The Price of Bypassing Motherhood
“You chose not to have children?”
“So…you don’t like kids?”
“What do you talk to your husband about?”
“Is there something wrong with you physically?”
“Being a parent requires an enormous heart — not everyone’s cut out for it.”
“What on earth do you do with all your free time?”
“I used to be selfish too — then I became a mom.”
“You’ll change your mind.”
“I can’t imagine worrying only about myself.”
“You’ll never look at the world the same again.”
“What a lavish lifestyle you must lead with all the money you’re saving.”
“Who’s going to take care of you when you’re old?”
“I can’t fathom missing out on a child’s unconditional love.”
“My children are my — everything.”
“Maybe it’s the mother in me, but I care more about our planet than ever before.”
“You don’t know true love until you hold a child in your arms.”
“I never knew I could love something this much!”
“Do you have nieces, nephews — a pet at least??”
“You wouldn’t understand — you’re not a parent.”
I chose to bypass motherhood
Or maybe it was fate
I’m extremely well versed in what some believe I’m missing
The undistracted affection I’m able to give my soulmate
(a man who grew up motherless and fearful he’d never find genuine, lasting love)
Feels good and right and true
Like I’m pointed in the precise direction I was meant to go all along…
But going against the norm makes me an anomaly
Or — more truthfully — a permanent outsider
Swiftly discounted for failing to follow life’s greater purpose
My choice sparks conflicting emotions
Pity, concern, envy
Conclusions drawn in hushed whispers
(the poor, unfulfilled, self-centered prima donna — is she really taking another vacation?)
Whether spun of carefully weighed risks
Or faith-laden leaps
We all weave unpredictable tales
If your journey has brought more than the occasional misstep
Perhaps a blindsiding detour or two
You may feel as if you’re traversing a deserted road
One you never imagined you’d be navigating
But others have survived these challenging curves
Growing more resilient around each bend
You’re not alone
I see your light
Can you see mine? 💕
What a blessing I was sitting here working when this popped up in my e-mail. Brought tears to my eyes. I don’t have children either, and I swear I am seen, at times, as if I have a defect that I just don’t “get” certain things because of this part of my life.
I want to reassure everyone I am just as whole, just as complete, just as loving and aware as all those who had children. 🙂
My Dearest Kimberly, your response brought me to tears…Rest assured, each and every one of us bring our own complete and loving essence to the table of life. I have several friends going through unexpected divorces (with young children still in the picture), some suffering empty nest syndrome, and others who cannot find a worthy partner. No matter how varied our paths, we need to support one another because the future is never known — regardless of how carefully we plan! Hugs and love for ALL you add to our world in your unique and beautiful way. 💞
The need to have children is very strong, both biologically and societally. To forgo that desire can be both a testament to self awareness and, as I believe in your case, a testament to love. I myself am a mother of two grown children, and they have brought joy and meaning to my life that no other relation could. But my partner chose not to have children and he is a loving, devoted man with a generous heart, even more sensitive to the ails of this earth than I am. There are as many true paths as people in this world, each one special and right for that person. If only people would take “should” out of their vocabulary this world would be a happier place.
Thank you so very much for sharing your personal story, Dear Chia. I am touched by your respectful sentiments. Your partner sounds like an amazing human (as are you!) and you’re blessed to have one another to continue this magical journey alongside. 💕
Shauna–life is a journey consisting of many different paths to the end destination—that’s all–nothing more and nothing less—and what most of us never understand is that each path, for each individual is always different from the next—God’s along each path—that’s what matters. . .
hugs and love—Julie
Speaking of someone who lights another’s path…You are truly a beacon, Julie! I am honored by your spiritual and loving support. Hugs, love, and countless blessings coming straight back to YOU!!
