Without children by choice or by chance, women of faith may experience a unique struggle with congregational friends, and perhaps even God. Childbearing is seen by many to be a divine command in the Judeo-Christian culture. Good ol’ Genesis 9:7 : “Be fruitful and multiply.” Let’s ignore for now the Duggars and others who apply that directive to the extreme.
The best read I’ve seen on the topic in a long while is this thoughtful post by writer Emily Timbol, a Christian woman who is also childfree. She dares to question the veracity of the traditional notion that the overall purpose for marriage is the creation of children. She asks, “Does a married couple need to have children to bring God glory?”
Her conclusion? God’s purpose for her is not determined by her ability nor desire to reproduce.
True for her; true for us all.
I know NotMoms so committed to their faith that they attend services even on Mother’s Day, when their otherness is most apparent. I’ve heard from others who’ve dropped out of formal worship for various reasons, but several admit that pews of kids, babies and foot-in-mouth parents made their decision easier.
I was raised in the Christian church, but I am nobody’s religious scholar. These days, I lean toward more metaphysical reads, like the Conversations with God series, or Marianne Williamson. “Jesus wept” (John 11:35) is the only Bible verse I can recite from memory without mistakes. What I can quote is my all-time favorite line from HBO’s True Blood, delivered by the flamboyant Layfayette: “Jesus and I agreed to see other people, but that don’t mean we still don’t talk time to time.”
So, I turned to search engines to unearth perspectives on childlessness from rabbis, priests and everyday folk. I also found a breakdown of infertile women in the Bible (though almost all eventually give birth), and this verse from Isaiah 54:1:
“‘Sing, O barren, You who have not borne! Break forth into singing, and cry aloud, You who have not labored with child! For more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married woman,’ says the LORD. “