Happy Mother's Day to all mothers and Happy Not-a-Mom Day, too! I am "childfree," "childless by choice," not a mother, a woman who decided not to have children. I sometimes feel surrounded by mothers and grandmothers, especially in May when it seems that almost every woman I know at my UU congregation is a mom. I spent a good chunk of this weekend at a training on non-violent communication with twelve moms and just one other non-mom. (No men came to the training.) Children and grandchildren were discussed at length, of course. Many women had plans to see their families for Mother's Day or had just come back from seeing them.
Somehow, when I was a child, I learned that having children would limit a woman's choices -- her chances of graduating from college, having a middle class lifestyle, and being able to do what she wanted would be greatly reduced by having children. (Yes, I grew up in the 1970's, becoming an adult in the early 1980's.) I witnessed high school girls dropping out because of pregnancy, their dreams for the future forgotten. That's how I saw it, anyway!
I was determined never to have children right up until age 28, when I began to think that perhaps having a child would not be so bad. Everyone had aways assured me that I would love my own kid, even if I "hated children." Funny how people are so sure of this!
In contemporary US society, not having children is more accepted than ever before. I find, though, that at church a woman in her 30s and 40s is assumed to be a mother. It's as if people assume that women in this age range would not be at church if it weren't that they need religious education for the kids. Hey, I'm here for me! Yes, my own faith development, my need for community, my hunger for justice, my wish to connect with the sacred bring me to a faith community.
It's all about me, I guess. Good thing I'm not a mother....