I am captivated by the idea that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas may have influenced two women not to have children, while he enjoys or, at the very least, experiences fatherhood from the issue of a previous relationship.
Every adult American woman should know the story of Justice Thomas’ confirmation hearings in the U.S. Senate. A former staffer of his, Anita Hill, swore before God and a zillion cameras that in the workplace, Mr. Thomas had sexually harrassed her.
Broadcast live on the 3 (then) major networks, the testimony of sexual references, porn movies and pubic hair was scandalous in the days before OJ, Cong. Weiner and Monica Lewinsky. The case captivated the nation, and many people are still fierce defenders of one side or the other.
Ms. Hill is in the news again because of a new book. Watching an interview, I realized that she is a NotMom, and I added her to the Celeb page. Of course, I have no freakin’ idea why Anita Hill is a NotMom. Fame may have had more to do with it than a skeezy ex-boss.
And then I wondered, what about Mrs. Justice Thomas? Virginia? Turns out she may be a NotMom, too. (Photo: Ms. Thomas (L) and Ms. Hill (R)/AP)
According to biographer Ken Foskett:
Early in their marriage, Clarence and Virginia decided not to have children of their own. It was more Thomas’s decision than his wife’s … Thomas believed he simply didn’t have the time to devote to being a good father. It was a painful decision, particularly for Virginia, who had no children of her own.”
Clarence Thomas, on the other hand, has a son, Jamal, who was born in 1974.
Writer Sue Lick would describe Ginni Thomas’s situation as “childless by marriage.” As a writer myself, I really like the term. It’s textured and deep. But as a NotMom, I know that it translates to “not by choice.” Not necessarily coerced, or forced, or bamboozled in some way, just…well, the primary causal factor as the scientists say, is a spouse or partner.
Seriously? The real cause is the woman’s agreement to The Deal.
I believe childless by marriage NotMoms experience regret, short- or long-term, that is hard to explain to their happy childfree by choice cousins. Perhaps that’s why Google is finding me a goodly number of blogs and posts about the childfree choice. Not so much about those who get a little misty eyed when adorable little kids wave bye-bye from a stroller. Those posts come from a place of regret and grieving of what will never be, hard to share with oneself, much less anybody else. Maybe there are fewer of them because they’re more difficult to write.