Being Childfree, Childless, Infertile, or Dealing With the Death of a Mother on Mother’s Day, An Abusive or Insensitive Mother, Mothers Who Lost Adult Children to Murder or Sickness (links)
Disclaimer: I am not anti-motherhood, nor necessarily against people taking their mothers out to brunch on Mother’s Day, or buying dear old Mom some flowers to mark the occasion.
I am, however, against the excessive focus on motherhood, the failure to acknowledge and celebrate childless and childfree women, the onslaught of syrupy Mother’s Day hoopla, on and before the day, and the church services that honor mothers because:
- Some people (women included) were abused by their mothers and so find the holiday awkward or painful,
- some people had or have mothers who are/were cruel or overly-critical,
- some people’s mothers are dead and they miss them terribly,
- some women desire to be a mother but cannot because they are infertile, their spouse is infertile, or they are single and cannot find “Mr. Right” (and don’t believe in getting pregnant outside of marriage, or don’t feel they could support a baby alone)
- some women choose to be child free, but feel excluded or shamed by church and secular staggering emphasis on motherhood on the holiday
Some Christians have turned motherhood (as well as fatherhood and marriage) into idols, which they should repent of.
That is one reason why churches are losing visitors and members: despite the fact that 44% of American adults are single (edit: as of 2014 studies, (Link): that figure is now 51% or greater) and a big chunk are childless, most churches either…
– IGNORE adult singles/ childless adults,
-preachers and Christian talking heads insult adult singleness and adult virginity from their blogs, pod casts, books, organizations, and pulpits, by implying or forth rightly saying, that adult singleness (or being childless) makes a person stunted, or makes a person not as “godly” as being married with kids.
Now, why the hell does anyone suppose I, a never-married celibate woman, would want to attend a church where I am insulted before I ever step foot in it?
Most churches spend mountains of money on “family” ministries, family dinners, programs for youth and married couples.
Most churches and denominations do not budget time or money for adult singles anything – not classes, social functions, dinners. The big message from that is, “At our church, we don’t care about adult singles or those without children. You have to be married with a kid to count here.”
If you are a church that has a “Mother’s Day” celebration or ceremony of some sort, even if it’s very brief, you should also have one the following Sunday for all the childless, never-married women, the child free women, and infertile- but- married women too, or women who have not been able to carry a baby to term (ie, miscarry) – it’s only fair.
If you are unwilling to honor ALL women in ALL situations, ages, and life stages, at one time or another during the year in your church, nobody should get a holiday or party, none, nope, nuh-uh.
This post discusses being single and childless or childfree on Mother’s day, or other circumstances that make Mother’s Day painful for some women.
(Link): For the childless this Mother’s Day (and those who love them) by S. Burden
(Link): When Mother’s Day isn’t so rosy: 6 recommended ways to cope
Happy Not-A-Mother’s Day to every woman who might be reading this and does not have children. This coming Sunday, it will be Mother’s Day yet again.
- More than likely the author of this article will attend church services with her husband and quite a few children will be passing out flowers for each of the mothers in attendance. When one of them reaches her and starts to place a beautiful blossom in her hand, she will gently refuse but thank him or her anyway.
- The child may become confused but that will just have to be.
- He or she does need to learn that not all the adult women that are in attendance for church are mothers.
- The author is in her very early 40’s, an adult, and a wife but she is not anyone’s mother. For as long as the Earth has existed, the persistent ticking of most women’s biological clocks have equated their lives with one purpose only and that has been to have children.
- However in today’s society, great numbers of married women have decided not to have them.
- Happily the writer of this article was lucky enough to have been born at a time in history where such a choice was accepted with women, and also to luck out and find a husband who felt the same way she did about children.
(Link): ‘Childless’ or ‘Childfree’: The Difference Matters
Here’s the problem: While “childless” means the condition of being without children, it implies that everyone who does not have children would like to have them. However, being “childfree,” like Mirren—and like me—means that one does not want to have children at all.
- ….The taboo that surrounds women without children, childless or childfree, is potent.
- We spend a lot of time explaining ourselves (or avoiding explaining ourselves) and looking for people who understand us, who don’t ask us to or expect us to explain. But at the same time, the difference between childless and childfree folks is important to take note of and apply correctly, because we are not, in fact, the same.
- As a woman who’s childfree, I’m not experiencing reproductive challenges.
- I’m not waiting for the right partner, or enough money, or the perfect geographic location.
- I don’t feel like something is missing from my life because I don’t have children. I don’t want to have kids. There is no yet.
- … That might be hard to swallow, for some—childfree folks constantly hear things like, “You’ll change your mind” and “You’ll regret it.”
