with so much promise and life in front of her, could understand this. It’s my issue and one that comes to roost for  women (and probably some men) who, by choice or by circumstance, haven’t had children.

It makes me sad, but also relieved that I am not so superficial as to be worried about looking at least my age.

Thank goodness for small mercies!

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