Saturday, May 10, 2014

I Never Became a Mother

i never became a mother.  although i struggled with the decision in some phases of my life, i never really even came close and it was a voluntary choice.  a mutual choice by both of us.   

i usually chalk it up to the overwhelm of my teaching career and not having the time or attention i would want to devote to motherhood, but i know there is more to it than that.  if it had been something we really, really wanted, we would have worked it out, as most couples seem to do.

the fact is, that while i love and appreciate children very much and spent most of my life choosing to be around them, i never had the overwhelming desire to “own” them, as most women seem to do.  i value my independence greatly and we’ve always been happy in our marriage and quite content with our cocker spaniels (who have been the lucky recipients of all those latent maternal instincts 8))

 i’m well aware that parenthood would have added a huge and meaningful dimension to our lives, but i feel that not having children has allowed me to grow and expand in other ways and, most of the time, i don’t miss what i never had.

it’s kind of funny that i feel like NOW, at this age, i would have the wisdom to be a good mother, but looking back at those years, i was pretty clueless about so many things and i have to wonder how effective of a parent i would have been.  i know, i know, no one is prepared and you learn “on the job”….

i’ve always felt a little intimidated to talk about this topic because motherhood, after all, is revered pretty much next to sainthood and i can’t help but feel that my choice in this regard draws negative judgment upon me…. so usually i just keep my mouth shut.  but i’m old enough now to throw caution to the wind and embrace the real me.  so, there you have it.  childfree and proud of it!


  1. You are very honest here, Patty. I think we should simply respect the choices other people make for their life and not judge them. If children weren't the "right" thing for you, then this is how you felt and it is right for you. You are the one to lead your life.
    I think the only "criticism" I have in what you wrote here is that I don't think we have children to "own" them. At least this is what I think. Children are an immense enrichment, a source of never ending joy and worry, they are a challenge in ways I had never imagined. But I don't own them. What I do is to give them the "right" things to go through their life - roots, love, confidence, self-esteem, compassion.

  2. Apologies, however I feel I have to say I believe Patty did not mean OWN in that way - that's why the word is in quotation marks. That being said and off my plate - We chose not to have children either. I would have made a terrible mother in my opinion. Looking back I agree with that thought even more. I just never had a 'need', a 'longing' or an obsession for motherhood. My husband and I had a wonderful 20 years together and frankly children would have put a great big wrench in those years. Well, Patty, we are who we are. It's so good when a woman can honour that and not be blown by the winds of society. I'll stop raving now. Happy Mother's day -- You have brought such pleasure and so many gifts to so many children. Have a lovely day. sending love, Donna

  3. Ladies, I appreciate both of your forthright comments very much! Perhaps "own" wasn't the right word and that is why it's in quotes.... probably more accurate would be full-time responsibility. I should add that I have nothing but great admiration and respect for those who do take on the challenges of parenthood. When I was teaching, I was seriously in awe of those women who taught all day and then went home to young children. Don't know how they do it! I should also add that I am envious of those with families gathered around them and grown children out in the world accomplishing things. That said, if I were suddenly younger at this moment..... I would likely make the same decision. So I live with my choice, both the good and the bad. It is what it is, as they say! Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to leave your thoughts - love you both!

  4. Oh Patty, you have a way of putting my thoughts into words. Very nicely said! I think sometimes we both have been surrogate mothers to many children who needed a "bonus" mom! Thanks for publishing and as always such moving photographs. I hope you are doing well!

  5. Hear hear. I am with you. We chose not to have children too. Period. I don't think we need to give reasons to validate our decisions. Our cat Kiki like Bailey brings us so much joy and for that we are truly grateful, Thank you for a wonderful post and being open about this part of your journey.

  6. I think it's awesome when people know themselves well enough and don't feel like they have to follow conventional/traditional lives. I have two kids but didn't have any concept of how difficult it is at times to raise them. But I have become a waaaaayyyy better person because of them so it turned out well for me...but growing up in the Midwest, I felt like I didn't have much choice...children were expected after marriage.

  7. I love and respect this post. I love when as woman we can own the way we feel . Some of us want kids and some of us don't and that perfectly ok.. I love this post because it shines with strength ..Happy travels my sweet friend ..


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