As Mother’s Day draws to a close, I’m still trying to come to terms with the day. You see, I’m not a mom. It’s partly by choice, partly by circumstance, and being over 40 it can be a very strange place to be.
I’ve had plenty of reminders of my status over the last few years. My housemate had her little guy (whom I love dearly), I watched my sister bring my nephew into the world, and countless friends and acquaintances have added (or are adding) children to their families.
My own mom had me at the young age of 24.
I think she mostly had me because that’s what was expected at that time. Not that she didn’t love me, but I think she might have made different choices if she thought she could. The thing is, even now the expectations are still there. Living in a big city, the timeline is a bit more flexible, but it’s still a bit odd to be a childless woman of a certain age. I’m frequently told that I “still have time”.
I’ve always said that children weren’t a priority, but that I reserved the right to change my mind. Indeed there have been a few times in my life, usually in a relationship that looked like it was headed for the long term, where I felt like it was the right path. Sitting here now, I’m not upset that I didn’t go down it.
Having watched the mayhem that is mothering a small child, it’s not something that I would want to enter into alone. I see it as another stage of a good solid loving relationship. I’ve never wanted to be a mother just to be a mother, and I still feel that way.
Being so close to my sister and watching her bring my nephew into the world after fighting fiercely for him through years of fertility treatments has been both one of the most joyous experiences, and one of the more painful ones. You know how you feel when your ex-boyfriend gets married? You don’t want him, but it kind of feels crappy that he’s so happy and you’re not. That’s pretty much what it’s like watching your baby sister become a mom. Except that the joy part is so much bigger than I ever imagined it would be.
I have been so full of love the last four months since Simon arrived that at times I literally thought I would burst. Love for Simon and love for my sister as I watch her morph from my lil sis into an amazing mother.
There was a line in a song on the tv show Smash last night – “A writer hopes to leave behind, a work no one forgets; And when he writes, “the end”, to find he has the right regrets.” I think that’s where I am right now. I know that I’ve just never been in the right place to become a mom, and that to have taken that path would have been wrong for me. For me it feels like the ‘right regret’. Now I get to be a part of my nephew’s life in a way that my aunts and uncles never were. And I don’t have to pay for his diapers or his education!
So as the sun sets on another Mother’s Day, I say thank you to the mothers in my life. Thank you for helping make me the woman I am. Thank you raising the next generation. Thank you for not making me feel less of a woman because I have chosen to be childless. And thank you for allowing me to be a part of your children’s lives because I never said I wanted to be childfree.
Happy Mother’s Day.