I’ve never wanted children. Even when I was a little girl, I disliked other kids. Playing with dolls was only fun because I got to style their fashions and create lives for them. Its one of the same reasons I grew up to love the game SIMS – I could create fully grown people and tell them exactly how to live their lives, complete control. Playing God, one could say. But as a kid, the part of playing with a baby doll, changing pretend diapers full of pretend urine, singing it to sleep, carrying it around – to be honest, it grossed me out. I couldn’t understand why anybody would find that an enjoyable pastime. And as I got older, the idea of having children translated exactly the same.
For some reason, it is still somewhat unacceptable for a woman to choose to live a “childfree existence.” Females who choose this way of life are sometimes thought to be cold-hearted, selfish, or ‘not in touch with the self.’ When people would ask how many kids I wanted I would say, “None, if I’m lucky.” And suddenly I was transported to 1952, met with widening eyes and confused looks followed by endless comments and questions: “Why don’t you want to be a mom?” or “Of course you want kids,” or the inevitable and condescending “Oh, you’ll want them when you get married.” (Right, because all it takes is the right man to convince me I don’t know who I am or what I want. But that’s a whole other blog.) I got so many negative reactions about not wanting kids that for awhile, I really thought there was something wrong with me. Girls were supposed to long for children, right? Wasn’t my womb supposed to clinch every time I saw a woman pushing a stroller? Weren’t my daydreams supposed to be of finding the perfect husband/father and spending my days raising his munchkins?
My days were spent in dreams of celebrity and world domination, sunning myself in Capri, climbing pyramids in Egypt. Sometimes I’d throw in a husband, or a lover, but most times comfortably and blessedly alone. There was never the patter of little feet in my thirty-room mansion in the Hollywood Hills, or my flat in London.
As I grew older and started my lifestyle of “professional witch” I came to realize that I was a mother in many other ways. My work as an energy therapist and spiritual counselor required me to hold hands, instill discipline, and kiss the boo-boo’s to make it better. My friendships are full of listening and offering advice, supporting those I love with the proper encouragement. My environmental activities put me in the role of Mother Nature, taking care of the earth and making sure (at least in my corner of the world) that it survives and thrives. I saw that despite the fact it isn’t meant for me to have children, everything about me is mothering. A caretaker, a rock to be leaned on – simply because I am a woman, and that is what women do in every aspect of their lives, regardless of whether they are dealing with their own children or the world’s.
Some women are meant to mother children, which is the most important and difficult job on the planet. Others are meant to mother the world, which can be just as trying and just as rewarding. But the fact is we are all parents, in one way or another. And whatever we decide to give life to, to love, nourish, and provide for, is a valid personal choice.