Oh, Shauna, this made tears well up in my eyes. First because I had encouraged you sometime ago to rethink not having children and secondly because I know exactly how you are feeling. I had to wait nine years after getting married to have a child and so I dealt with the same kind of thoughtless comments from others. This is YOUR life not anyone else’s and how you choose to live it is really no one else’s business. No one has a right to judge another or make them feel inadequate! I think it’s admirable that you’ve made this choice out of love and devotion to your husband. Actually the delay in our having a child was the result of my husband’s very difficult childhood, and so I understand that motivation as well. You are right; not everyone is cut out to be a parent. Trust me I saw the proof of that everyday of the 31 years I taught. So shine on sweet, sweet lady. I do see your light and it’s bright and beautiful and strong. And never, ever let the darkness or stupidity around you vanquish your light. Love and hugs, Natalie 🙂 ❤ ❤ ❤
Dearest Natalie, don’t worry for even a single second! Your enlightened and thoughtful guidance is always appreciated. In my thirties and early forties, these comments used to render me to tears, but as my 49th birthday approaches, I find I just want to reach out to others who may be suffering feelings of isolation for ANY reason and tell them it’s okay. We’re all in this together. We simply need to surround ourselves with those with open, generous, light-filled hearts — beautiful souls, like YOURS. 💖
You are such a loving person Shauna. Mark is a lucky man to have your love. I don’t have a partner or children and often miss both. Maybe I’ll find peace as you have. blessings my dear friend.
Your incredible support of my writing, travels, love, & life is a blessing I do NOT take for granted. Thank you for the gift of your friendship — AND for giving me the courage to post this through your most recent inspiring/awesome stories. 😘
You are most welcome Shauna. Christi and I are proud of your courage. I know this is a charged topic for many women. Hugs! ❤
“Life is odd, with its twists and turns,
as everyone of us sometimes learns…”
(a line from one of my favorite poems, “Don’t Quit”
Not everyone is given the ability, physically, emotionally— or whatever—to reproduce. My birth mother produced six of us that survived and they dragged themselves up as best they could while Mom hung out at the bar. Having babies doesn’t automatically make you a Mother.
We wanted half a dozen children; we ended up adopting one. I know a lot of other women who would give their eye teeth to have children but can’t. And some, like yourself have chosen not to.
Really, whose business is it?
I agree with some of the comments above, but a lot of this thinking can be applied to marriage, too — and not everyone marries. Some have no opportunity; some are simply too fearful; some have had one bad experience. A woman can’t lasso a man of her choice and drag him to the altar—or vice versa—in our society. (Thank God!)
One of the greatest blessings in having children is that someday you’ll have grand-children. Yet I have a dear friend with two children pushing 40, neither of them married. So no grandkids. And not a thing she can do about it.
So there has to be a successful, fulfilled life outside of marriage, parenthood, grand children, and/or winning the lottery. God has a way for us all. If we’re selfish, we need to repent of being selfish; if we’re discontent we need to repent of that. But changing our circumstances may not do a thing to improve our attitudes or faults.
(Folks aren’t giving you the other side of the picture, either, like all the guilt and grief parents experience when their child commits a crime — or suicide — or becomes a mooch. That doesn’t wipe out the joys of the child-raising years, but I’m sure you know being a parent isn’t all roses.)
Anyway, if you were a mother people would be critiquing how you were raising your children. 🙂 I’d say, just enjoy the life you have unless God sets you on a different path. (Sorry this is so long!)
Thank you for the privilege of your visit and heartfelt commentary, Christine. I completely agree. Many different sides of the story, and life can change in a heartbeat. I give to the world in the best manner I can and have found absolute peace in that. Thrilled to discover your blog and look forward to reading your work!!
Thank you soooo much for this! You dug right into my heart and wrote what I couldn’t.
Oh, Sandy — sending you so much love right now. Having you here warms the deepest part of my soul!!! My sky angels lift me up again and again…Thank YOU!
Can I see your light, LL?! Heck, I am BLINDED by it, by the beauty of your luminous soul…always. So sorry to hear that others’ ignorance and narcissism have sullied your path. Isn’t it astonishing, stupefying even, what thoughtlessness falls out of folks’ mouths (including mine) sometimes? Sheesh!
