Guest Post by Melanie Holmes
“I thought if I couldn’t have children, there was no reason to live.”
I read those words years ago, spoken by an infertile woman, and all I could think of was my own daughter (who is now a teenager).
Life. It’s wonderful, isn’t it? If I asked 100 people what makes life wonderful, I’d receive many different answers.
Cheryl* always wanted to be a teacher. When she got her first classroom, it was a wonderful moment. Cheryl’s passion is underprivileged kids; she believes they need great teachers! But there’s something about Cheryl that makes people raise their eyebrows. You see, Cheryl doesn’t want kids of her own.
Another woman I interviewed for my book, who also happens to be a teacher, has heard: “If you don’t want to have kids, why’d you become a teacher?”
Women receive these kinds of responses whether they have chosen not to have kids or whether they are “NotMoms” by circumstance or biology. The assumptions that we hold about others are based on our beliefs and our emotions. No one means for a woman to feel “less than” just because she’s not a Mom, and yet we hear people say, “My life was meaningless until I became a Mom.” This statement comes from a place of emotion…however, when people make this kind of statement, they really need to look around and see who’s listening.
Voiced assumptions are everywhere. A little girl may hear, “Oh you’re so good with your little cousin; you’re going to make such a good Mommy someday!” But what if that little girl grows up and doesn’t want to be a Mom? Or, what if she feels a passion for a career and that path excludes motherhood? What if she doesn’t find the right partner? What if she’s biologically unable to have a child?
Some people will say, “Oh, well then, she’ll find a way to fill the void.” But why would we want women to feel a void to begin with?