- Perhaps, because it’s still so unfathomable to the world that a woman wouldn’t want a baby, the term is deliberately misunderstood. If we keep confusing the language, the thinking may go, we can deny that childfree women exist.
- The experience of not wanting children in a world where women are defined by their reproductive desire and potential—where women are expected to structure their lives around babies—is very different than being a woman who would like a baby or would like to be a parent some day. That difference has to do with desire.
- If you’re a cisgender, heterosexual woman—especially a white woman—who doesn’t have a kid but wants one, you’re still in line with expectations about how a woman should behave.
- You’re not threatening, you’re adhering.
- A cisgender, straight woman who doesn’t want a baby is transgressive, subversive, pathological, a perpetual mystery to be solved.
- Things may be different, of course, if you’re queer, trans, single, poor, or a person of color; as a society, we’re pretty clear on who we want to be having babies.
(Link): Mother’s Day After Abortion
Mother’s Day is a wonderful celebration – a time when mothers are honored for their constant love and daily sacrifice, and when life itself is recognized and treasured as the gift that it is.
- But for many women who have had abortions, Mother’s Day is one of the biggest triggers of painful memories, regrets, and remorse over what “might have been.”
- My heart breaks for these women.
- Even though they accepted and believed the messages our society esteems so highly – messages about a woman’s right to choose and the importance of “family planning” – these women have learned, through bitter experience, the truth that abortion is tragic for women.
(Link): Why You Should Watch What You Say on Mother’s Day
An open letter to ministers, yoga teachers, rabbis, spin instructors, pastors, professors, priests, Zumba leaders, imams, motivational speakers, reverends and anyone addressing mothers and fathers in mid-May or mid-June.
Dear Person at the Front of the Room,
- I know you worked really hard on that homily about Mother’s Day/Father’s Day. It’s a time of joy and appreciation and community for almost everyone you address. Thank you for your special sentiments to soothe those in your audience who don’t have their mothers or fathers accessible to them. It’s a nice touch to bring in that compassion.
- You may not know this, but there are likely other outliers receiving your message. That 30-something lady who pulled tissues out of her purse and filled up three of them with tears and snot? That man who had to excuse himself awkwardly? That woman who tried to hide the fact that she was sobbing on her yoga mat?
- These are people who desperately want to be a mother or father, to join the parenting club at long last. To have the cards and commercials and 30% off sales apply to them. To bring into their lives what others are able to effortlessly.
- These are the outliers in your audience.
- Let me tell you about some of them.
- Could be a woman who found out this morning that her third IVF attempt didn’t work — no line on the pee stick. To make matters worse, she turns 35 next week and her medical chart will be marked AMA — advanced maternal age. Her prospects for success with future treatments looks unbearably bleak.
- Could be a couple who has been waiting in an adoption pool for 28 months. Each period she has — each turn of the calendar page — marks another month their prayers have gone unanswered.
- Could be a couple who thought they were finally going to be admitted to the Mother’s Day/Father’s Day club, but whose hopes ended in a miscarriage, stillbirth, or neonatal death.
- Could be a couple whose planned surrogate is suddenly unavailable to them.
- Could be a man who wore the title of Dad for a few months — until his baby died.
- Could be a woman who experienced an unexpected pregnancy and took the course to place her baby in the arms of another mother.
- Could be a couple who has exhausted their options and who has resigned themselves to living a child-free life. Not so much by choice as by circumstance.
Written by a Child Free, lesbian Woman (you do not have to be a lesbian or agree with or endorse lesbianism to relate to what this woman says):
(Link): On Not Being a Parent by Julie R. Enszer
As the United States moves into the frenzied celebrations of female parenthood, I want to register an alternate voice and declare my autonomy from children. I am not a parent, and I am happy to not be a parent.
- I am a child-free woman. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2008, about 17 percent of women between the age of 40 and 44 had not had a child. This is a significant number of women without children in the United States today.
- Child-free women do not speak out enough. We are not necessarily women who wanted children but could not have them; we are not necessarily women who forgot to have children; we are not necessarily women who missed a crucial life milestone. Being child-free is not necessarily a source of shame or regret.
- I want to say plainly: I am blessed to not have children. I have more time and energy to devote to creative pursuits and projects that fuel my passions in the world.
(Link): A Bittersweet Mother’s Day
Mother’s Day can be such a bittersweet time. It is a special day to celebrate our mothers, but for those of us who have lost our mothers, did not have a caring mother or have not been able to experience the joys of motherhood despite trying, it can be a painful reminder.
Continue reading “Being Childfree, Childless, Infertile, or Dealing With the Death of a Mother on Mother’s Day, Or Dealing With An Abusive or Insensitive Mother, Mothers Who Lost Adult or Young Children to Murder, Abortion, Miscarriages, or Sickness (links)”