I am so grateful to you, for you, and the generosity and love you lavish on all of those around you, as well as those very far away, and on the universe simply by being the wonder that you are.
Thank you for your honest, courageous, eloquent post, my friend. SHINE ON…..with love to you
Thank you for always brightening the darkest corners of my soul, My Dearest Chloe. If I shine, it is because I have beautiful/supportive friends (like YOU!!!) whose light I reflect gratefully.
I did not publish this post for the longest time because I despise all things negative. I understood most people weren’t voicing opinions to intentionally offend, but rather trying to share their overwhelming joy in the hopes that I might join in. Sometimes I could simply smile and nod. Other times, I’d turn into a blubbering idiot in private. Lately, though, I’ve been encountering more and more women who are deciding not to embark upon motherhood and felt it was time to put this out there. Even with the changing times, it continues to be an awkward, uncelebrated choice.
I just pray those who find themselves in isolating circumstances (no matter the reason) will remember they are never, ever alone. We are all in this together. Thank you for helping to prove my point with your enormous and generous heart!! Love to you and deepest respect for you…
There is nothing more precious than knowing what you want and what you don’t want. It is true, not being a Mother you miss a Lot but in the other hand you get to Enjoy a Lot that Many Mothers Miss! Again it is a choice of what you prefer to enjoy and what you don’t mind missing and in between a Lovable Pet can fulfil in some scale some maternal instincts and fill the gaps with fewer sacrifices of freedom.
I am a Mother of Two and Grandmother of Four …and guilty of all of the above! 🙂
Thank you so much for stopping by my little blog and sharing your sincere viewpoint. Indeed, we cannot live both lives, but we can certainly respect and learn from one another’s experiences…
yeah ya can add me to the club but as a male – the world has reached critical mass and is overpopulated. I work with many professionals who are DINKs (double income, no kids) and they for the most part enjoy their lives. Don ‘t apologize for not having kids – someday the future earth will thank you – if it’s still here!
Your candid remarks and perspective are very much appreciated! I’m not apologizing for anything — simply hoping to pave the way for the next generation — (if the earth is still here! 🙂 ) Living a life you desire rather than one you believe you’re “supposed” to lead is a delightfully liberating option!!
yes, I agree! and I imagine you are mother to many passengers throughout you work week through kindness etc. Yeah I pretty tired of the ‘supposed to do/be’ paradigm myself. 🙂
It is always hard for me to understand people who have preconceived notions and ideas how others should be…like them. I’m a mother of one and now grandmother too, but it has never occurred to me that other people should be like me. Reading your heartfelt post, I realized I have many friends who have chosen not to have kids, or chosen not to marry/have a partner. What matters is to me is who they are, what’s in their heart and mind. You are such a beautiful soul, Shauna, reaching out to those who may be experiencing such criticisms now. You are a shining light ❤
Oh, how I treasure your loving and supportive input, Tiny! You succinctly capture my sentiments on humanity: the contents of heart and mind are truly ALL that matter to me. The varied journeys we choose add sparkle to our encounters, giving us a magical opportunity to appreciate the world from differing angles. Thank you for making my light burn ever-brighter by sharing your own blazing and generous spirit!! 💞
I wrote a poem about myself called Deliberately Barren Woman….ages ago…in it I note that the motherless in a way become mother to all…we are not attached to “own” children so able to more widely care 🙂
Thank you for taking your precious time to comment. I completely agree!! I would love to read your poem…
thanks to you?.I will find it and repost it for you to enjoy 🙂
What do i say to you? Your posts always stir something deep within. You are such a poignant and thought provoking writer. I am still quite young to be thinking of motherhood etc. but over the years my mother and I (both of us are progressive feminists) have concluded that even though motherhood is a beautiful part of being a woman it is definitely not the definition of being a woman.
