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Motherless and Childless on Mother's Day

So, yesterday was Mother's Day here in the US, if you forgot you might want to stop what you're doing and give your Mom a phone call - if she's still around that is. Mine isn't and so I find myself in an odd phase of life I never thought I'd be in - motherless and childless. It makes the day . . . interesting. A friend of mine posted on facebook how the tradition of Mother's Day was started by a woman who had recently lost her own mother, I never knew that and it did change my perspective to make the day a little better. Of course I do have a mother, everyone does, so when I say "motherless" I mean the lack of earthly presence - she wanted it this way but It's not even like I have a grave to visit and put flowers on. My grandmother is alive though so I spent the day with the family starting off by going to church, the priest was actually very personal about his own mother during the homily and it surprisingly made the day more easy to bear as well, just because my mom is gone from a physical presence doesn't mean my love for her has stopped. I also spent the day avoiding facebook.
 
On the flip side I wonder more and more about my own role in the circle of life and if I will ever be a mother. I am very blessed in the knowledge that this is something I am able to make a choice about. I know a lot of women who struggle with infertility and reproductive issues and people who spend years wondering if they will ever be chosen to get a baby up for adoption; baring an accident or major illness, that will not be me. In my early 20s my desire for children was strong and my ability to do so was always a top of mind health conversation , when issues came up it was always the first thing I would ask about. But oddly enough the older I get the less important it seems. In my younger years I used to feel bad for friends who told me they didn't want children and I would wonder so what's the point of being married and growing old? And I still wonder these things but I see more rationale thought in their desires. I'm at the age where many of my friends have children and while its exciting to see how happy they are it doesn't make me jealous like I always thought it would, or like I'm missing out on anything. At times it makes me sad because the more of my friends have children the less I have in common with them, And to all the women out there who say motherhood doesn't change you please, oh yes it does. Shoot there are even plenty of moms out the blogging about it and making videos to show their friends why they can no longer hang out. It's not a bad thing to be changed by motherhood but it does happen. When I think of how I very may well choose not to have children I feel terrible and it makes me do something I know is wrong - it makes me question God. How can I have this perfectly healthy reproductive system and question using it when there are so many out there who would do anything to be in my situation; it's just not fair.
 
Maybe it's because I live in the south or maybe it's because most of the people I hang out with a women but despite all the freedoms of choice women have come to have I still feel a strong message from society that says women are supposed to be mothers. Sometimes I feel like I'm turning in to an anti-mom blogger, and anytime I question the concept of children, how they behave, and how they are cared for I'm told how I'll feel differently when I have them myself. When, not if. These are two big turns off to the whole thing in itself, first off I don't like the idea that I'm "supposed" to do something because its the norm. Also, I do not like this idea of being changed by motherhood, I don't want to change. Of course all of these thoughts make me go back to thoughts of my own mother and you'd think that would make me see motherhood in a positive light but it doesn't. For almost two years I've lived with the guilt of being bothered by the way my own mother lived her life and how it ended and again it causes me to question my relationship with God. There are a lot of people who talk about our lives having a purpose and once we have full filled our purpose going back to God . My mother dies at 52, not much long after my younger sister had "left the nest", Her dog had died before her that January and her cat was on her last leg of life- everyone she had raised and cared for had moved on - so does that mean she full filled her purpose? After her death people spoke to my sister and I about how much our mom always talked about us and put us first and I know it's a. true b. something people were trying to say to be nice and c. a thought that should have brought me comfort but instead it is something that bothered me in her life and bothers me even more that she's gone.
 
The thing of it is my Mom was a really good mom. She was certainly a better mom than a wife and always much more concerned about her performance as a mother than at any job she had. And when I was 5 or 10 or shoot even 19 that was great. But the older I got the more it actually became a burden. It's incredibly hard to build a life of your own when your mother has not given up her need to "mother" you and have her happiness depend upon what she thinks your life should be. It bothered me that my mother never went back to school or really pursued a career, she spent 15 years working in schools and would have been a great teacher but lacked the desire to make it happen. It bothered me that my mother didn't like to read or had hobbies that could be done on one's own. It bothered me that she never moved past being angry about getting divorced and it bothers me that she spent the last part of her life being increasingly lonely and depressed, the depths of which was not really apparent to me until after she was gone. Word to the wise - when you are gone your family will find out the things you never told them. Of course when I say the word bothered I mean an odd combination of guilt and anger.
 
I like to think that I can't see a clear picture of how awesome it could be to be a mother because I am still clouded by the grieving process of losing my own. But since its something I can't even figure out for myself right now I know it sure as hell isn't a decision that society should make for me.
 

Comments

  1. Sweetheart, don't beat yourself up about the "rightness" of wanting or not wanting children. That's a personal decision that might change in a different part of your life. Just because you have a uterus doesn't make you morally obligated to grow children in it. It's not a character flaw to not feel maternal.

    I'll also wholeheartedly acknowledge that motherhood changes you. It makes it harder to go out on the spur of the moment. It changes your perspective about just about everything. That being said, it doesn't have to be sacrificing yourself on the altar of the children you've produced. I've learned that to stay sane I have to have an identity which has nothing to do with my husband or child. I'm a person with my own likes and my own dreams, and those things can work in concert with my family.

    No one said you had to have your whole life figured out in the next 10 minutes. Walk through the grief process. See what life brings your way. Be a mother or not. God has an amazing plan for you either way. Your mother's choices were her own. Your choices belong strictly to you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I had posted on my FB last friday that i was not looking forward to Mothers Day and also avoided facebook most all of yesterday. I was never able to have children due to some bad girlie plumbing problems and 95% of the time i am at peace with it. The other 5% shows up and i get really sad and feel sorry for myself because i have no one to pass on a legacy and my crap too. LOL. I do have a living mom but she lives very far away from me in Montana and well its just crazy expensive to visit her and vice versa. I am very blessed to have her and we talk on the phone almost everyday. My sweet cousin struggles with infertility and she also lost her mom recently so the day just sucks for her in general. I think this is a great and honest post! Praying for your grief and for some peace and clarity to come to you.

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  3. I, also, could not stand my mother's insistence on identifying herself through me. She is a master's educated professional, but she also never got past the divorce and her mental illness worsened as I grew, until I was her whole world. She's also manipulative and abusive. We no longer speak. It's hard enough to be my own reason for living; I can't do it for someone else.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry to hear that. I think a lot of people applaud mom's who make their kids their everything and I just want to scream no no no, and stop that.

      Delete

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