Alas, we are still a society which has not yet evolved to the level where we respect everybody’s choices and give them the freedom to lead their best possible lives. No matter how educated we are we still carry in our minds the same prejudices passed on to us by the previous generation. We are mean and judgemental about people who are different from us. And we pass on our petty notions of “Normalcy” to the next generation with fervour.
But thank you for reminding each anomaly, each outsider that they are not alone.
Lots of strength to you.
My Dearest Apoorva ~ your generous and thoughtfully intelligent words put the biggest smile in my heart. I am honored by our connection and will be over shortly for a long overdue visit to your beautiful blog. Thank YOU for being such a lovely, open, and honest young lady. Hugs and so much love coming you way…
you are a BEAUTIFUL LADY and you did touch my heart… ❤ all I can say it's: stay away from negative and toxic people, who are actually full of frustrations and various inferiority complexes…(by admiration and respect for you, I stay polite…) you don't have to prove or to demonstrate anything to anyone or to justify your personal choices or common decisions…
* * *
bon courage, sérénité & positive and optimistic vibes… HHH = huge heartfelt hugs… ❤
Mélanie – mama of 2 "old babies"… 🙂
Mélanie — thank you for being a special and brilliant light along my path. My gratitude overflows!! “HHH” coming back to your beautiful soul tenfold…😘
I never judged you when you told me you didn’t have kids….ehhhh no biggie! However once you told me the reason you chose what you chose made me appreciate you more!!! One of your many reasons for not having children simply shows how incredibly big your heart is!!!! Anyone with or without kids with a heart as big as yours is hard to come by…keep being you!
And that is precisely why I adored you from the moment we met, my darling, big-hearted friend! As we discussed, sitting on the beautiful beach in Panama City, we all get to write our own stories. Every story has its ups and downs — the greatest gift we can give each other is and understanding ear. Hugs and love to you and your adorable family…😘
Thank you for writing this. I am childfree by choice. I feel like a permanent outsider. I know I have made the right decision for me and my life. It’s always good to read a post by someone and feel just that bit less alone.
I’m honored by your words and visit! You’re absolutely NOT alone. I understand completely. As a flight attendant, I work with different people every single week. “Do you have kids?” is a routine question. Not a week goes by that I don’t receive some awkward (I try to assume well-meaning) comment. But more and more, I hear positive remarks. This is clearly not an easy decision to make — you should celebrate your courage and wisdom each and every day!!!
Thank you so much. This is such a wonderful thing to hear – “you should celebrate your courage and wisdom each and every day!!!”. I’m going to do my best to do just that.
A very moving and touching post. Children or no children, life continues. Some have children who bring them joy; some have children who bring them sorrow. Not having children is the joy of some; not having children is the sorrow of some. It takes courage to take the decision not to have children when you can have them. Not everybody can have that courage. Such courage and will power is admirable. As for me, I have children and thank God for them. I pray that God may give each one the courage and strength to go for what they believe is best for them.
Yes, Shauna, I see your LIGHT. Your life is your life and you have every right to make the decisions you do for YOU. I do not have children either, and in hindsight, it is for the best. I did not choose to be childless yet now what I “see” it really relieves me greatly that the familial dysfunctions were not passed on down to my children. At least that stops with me.
I’m a Mom in other ways … I take care of special needs cats. Now what I am about to say don’t take wrong, please. I LOVE my cats, but, of late, my Heart has yearned for a vacation (none for 20+ years), yearns to travel to places I desire to see, yearns to have the freedom to promote my photography and writing, yearns to embrace all my Dreams. In other words I am getting restless and just wanting a life that I dream of having. I have such an URGE to LIVE LIVE LIVE in ways I am not free to do so now. But anyways …..
I can SO relate to your words. Beautifully written, my friend.
If I haven’t been around much, I haven’t seen you in my reader. And this summer has been a YIKES of a summer, leaving my blogging sporadic at best. It’s SO good to see you and to read your work!!! Hope you are doing well!!! (((HUGS))) Amy ❤
Very good post. We are surly judged by society on who we should be.